SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Another crazy night on the road for OKC. Another angry crowd. Another opponent taking dead aim at the NBA's best record. Another post-midnight finish for fans watching on television back home.
Unfortunately for the Thunder, not another victory.
The Sacramento Kings closed out the game with a 19-6 scoring spurt to post a 106-101 victory before a sellout crowd of 17,317 at Power Balance Pavilion.
The scrappy Kings were the opponent, but OKC's primary foe once again was turnovers.
The Thunder committed 23 turnovers, which Sacramento transformed into 28 points, which is 18 more points than OKC got off the Kings' 12 turnovers.
"It's unbelievable," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, shaking his head at his team's gargantuan turnover total that now stands at 441 through 26 games for an average of 17.0 per – easily the worst clip in the NBA.
Unlike it frequently has done all season, OKC was unable to overcome its biggest shortcoming against Sacramento.
The flawed Thunder failed close this one out, blowing a 95-87 lead in the final five minutes.
"I thought we had things under control at that point," said Daequan Cook, whose 3-pointer had given OKC the eight-point advantage. "I thought we had set the tone, but we didn't keep fighting. We had a couple of lapses on defense."
The loss dropped OKC to 20-6 on the season and lifted the Kings to 10-16 while playing for their second coach in Keith Smart.
"I wouldn't say it was a shocker," Thunder veteran forward Nick Collison said of the outcome. "We've been getting by (with too many turnovers), but I think if you play long enough you know it's hard to do that every single night. You've got to give Sacramento a lot of credit. They outplayed us tonight."
The setback overshadowed a 33-point effort from point guard Russell Westbrook on the same day he was selected as a reserve for this month's All-Star Game in Orlando. Westbrook's performance was marred by seven turnovers, including two in the final minute of play.
"It's tough to lose," said All-Star starter Kevin Durant, who had 27 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Thursday's box score: Kings 106, Thunder 101
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