Thunder Visits Kings In First Action Since All-Star Break
SACRAMENTO, California - The NBA resumes tonight and the Thunder begins the home stretch two games out of third place and two games ahead of ninth place in the West. The final 23 games should be a wild ride.
OKC heads to Sacramento for its first game since the All-Star Break. The Kings (18-39) are two games out of last place in the league but they’ve beaten the Thunder, Cavs and Warriors already. They also traded one of their best players, George Hill, to the Cavs just before the break.
The Thunder is healthy again - with the exception of Andre Roberson - and while Russell Westbrook and Paul George competed in the All-Star Game, everyone else got a chance to rest their legs for the stretch run.
Sacramento is at that stage where developing youth becomes more important than starting your best players. The Kings will have second-year forward Skal Labissiere back after missing the past nine games. That could send Zach Randolph back to the inactive list. He’s sat out eight games this season to make space for Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein to grow.
De’Aaron Fox, the Kings prized rookie, will be the focal point of the offense now that Hill is gone. Oklahoma-product Buddy Hield hasn’t started since mid-January but he’s still scored in double-figures in all but four games over that span. Hield has averaged 18.5 points against OKC in the two meetings this year.
UPDATE: De'Aaron Fox will miss Thursday night's game with a case of pink eye.
The Thunder follows up tonight’s game with another battle at Oracle against the Warriors on Saturday.