Thunder looking to rebound in Sacramento
Oklahoma City is coming off an embarrassing home loss to Memphis and is hoping to get back on track against the Western Conference's worst team.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Fresh off a loss that some would consider its worst of the year, the Thunder heads into Arco Arena looking to avoid a repeat result against the lowly Sacramento Kings.
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THUNDER AT KINGS
When: 9 p.m.
Where: Arco Arena.
TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722)
Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, 640-AM.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
* The Thunder won the first meeting, 102-87, on Dec. 17.
* The Kings have lost four in a row and 12 of their past 16 games. They have the worst record in the Western Conference. But eight of their past nine losses have come by seven points or less.
* Sacramento is 4-27 when allowing 100 points or more.
The Kings are a Western-Conference worst 12-37 entering Saturday night's 9 p.m. game and have lost four straight and 12 of their past 16.
But the Thunder showed Tuesday against Memphis that no win is a gimme.
Against a Grizzlies team playing without Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo, two of their top four scorers, the Thunder lost a 105-101 overtime decision inside Oklahoma City Arena. Memphis made its way to town on the second night of a back-to-back. The Thunder was working with two days rest.
“We gave ourselves a chance to win,” said Thunder reserve guard Eric Maynor. “We just made bonehead mistakes.”
The Thunder committed a season-high 23 turnovers, 12 of them in the second half. The Grizzlies turned those miscues into 31 points, many of them being easy buckets as Memphis scored 27 points in transition.
“Nobody wants to turn the ball over but it happens,” said Maynor, one of six Thunder players to finish with at least two turnovers Tuesday.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks responded in the ensuing days of practice by drilling his players on the game's fundamentals. To correct the uncharacteristically sloppy offense, Brooks spent time the past few days working on better spacing, better passing and better screens.
On Tuesday, the Thunder shot just 41 percent against a Grizzlies team that yields 45 percent. That's one reason Brooks is stressing the importance of not looking past Saturday night's game against the Kings, even though their defense allows 47.1 percent.
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