Despite the Oklahoma City Thunder losing at home to a team far below them in the standings, coach Scott Brooks was not unhappy with his club’s most recent effort.
He surely won’t be nearly as understanding if they lose Saturday night.
The Northwest Division-leading Thunder look to bounce back against the team with the fewest wins in the Western Conference as they try to beat the Sacramento Kings for the fourth straight time.
Coming off victories at Phoenix and Utah, Oklahoma City (33-18) had its three-game winning streak snapped Tuesday, 105-101 in overtime to a Memphis team which stands ninth in the West. The Thunder committed a season-high 23 turnovers and lost for the first time in six overtime games this season.
“I’m not ashamed of our guys’ effort. … We just lost a tough game,” Brooks said. “Sometimes you’ve just got to regroup and figure out ways you could have won the game, and we will and try to learn from it and get ready for the next game.”
Brooks will be much more disappointed if the Thunder don’t win a fourth consecutive road game Saturday, considering they will be visiting Sacramento (12-37).
The Kings have lost four straight - all at Arco Arena - and have the West’s worst home record at 7-21.
Sacramento blew a fourth-quarter lead for the 18th time this season in a 102-100 loss to Dallas on Wednesday. It was the third time the Kings have lost by five points or fewer on a six-game homestand that ends Saturday.
“Whatever problems we’ve had closing games, that was not evident tonight,” coach Paul Westphal said. ” … We did everything that you need to do to win a game and came up short against a great team that did a little bit more to win the game. I’m very proud of these guys.”
Westphal couldn’t have felt that way following the Kings’ only meeting this season with the Thunder, a 102-87 road loss Dec. 17 when his team was outscored by 10 in the fourth quarter.
The Kings, who visit Oklahoma City on Tuesday as part of a season-high, seven-game road trip, have lost six of seven overall in this series.
Durant had 31 points and 10 rebounds Tuesday for his fifth consecutive double-double, while Russell Westbrook(notes) posted his third straight with 21 points and 11 assists but had a season-worst eight turnovers.
The second-year guard had a team-high 22 points in the Dec. 17 loss while Kings rookie center DeMarcus Cousins(notes) scored 19 with a career-best 16 boards. Cousins is averaging 20.5 points - 6.6 more than his season average - and 11.2 rebounds over the last six.