Oklahoma City at Sacramento
Time: 9 PM CT, NBA TV
Spread: OKC -3
Odds c/o Bovada
The Oklahoma City Thunder are 10-5 and have won its past three, and nine of its past 10 games. It will visit the much-improved Sacramento Kings as 3-point favorites. Sacramento has posted a 4-3 mark at home this season and is 8-8 on the year. The over/under will be 222 points for the game, which will air at 9 PM (CT) on NBA TV.
OKC most recently defeated the Phoenix Suns (twice) and New York Knicks. Russell Westbrook missed the win over Phoenix to see the birth of his twin girls, but OKC has done well without Westbrook due to its new addition Dennis Schroder, who is able to fill in rather flawlessly. Schroder averages 30.3 minutes per game, tallying 16.7 points, 5.7 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game, serving as a third-option after Westbrook and All-Star swingman Paul George. Westbrook has appeared in just seven games this season, and his numbers are down across the board: 24.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 8.9 assists per game.
George is averaging 24.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists, but he leads the team in steals with 2.53 per game. The Thunder are tough defensive team anchored by underrated center Steven Adams. Adams has become more of an offensive threat this season, averaging nearly 16 points per game, 10.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks/steals in 33 minutes a night. The Thunder rank no. 5 in the league in team defense, allowing 105.5 points per game, while scoring 110.9 itself, good for a differential of +5.4 points.
OKC is also strong on the glass, due to Adams and Westbrook tag-teaming the rebounding effort. It averages 47.1 rebounds per game, No. 7 in the Association. The Thunder have a lot of facets that should make it a tough team to “out” in the playoffs, from its defense, to its rebounding to its two top-end stars. And Schroder really seems to be a perfect third guard to its rotation. Billy Donovan can get this team out of the first round this season, with the proper draw and a well-concerted effort from its veteran cast.
Sacramento has dropped its past two outings, with losses to the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies. At .500, the team is improved, but it still sits in fourth place in the Pacific division and is out of the playoff picture currently in the tough Western Conference.
Second-year guard DeAaron Fox has made significant strides in his second season. He leads the team at 19.0 points per game, while also averaging 4.2 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.81 steals/blocks per game. Buddy Hield is becoming the scorer R. Vivek thought he would be when he dealt DeMarcus Cousins to obtain him from the New Orleans Pelicans.
Hield is averaging 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 30 minutes a night. Willie Cauley-Stein, long thought of as a one-dimensional defender, has become more of an offensive threat. The Former Kentucky Wildcat is averaging 15.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.63 blocks/steals while posting the second-best PER (18.7) on the roster. Rounding out the Kings top-5 is Bogdan Bogdanovic and Marvin Bagley III. Bogdanovic is a sharpshooter and is averaging 12.2 points per game while shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from three. Bagley, a rookie from Duke, is averaging 11.9 points per game in just 22 minutes a night. Those figures should rise as the season wears on, but Sacto is focused on winning now with its best start in over a decade.
Sacramento has not made the playoffs in 11-seasons, but it is now knocking on the door with a talented team led by a dynamic and sensational young point guard. Excitement is running high, because just being .500 is a huge accomplishment for a team with over a decade of losing under its belt most recently.