Kevin Durant has scored 33 points in each of Oklahoma City’s
last two games in helping the Thunder rally for a pair of
The three-time All-Star could be poised for another big
Durant looks to lead the Western Conference-best Thunder to a
seventh straight win over the Kings on Thursday night at Power
Balance Pavilion, one of the two-time scoring champion’s favorite
After scoring 13 of his points in the fourth quarter and
overtime in Monday’s 111-107 victory over Portland, Durant scored
12 in the final period of Tuesday’s 119-116 win over Golden State.
He made the go-ahead bank shot with 14.2 seconds remaining against
the Warriors after putting the finishing touches on Monday’s
victory with a dunk with 2.9 seconds left.
“It’s fun,” said Durant, who has reached the 30-point mark five
times in the last seven contests after having one 30-point game in
his previous 14. “This is what you dream about as a kid. Guys want
to take those shots and play in those minutes.”
The Thunder (20-5) haven’t needed any late-game heroics from
Durant against the Kings.
Oklahoma City has won six straight in the series since a 101-98
loss Nov. 10, 2009, with the four meetings last season being
decided by an average of 13.8 points. Not surprisingly, Durant –
third in the league with 27.3 points per game – has played a big
role in the Thunder’s success, especially in Sacramento.
In five games at Power Balance Pavilion since 2008-09, Durant is
averaging 32.8 points, his best at any arena.
Durant, however, isn’t the only player the Kings need to worry
about on the Thunder, one of the league’s highest-scoring teams at
101.2 points per game.
Russell Westbrook is averaging 27.1 points in his last seven
games, while James Harden is averaging 20.3 on 52.1 percent
shooting in his last four. Westbrook had 31 points and seven
assists Tuesday to help give the Thunder their fourth win in five
Oklahoma City’s high-powered offense will likely be a big test
for Sacramento, which is playing much better defensively.
The Kings (9-16) are allowing an average of 94.2 points on 42.7
percent shooting in splitting their last six games after allowing
an average of 117.0 points on 52.0 percent shooting in losing their
Sacramento did a good job of shutting down a Minnesota team
playing without the suspended Kevin Love on Tuesday, but the
offense struggled in an 86-84 defeat.
Tyreke Evans, who averages 17.2 points, scored 11 on 5-of-13
shooting, while DeMarcus Cousins shot 3 for 13 and finished with 10
points and 11 rebounds after combining for 49 points and 39 boards
in his previous two games.
Rookie Jimmer Fredette, benched for two straight games last
week, helped pick up the slack, scoring all 13 of his points in the
fourth quarter as the Kings nearly erased a nine-point deficit.
Sacramento had a chance to win, but Donte Greene’s 3-pointer from
the corner missed at the buzzer.
“It would have been a perfect, happy ending to our comeback for
that to go in,” Greene said. “But it didn’t fall.”
A game against Oklahoma City, which has allowed at least 107
points in each of its last three games, could help Evans and
Cousins bounce back from Tuesday’s subpar showings.
Evans scored 52 points in his two games against the Thunder last
season, while Cousins averaged 21.0 points in four – his
second-highest average against any team during his rookie