Game 27 Preview: Kings at Thunder
December 17, 2010
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Tipoff: Tonight at 8:00PM EST
Tyreke Evans – 16.7 ppg, 5.3 apg
Samuel Dalembert – 7.4 rpg
Krstic – DTD
It seems a lifetime ago that the Kings were relevant. Ever since Chris Webber fell apart and Mike Bibby grew long in the tooth, the Kings stopped being a nightly highlight reel and started being a league doormat. The team is led by young PG Tyreke Evans, who was drafted a spot behind James Harden in the 2009 draft. While he has put up some impressive stats thus far in his career, and is part of the new influx of talented point-men, he has not yet been able to reverse the fortunes of the Kings.
The Kings only stand at 5-18 this year and 2-8 on the road. They were last seen blowing a 23 point lead to the Hornets late in the game, and have lost seven in a row on the road. You could argue that they’re pushovers at this point, or you can look at them and say that they’re eager to end their road woes. Either way, the Thunder must find it within themselves to maintain the same discipline that they held against the Rockets.
Just like in the win against the Cavs, tonight’s matchup affords the Thunder to do a little bit of experimentation. They likely won’t need hefty minutes from their high scoring duo of Durant and Westbrook. I’d love to see the trio of Harden, Maynor, and Green get a bunch of minutes playing together, as this combination played extremely well complimenting each other. They also had the privilege and where-withall to attack the Rockets at a vulnerable point in putting them away.
I know that on any given night out, the underdog can win, so the Thunder need to play ever-cautious tonight to see that they don’t squander what should be an easy W. Even so, tonight should be about focusing on the team areas for improvement:
- Interior defense
- Defensive rebounding
- Good player rotation
- Not getting careless when things are going well
If things go well? No player plays more than 30 minutes, Westbrook gets 16 points and eight assists with no turnovers, and everyone else feeds off of his growing PG game.
And of course when in doubt, stick Maynor/Green/Harden in there and kick back.