SACRAMENTO KINGS

Preview: Kings, Thunder both hope to extend winning streaks

Jan 20, 2023, 9:12 AM | Updated: 1:57 pm
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 28: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dribb...
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Both the Sacramento Kings (25-18) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (22-23) will take winning streaks into Friday night’s matchup between these two up-and-coming Western Conference counterparts.

Sacramento will look to extend its five-game winning streak but will have to do so against a Thunder team that has won its past four games. Oklahoma City holds an 11-5 record over its past 16 contests as they have leaped into the top ten in the West during that timespan.

The Kings could be without two-time All-Star center Domantas Sabonis (non-COVID illness) once again on Friday, meaning Sacramento could be shorthanded against a Thunder squad that ranks third in the NBA when it comes to points in the paint.

Can Sacramento use Wednesday’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers as a blueprint for securing a win over the Thunder?

Here’s everything that you need to know for Kings vs. Thunder:

Sacramento Kings vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Game Info

When: 7:00 PM PST

Where: Golden 1 Center – Sacramento, CA

TV:Β NBC Sports California

Radio:Β Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Pregame coverage starts at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night

Line: Kings -3.5, O/U: 241.5

Tickets: Click here

What To Watch For

OKC Loves The Paint

As has been the case in 99% of these previews, Friday night’s game could very well come down to how well the Kings can defend the paint.

Oklahoma City is third in the NBA in paint scoring (55.5 points per game), meaning that Sabonis–if healthy–or Richaun Holmes will need to step up and ensure that the damage is limited.

After surrendering a season-high 70 points in the paint during January 7th’s loss to the Lakers, Sacramento held Los Angeles to 50 points in the paint during Wednesday’s win at crypto.com Arena. Holmes was gifted the Defensive Player of the Game chain for his efforts (11 rebounds), but the Kings will need more of the same against the Thunder.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander does most of his damage at the rim, as the star guard is shooting 147-for-224 (65%) at the rim this season. If Sacramento can close off the paint, it will force Gilgeous-Alexander to take more low-percentage shots, like mid-range (43%) or three-point (34%) attempts.

More Fox, More Fun

If Sabonis is unavailable, expect De’Aaron Fox to be much more aggressive on offense as the primary point.

When Sabonis is on the floor, we often see the big man orchestrate the offense out of the block or elbow, but if he’s unable to go, Fox could run off of lots of pick-and-rolls with Holmes that can either set himself up for an attempt at the rim, or dump off to Holmes for his patented push-shot.

Fox hasn’t been shy when it comes to scoring over the eight games, as the 25-year-old is averaging 26.1 points and 6.5 assists per game on 53 percent shooting from the field since January 3rd.

On a night that Gilgeous-Alexander–another high-scoring guard (30.5 points per game)–will be on the attack, Fox will need to rise to the challenge against another hopeful first-time All-Star.

Injury Report

Sacramento

Domantas Sabonis, Matthew Dellavedova, and Alex Len participated in Friday morning’s shoot-around. All three players are on track to play against Oklahoma City.

  • Domantas SabonisΒ – AVAILABLE (non-COVID illness)
  • Matthew DellavedovaΒ – AVAILABLE (non-COVID illness)
  • Alex LenΒ – AVAILABLE (non-COVID illness)
  • Terence DavisΒ – QUESTIONABLE (non-COVID illness)
  • Keon Ellis is on assignment with the team’s G-League affiliate.

Oklahoma City

  • Jeremiah Robinson-Earl – OUT (right ankle sprain)
  • Chet Holmgren – OUT (right foot surgery)
  • Aleksej Pokusevski – OUT (left tibial plateau, non-displaced fracture)
  • Ousmane Dieng and Eugene Omoruyi are on assignment with the team’s G-League affiliate.

Recent History

  • Friday night’s matchup marks the first of three head-to-head meetings between the Kings and Thunder this season.
  • Last year, Sacramento won the season series by taking three out of four matchups against Oklahoma City.
  • The Kings hold a 6-1 record vs OKC since the start of the 2020-21 season.

Sacramento Kings Postgame Show

Check out ourΒ Sactown Sports Kings Recap ShowΒ on the Sactown Sports 1140Β YouTube channel!

Sactown Sports Kings Recap Shows will be happening all season long, immediately following each Kings game!

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

Friday, January 20th – Sacramento Kings vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – 7:00 PM PST

Saturday, January 21st – Sacramento Kings vs. Philadelphia 76ers – 7:00 PM PST

Monday, January 23rd – Sacramento Kings vs. Memphis Grizzlies – 7:00 PM PST

Wednesday, January 25th – Sacramento Kings vs. Toronto Raptors – 7:00 PM PST

Saturday, January 28th – Sacramento Kings @ Minnesota Timberwolves – 5:00 PM PST

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