Thunder 105, Kings 95By Martin McNeal, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sat, Jan 26, 2013 1:00 AM EST
SACRAMENTO -- The Oklahoma City Thunder shook off their first-quarter malaise and raced to 105-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings Friday night before a crowd of 15,022 at Sleep Train Arena. Kevin Durant shared Thunder high-scoring honors with former Kings guard Kevin Martin. Each had 24 points in Martin's first game in Sacramento in a Thunder uniform. He came to Oklahoma City early this season in a deal involving Houston Rockets' guard James Harden. Martin entered the game during the Thunder's early struggles and helped Oklahoma City recover with 15 points in the first half. Russell Westbrook had a Kings-opponent season-high 14 assists and used his size and strength to overpower Kings guards. Westbrook added 18 points The Thunder (34-10) used the second and third quarters to overwhelm the Kings (16-28) with athleticism and defensive intensity. The Thunder held a 58-51 halftime advantage before opening the third quarter on a 28-10 run. The Kings turned over the ball six times and the Thunder transformed those turnovers into eight points and a tempo beneficial to their team's style. Neither team took good care of the ball with the Thunder being sloppier than Sacramento, committing 20 turnovers to the Kings' 18. The Kings were led in scoring by small forward Tyreke Evans. The Thunder did a solid job on center DeMarcus Cousins. The third-year center had been on a streak, but scored just 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Cousins could not solve the Thunder's quickness and length at the defensive end and committed seven turnovers. NOTES: Only Houston (103.3) and Charlotte (103.2) allow more points per game than the Kings (103.0) and their defense has been more erratic during the past week. They allowed 110.0 points per game in the past two games and an average of 90.7 points during the three games preceding that pair. ... Oklahoma City entered this game 2-2 in the midst of season-long six-game trip. ... The Thunder's 43 percent allowed defensive percentage is third-lowest in the NBA. ... Oklahoma City entered the game leading the NBA with a 39.1 three-point field-goal percentage. ... Oklahoma City coach Scotty Brooks had modest goals with regards to Cousins: "I'd like to keep him under 30 points and 20 rebounds. I know he's had games like that. We'd like to keep him under control, especially on the offensive boards." Brooks said having Hasheem Thabeet may help. "He's been a surprise. He's a willing player when it comes to defending. Hash gives you an honest effort every time out and works hard."
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