In the Oklahoma City Thunder's last game, they damaged the Phoenix Suns' chances of making the postseason. Now, on April 20, the Thunder face a team that have been out of playoff contention for most of the year. However, the Thunder can't overlook the Sacramento Kings as Oklahoma City desperately chases the San Antonio Spurs for the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference.
The Thunder and Kings split their last two games and tonight's match-up is one of two left between the two teams this season. What should give the Thunder some added confidence is that, the last time they played, Oklahoma City won 115-89 and led by as much as 32 at one point.
This game will be in Sacramento, but that is not a great home field advantage for the Kings with the Maloof brothers threatening to move the team out of the city on a daily basis. However, with only two games left at home for the Kings, this might be their final chance to perform for the Sacramento crowd.
The Kings do have some weapons, specifically big man DeMarcus Cousins, who is averaging a double-double this season, with 17.6 points and 11.0 rebounds. They are also a good three-point shooting team, which is a problem area for the Thunder.
But, at the end of the day, this is all about the Oklahoma City Thunder and their race into the playoffs. Oklahoma City needs to win out and hope that the Spurs lose two more games this season in order to move back into first in the West. The Thunder play the Kings twice as well as the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets to finish the season. The Spurs finish against the Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors.
The deck is definitely stacked against the Thunder.
Oklahoma City comes into the Kings game with James Harden coming off a career best 40-point performance, alongside two of the best shooters in the NBA, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. There is no reason to think Oklahoma City will fall tonight, but given the way the team has played over the last month, nothing is a certainty.
Author Shawn S. Lealos has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma (2000) and is an avid sports fan that has lived in Oklahoma for over 40 years. He used to religiously follow the Dallas Mavericks until Oklahoma City found a team to call their own.
Other articles by Shawn S. Lealos:
- James Harden Proves His Worth as Top Sixth Man in NBA: A Fan's Take
- Oklahoma City Thunder Playoff Predictions: A Fan's Take
- Oklahoma City Thunder Vs. Phoenix Suns: 04.18.12: A Fan's Take
- Serge Ibaka Develops into One of the NBA's Best Power Forwards: A Fan's Take
- Oklahoma City Thunder Vs. Los Angeles Clippers - 04.16.12: A Fan's Preview