NBA

Thunder Up: Kings Snap Three-Game Slide With Win Over Oklahoma City

Dec 28, 2021, 9:43 PM | Updated: 10:13 pm
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 28: Harrison Barnes #40 of the Sacramento Kings goes up to shoot ...
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Tyrese Haliburton posted another 20-point, 10-assist double-double in the victory

When the Oklahoma City Thunder erased a double-digit Sacramento Kings lead with a 17-3 run in the third quarter, it seemed as if Groundhog Day was about to strike again.

The writing was on the wall: another awful third quarter leading to another disappointing loss.

Instead, Sacramento answered the Thunder run with a game-sealing strike of their own as they went on to halt Oklahoma City’s momentum and finish Tuesday night’s game strong by claiming a 117-111 win at Golden 1 Center.

The win couldn’t come a day sooner for the Kings (14-21) as they snapped a three-game losing streak in the first game of a back-to-back set with Oklahoma City and the Dallas Mavericks.

Sacramento’s offense looked fluid in the first quarter as Harrison Barnes (eight points) and the Kings quickly jumped out to a 25-16 advantage midway through the period.

While the offense didn’t turn the ball over once in the first, the infamous defense continued to rear its ugly head as the Kings allowed Oklahoma City to take a 34-32 lead heading into the second quarter after going on an 18-7 run over the final six minutes.

Barnes and Tyrese Haliburton each scored 11 points in the first half to help lead the Kings to a 61-57 lead at the halftime break. The Sacramento bigs did their part in the first half as Richaun Holmes, Damian Jones and Chimezie Metu combined for 14 rebounds (versus Oklahoma City’s 22 team rebounds) over the first two quarters of play.

Sacramento’s 10-point advantage in the third quarter would be short-lived as the Thunder would go on a 17-3 run to take a 76-72 lead with less than six minutes to go in the period.

It isn’t uncommon to watch this Kings team surrender a huge third quarter run, but it is rare to see them rise to the occasion and answer back with a run of their own–which is exactly what they did to end the quarter.

The Kings stopped the bleeding and woke up enough of offense to end the third quarter on a 15-5 run to claim an 87-81 lead heading into the fourth.

Haliburton led a 7-0 run to open up the final period to give the Kings its biggest lead of the game at 94-81 and Sacramento never looked back as they would go on to close out Tuesday night’s game with ease–a welcome sight for fans at Golden 1 Center.

Was it a beautiful game? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Even when the Kings win games, they are rarely a fully-enjoyable viewing experience.

But as the old saying goes, a win is a win–and boy, does this team really need some wins right now.

Sacramento jumps into the 11th spot in the Western Conference standings after winning on Tuesday, but they won’t have to wait long for another opportunity to make a jump in the standings. The 16-17 Dallas Mavericks will be coming into Golden 1 Center for two games this week beginning on Wednesday night.

The Kings currently trail Dallas by three games in the standings.

If this team wants to fast-track themselves into the heart of the Play-In race, the next two games are a very ideal time to gain some ground.

Quick Stats

Tyrese Haliburton did it again.

Haliburton scored 24 points on nine-of-14 shooting from the field and five-of-eight from three-point range to go along with 10 assists for another double-double performance.

The second-year guard has posted five 20-point, 10-assist double-doubles over the past six games and became the first King to post seven-straight games with seven or more assists since De’Aaron Fox did so in nine-straight games last season.

Harrison Barnes drilled five of his nine three-point attempts in the win, finishing with 17 points over 31 minutes. Buddy Hield dusted himself off after a rough two-game stretch to score 21 points on seven-of-14 shooting on Tuesday night.

Marvin Bagley III nearly missed a double-double after scoring nine points and pulling down 10 rebounds in his second start of the season.

King of the Night

It seems like Damian Jones plays well each time he’s given an opportunity.

The 26-year-old established a new career-high with 14 rebounds to go along with nine points and two blocks over 23 minutes.

Jones’ presence in the paint is one that head coach Alvin Gentry could look to more in the coming games as the veteran big has proven that he deserves a legitimate shot at being this rotation’s backup center.

Injury Report

Alex Len tested out of COVID-19 Health & Safety protocols, but did not play on Tuesday night. Alvin Gentry said that Len will get some conditioning in and get his legs under him before returning to game action.

Davion Mitchell and Neemias Queta remain in the league’s protocols and will be able to return to basketball activities after registering successive negative COVID-19 tests 24 hours apart. Gentry said before Tuesday’s game that he was hopeful Mitchell would rejoin the team prior to Wednesday night’s game against Dallas.

Coming Up

Sacramento will play the second game of a back-to-back on Wednesday night when they face the Dallas Mavericks at Golden 1 Center.

It was a spooky Halloween for the Kings back on October 31st when the Mavericks used a 23-point, 10-assist night from Luka Doncic to claim a 105-99 win over the Kings at American Airlines Center.

You can find all of your Kings vs Mavericks coverage right here on Sports 1140 KHTK beginning at 5:30pm PST on Game Night with Scott Marsh and Henry ‘The High Flyer’ Turner prior to a 7:00pm PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

  • December 29th vs Dallas Mavericks
  • December 31st vs Dallas Mavericks
  • Happy New Year!
  • January 2nd vs Miami Heat
  • January 4th @ Los Angeles Lakers
  • January 5th vs Atlanta Hawks

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