Thunder 103, Kings 92
With Oscar Robertson sitting courtside and soaking up the
crowd’s adulation in recognition of his Hall of Fame career, it
would have been a fitting occasion for Oklahoma City Thunder star
Kevin Durant to record the first triple-double of his career.
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of his triple-double season
in 1961-62 – the only one in NBA history – the ”Big O” was being
recognized by the Sacramento franchise on Friday night. Playing for
the Cincinnati Royals, Robertson had an amazing 41 triple-doubles
Durant would be thrilled to just have one.
He came close against the Kings, getting 29 points, 14 rebounds
and seven assists to lead the Thunder to a 103-92 victory.
”I’ve been flirting all season with it but I haven’t been able
to seal the deal yet,” Durant said. ”Hopefully I will get one
before my career is over. Oscar Robertson is a legend, someone I
really look up to. It was a joy playing in front of him
Known mostly for his scoring early in his career, Durant has
evolved into an all-around player and is a strong candidate for MVP
this season. He played like one against the Kings. Durant made 9 of
15 shots, including two 3s, hit 9 of 10 free throws, and was the
game’s leading rebounder.
”We all know that Kevin can score,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks
said. ”But he has to continue making his teammates better. He
definitely did that tonight with seven assists. He’s a very
unselfish basketball player.”
The Thunder took the lead for good midway through the first
quarter and went on to their second consecutive victory and fourth
in five games.
Oklahoma City (46-17) remained in contention for the best record
in the Western Conference. The Thunder are one-half game behind San
Antonio and have three games remaining, including Tuesday against
the visiting Kings. The Spurs defeated the Lakers at home on
James Harden had 20 points and Russell Westbrook scored 18 for
the Thunder, who have a 7-5 record in April. Serge Ibaka had 12
points and eight of the Thunder’s 11 blocks and Kendrick Perkins
had 10 points.
”We had to guard three of the most difficult guys in the
league. Those guys – James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kevin
Durant – can score,” Kings coach Keith Smart said. ”Then of
course you throw the big guys in there and you can see why they’re
one of the best teams in the NBA.”
DeMarcus Cousins had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Kings,
who have lost nine of 10. Tyreke Evans scored 16 points, Jason
Thompson added 13, Isaiah Thomas 12 and Jimmer Fredette 11 for the
Kings (20-43), who are tied with New Orleans for the worst record
in the Western Conference.
The Kings had their problems offensively against the aggressive
Thunder, who tend to gamble with a shot-blocker like Ibaka and the
tenacious Perkins backing them up. Sacramento shot 41 percent and
was the 12th team in 15 games that Oklahoma City held under 100
”They play good team defense and obviously with Ibaka and
Perkins down low it’s a tough matchup for anybody,” Fredette said.
”Then they have some great scorers and move the ball so
The Kings trimmed the Thunder’s 15-point lead to eight with 4:30
left in the fourth quarter, aided by Fredette’s six points. But the
Thunder kept their composure down the stretch to maintain the lead
and preserve the victory.
”We made them miss shots in the second half and I thought we
rebounded better in the second half,” Brooks said. ”We did a
great job of moving the ball. Everybody had shots, everybody had
looks, and Kevin was solid.”
At halftime, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson talked about opening
the line of communications with the Kings owners regarding plans
for a tentative new downtown arena that fell apart last week.
Johnson, who has been very critical of the owners’ decision, met
with the Maloofs in Las Vegas on Friday and will talk sometime
again next week.
”I understand a little bit of where George’s (Maloof)
perspective was,” Johnson said. ”Not that I fully agree with it,
but I fully understand his perspective. It (today) was a solid step
It’s been another difficult season for the Kings both on and off
the court. Besides the arena plan seemingly derailed, Sacramento
has experienced its sixth straight losing season.
Durant made all three shots in the third quarter, including two
3s, and had eight points to help the Thunder lead 81-70 after
After Thomas’ 3-pointer pulled the Kings within three points,
the Thunder ran off eight straight points. Westbrook banked in a
jumper and then knifed through the defense for a layup. Two free
throws by Harden put the Thunder up 75-64 at the 4:39 mark.
Sacramento played the game without leading scorer Marcus
Thornton, who suffered a left quad contusion in Wednesday’s game
against San Antonio.
Notes: Robertson averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4
assists in 1961-62. … Thomas was given the annual Oscar Robertson
Triple-Double award, which signifies excellence both on and off the
court. . Trailing by seven points in the game’s first 5 minutes,
the Thunder outscored the Kings 22-6 the remainder of the period to
take a 32-23 lead into the second. … Angered over some non-calls
following a flurry of blocked shots by the Thunder late in the
second quarter, Smart got a technical foul. . Kings veteran John
Salmons missed his 14th straight game with sore hip and appears
unlikely to return this season.