The DeMarcus Cousins Administration Mishandles Westbrook's Sidekicks, Loses To OKC Thunder 122-1
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. – When Russell Westbrook get the rest of his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates in a flow — embrace yourself and look out below. That’s exactly what happened as the Thunder lowered the boom on the Sacramento Kings for a 122-118 win on Sunday night.
Westbrook notched a triple-double with 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists for the OKC Thunder (25-17, 11-7 road). He also had four steals. But it was teammates Victor Oladipo’s 23 points and Enes Kanter’s 29 points and 12 rebounds off the bench that proved to be the x-factor.
Just trying to guard Westbrook is a double assignment, but when he gets his teammates going, his job at playmaker is much more easier. OKC bounced back after losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves 96-86 on Jan. 13.
“He’s pretty strong and he is explosive,” Kings guard Garrett Temple said of Westbrook. “He has the ball in his hands all the time. His usage rate is through the roof. So, you know it's coming to him. When Kanter can get (29 points) and Oladipo can get (23 points) you know it's gonna be tough.”
OKC Thunder Enes Kanter pulls down a rebound over the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Kanter had 29 points in OKC's 122-118 victory. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey. Jan. 15, 2017.
The Kings (16-24, 8-13 G1C) are now 1-5 on what is now a disastrous seven-game homestand. DeMarcus Cousins had 31 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. Rudy Gay added 22 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and two blocked shots. Cousins also had six turnovers.
Turnovers are seriously becoming a problem for the Kings in the first half of play. They committed 14 costly miscues in the 120-108 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 13 at G1C. Sacramento followed that up with 15 turnovers in the first 24 minutes to the Thunder.
As the Kings did against the Cavaliers, the team clamped down on the turnovers in the second half and ended the game with a total of 22. Arron Afflalo had four turnover and Gay finished with three.
Mixed with fumbling the basketball or throw errant passes were couple of technical fouls, one by Kosta Koufos in the second quarter and two late in the fourth quarter by Cousins and Matt Barnes. Kings coach Dave Joerger was quick to say that the technical fouls had nothing to do with the loss. He was right, too.
“At the end of day, I can yell about referees and this and that, but we had 15 turnovers at halftime, you know what I mean,” Joerger said. “It (the loss) doesn't have to do with anything else.”
Oladipo scored 14 points in the second quarter while reserve Kanter played the entire 12 minutes to add 10 points. Starting center Steve Adams left the game with concussion-like symptoms, which left Kanter to take over a bulk of the minutes.
“They’re going to evaluate him,” OKC head coach Billy Donovan said of Adams. “I do not know if it has actually been ruled a concussion.”
The Thunder lead by as many as 17 points in the first half and completed a 59-46 margin at the break. OKC didn’t particularly shoot well in the second quarter, shooting 9-for-23 field, but made 12-of-13 shots at the free-throw line.
Kanter and Westbrook was the story in the third quarter for the Thunder. Kanter had 14 points while Westbrook chipped in 12 points. The Kings went on a 11-0 run early in the third quarter to cut OKC’s lead 59-55, but the Thunder made it out of the quarter with a 88-79 lead.
“Like I’ve been saying since I’ve been here, (Kanter) is the best guy in the league coming off the bench,” Westbrook said. “I preach and I believe that because he does so many things at a high level.”
The Kings did fight back to trail by two points after Cousins made three free throws with 118-116 with 18.5 seconds left to play in the game. Oladipo made two free throws after was fouled by Darren Collison and Westbrook stole a ball from Cousins to score on a layup that seal the victory.
“I love to see my teammates be successful,” Westbrook said after the game. “That’s the best part of the game — to be able to see them make shots, to make it easy for them, and to see a smile of their face.”
Darren Collison had 21 points, two assists, and two steals for the Kings, who are getting closer to an eight-game road trip after playing their last home game on this set against the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 18.
“Our spirits are still high,” Temple said of the Kings. “We understand that we’re right outside the playoff race looking in. We have a chance to make a run. This road trip coming up is gonna be big for us.”
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
Publicity Agents’ PRESS INFORMATION:
The DeMarcus Cousins Administration — Boogie needs one more game to move into a three-way tie for the most games played Kings’ Sacramento era. Cousins has 453 games played while Vlade Divac and Lionel Simmons sit a 454.
Sacramento Kings point guard Darren Collison, No. 7, tries to get clarification from NBA official Josh Tiven. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey. Jan. 15, 2017.
Garrett Temple and Anthony Tolliver started their third-consecutive game for the Kings. Temple and Tolliver started with DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, and Darren Collison for the Oklahoma City Thunder game at G1C.
Ty Lawson left the OKC Thunder game after twisting his left ankle.
Garrett Temple thinks it’s time to leave the NBA officials “alone,” he said. The Kings are spending too much time trying to state their cases to the referees and it is affecting their game on the court. Temple, “If you constantly berate them about calls...that’s not gonna help you. Leave them alone and try to control what we can control.”
T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.