There’s usually little discouragement during an extended winning
streak, though Oklahoma City hopes having to overcome double-digit
deficits doesn’t become a trend.
The Thunder seek a more complete effort as they go for their
eighth straight victory overall and seventh in a row against the
Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
Oklahoma City (12-3) has been on a roll since falling to Golden
State on Nov. 14, extending its streak to seven with a 113-103
victory over Minnesota on Sunday.
The Thunder won after trailing by 11 in the first half, marking
the second time during their run that they’ve had to rally after
falling behind big. They climbed out of a 14-point hole in a
115-113 win over Denver on Nov. 18.
“You always want to play tough, aggressive defensive basketball
for 48 minutes,” coach Scott Brooks said. “We didn’t do it
(Sunday), but we came back in the second half and made some
adjustments and took care of the things we thought were important.
We have to play much better going on the road.”
Kevin Durant recorded the fourth triple-double of his career,
finishing with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists while adding
four steals and four blocks. He joined Michael Jordan on Jan. 16,
1988 as the only players to record a 30-10-10-4-4 stat line since
blocks and steals became an official statistic in the 1973-74
“Kevin is a stat filler,” Brooks said. “He can do it all and he
has the ability to have large scoring nights, rebounding, assists
and steals and blocked shots. He’s one of the few guys that can do
that. That’s what makes us a good defensive team, because he can
guard not only his man, he can guard multiple positions.”
Durant, though, would like to see a better effort on the
defensive end moving forward.
“I’m glad we got the ‘W’,” he said. “We came out a little
sluggish on the defensive end early on, but … holding them to
(41.6) percent (shooting) for the game was really big.”
Oklahoma City has won 12 of 13 against Sacramento after Durant
had 29 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in a 104-95 victory
in the most recent meeting April 15.
DeMarcus Cousins had only seven points in that contest for the
Kings, who dropped their fourth in a row with Sunday’s 115-113 loss
to Golden State. They fell behind by as many as 16 before taking
the lead in the fourth, but couldn’t hang on.
“What I like about our guys is that it could have been a
16-point deficit that turned into 30, but it turned into a
two-point lead and giving ourselves a chance to win,” coach Michael
Malone said. “We were only one defensive rebound away from winning
Cousins had 24 points in only 20-plus minutes while battling
foul trouble for Sacramento (4-11), which committed a season-worst
24 turnovers. It ranks among the best in the league with only 13.8
giveaways per game.
“I think a lot of those turnovers was us being soft and us
telegraphing our passes,” said Isaiah Thomas, who had 19 points but
also seven turnovers. “Two or three of them I just telegraphed –
they knew where it was going.”
Russell Westbrook is shooting just 36.5 percent in his last four
against the Kings, while Cousins is averaging 10.3 points on 29.7
percent shooting in his last three versus the Thunder.