Tonight in this Western Conference match-up, we will see Oklahoma City Thunder visiting Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center, Sacramento.
Sacramento Kings are suffering from a terrible form in the past 5 games, as they only managed to win 1 against Detroit Pistons (100:94), whereas they lost to Miami (102:107), LA Clippers (98:106), GSW (106:117) and against Cleveland Cavaliers in their recent match-up (102:120). To be fair, Kings had a tough opponents in Cavaliers, Clippers and GSW, so the fact that they lost does not surprise me much. The loss against Miami on the other hand could easily go the other way if Kings had not started the match poorly. Anyway, tonight is a new opportunity for Sacramento to show their worth against Oklahoma City Thunder. To have a better insight in Sacramento’s performance, we will take a look at their recent match against Cleveland Cavaliers. The match has not started great for the home side, as they were trailing by 17 points by the end of 1st quarter and that has arguably cost them the match. Of course there is no telling what would happen if they had a better 1st quarter, but they did outscore Cavaliers in the next 3 quarters. The 3rd quarter was especially good for Kings, as they managed to keep Cavaliers at 40.9% FG, whereas they shot a superb 70.6%, thus outscoring the visiting side by 8 points. But in the end the lead of 17 points accumulated in the first 12 minutes by Cavaliers was too much for Kings, who lost by 12 points (108:120). The statistic shows, that Kings shot 52.5% from the field, they accumulated 21 turnovers and had 7 steals. Cavaliers shot a bit worse with 50.6% with 12 turnovers and 11 steals. Top scorers of the match were as follows; Cousins (26pts), Irving (26pts) and Gay (23pts).
Today’s visiting side, Oklahoma City Thunder can be happy with ending their 3 game losing streak with a 3 game winning streak of their own against Nuggets (121:106), Bulls (94:109) and Grizzlies (103:95). But were sadly stopped by Timberwolves in their recent match-up (96:86). Now they will be hoping to get back on track against Kings, who are not in the best form. In the match against Timberwolves, the lead was changing with each quarter that has passed. 1st quarter ended in a 2 point lead by the home side (30:28), only to be taken away from them by a much better performance from Oklahoma in 2nd quarter (15:22). With that, the score line showed (45:50) in Oklahoma’s favour. Timberwolves stepped up their game in the second half and outscored the visitors by 11 points (29:18), thus getting themselves a lead of 6 points, which proven to be too much for Oklahoma to come back from. The game then ended in 10 point win by Minnesota (96:86). Arguably, Oklahoma could do better in that match, but as it goes for Kings, today will be a new chance to do so. Oklahoma needs to improve their shooting, as they shot only 38.8% from the field against Timberwolves, in addition they had 19 turnovers and 10 steals. Their opponents shot 45.3% from the field with 16 turnovers and 11 steals.
Top scorers of that match; Towns (29pts), Westbrook (21pts) and Kanter (21pts).
Verdict & Prediction
Form wise, Oklahoma comes on top with 3-2 in the past 5 games, compared to 1-4 record of Kings. But looking at away record, Oklahoma City Thunder do not show much neither (1-4). It’s clear that away games come off as a weakness of Thunder, at least in the recent matches, so Kings will try to exploit that. I do think this will be a close match nonetheless, so giving 2 points lead to Kings just might be enough for them to get back on track with their performances.
Prediction: Sacramento Kings +2
Odds: 1.92 Pinnacle