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Nuggets from my notebook from Friday's win over the Kings

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: March 29, 2014 at 9:10 am •  Published: March 28, 2014

Seventy-two down, 10 to go…

  • Not much to see here. This was the open and shut evening you hoped it would be. Sacramento was out-matched and over its head. And to the Thunder’s credit, the Kings never threatened to take a game it had no business being in.
  • OKC never trailed and led by as many as 32 points.
  • Isaiah Thomas, who is growing into a thorn to the Thunder, sat this one out with a quad injury. Without him, the Kings were down to two real scoring threats in DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. And they both had brutal nights. Cousins scored four points on 2-for-8 shooting, his second-lowest output of the season. Gay had just seven points on 3-for-11 shooting, his second straight forgettable performance in OKC.
  • Scott Brooks talked before the game about how Thomas, Gay and Cousins all average 20 points and how the Thunder had to keep them in check. The trio finished with 11 and a DNP.
  • Sacramento’s start was about as bad as can be. At one point, the Kings had five turnovers and five made field goals. A minute into the second quarter, the Kings were 5-for-20 from the field while the Thunder was 5-for-10 from 3-point range. Four minutes into the second, the Kings had five made field goals and eight turnovers.
  • Great ball movement by the Thunder in this one. The first quarter was a thing of beauty. The ball was being fired from the paint to the perimeter, to players around the perimeter before an open shot emerged. There were few possessions that ended without two or few passes. Even when the Thunder missed, it made you wonder why OKC can’t always play like that.
  • Great ball security by OKC, too, especially early, before sloppiness eventually set in. The Thunder had just one turnover in the first quarter.
  • Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were pretty good tonight.
  • Reggie Jackson sat this one out  with a mid-back sprain he sustained Thursday in practice. The injury isn’t serious. He isn’t expected to miss much time but could sit again Sunday. Really, the team is just resting him. Nothing to worry about there.
  • With no Jackson, that created an opportunity for Jeremy Lamb to get significant minutes. And you’d have to say he made the most of them. He checked in for Andre Roberson just 4 1/2 minutes into the game and posted a solid line: 13 points, five rebounds and five assists on 5-for-11 shooting in 33 minutes. He played solid defense on Ben McLemore, was effective digging and stripping the ball from post players, rebounded, found teammates with the proper pass and shot it with confidence. Serge Ibaka wiped out one of Lamb’s driving layups with an offensive basket interference. It was perhaps the absolute worst guy Ibaka could have done it to. Lamb sorely needs to see as many shots go in as possible.
  • One question I have about Lamb: Why must he look down at his feet before almost every single catch and shoot 3, especially from the corners? I feel like he never makes those.
  • Another question I have: why start Roberson if he’s out there for only the first 4 1/2 minutes? Why not just start Lamb?
  • Also, with Jackson sitting, Steven Adams is now the only Thunder player to appear in every game this season. I know I can’t be the only one who never would have thought coming into this season that that would have happened.
  • Rough night for Adams. He was in foul trouble from the first two minutes on. He finished with five points, two rebounds and two turnovers. Adding insult to ineffectiveness, the Kings began playing Hack-a-Adams late in the second quarter. They first intentionally fouled him with 1:26 remaining in the period. And they did it twice. Adams stepped to the line and went 2-for-4 on those occasions.
  • We needed a name for Hack-a-Adams because Hack-a-Adams just doesn’t do it. Someone on Twitter suggested Foul-A-Funaki. And I said Bingo! It works beautifully.
  • Hasheem Thabeet came in for Adams and did a fairly decent job down low. I feel like I’ve said that each time Thabeet has gotten an opportunity this season.
  • The third quarter for the Thunder was incredible. OKC was 12-for-16 in the period. Ten of those makes were layups or dunks. Eleven of those makes were assisted. The two that weren’t layups or dunks were 3-pointers.
  • Sacramento actually has a ton of talented players. The Kings just have no idea how to put it all together.
  • I loved Travis Outlaw and Reggie Evans’ energy. It didn’t matter what the score was, they never stopped playing hard.
  • Marcus Smart and Markel Brown were in attendance tonight. They stuck around after the game and chatted with a few Thunder players. Both will be playing against them (maybe with them in Brown’s case?) next year. Can’t wait to see them in the pros.
  • Up next: Utah on Sunday. Don’t forget, early 2 p.m. start time.
by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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