Game Preview: Thunder kick off two-game series with Kings

In the first of a two-game series in Sacramento, the Thunder will match up against the Kings
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Sunday night marks the first of two-straight matchups between the Kings and Thunder. While Oklahoma City has been removed from the playoff race officially, Sacramento could still theoretically make a late push, but likely will miss even the play-in tournament. However, with both teams built with individual players looking to prove their worth in the league, it should be an extremely competitive matchup on Sunday.

These two teams also played earlier this week, in a game that the Kings were looking to run away with, up 17 in the second half. A late Thunder push in that game resulted in just a 4-point Kings win. With both teams likely being without key pieces, role players will have the opportunity to step up and make a big impact on the outcome of this game.

ODDS:

The Thunder enter the day as 10.5-point underdogs to the Kings and the total over/under is 221.5 points.

KEYS TO THE GAME:

The Kings will be without rookie Tyrese Haliburton, who is out for the remainder of the season with a left knee injury. However, there's a chance they will get De'Aaron Fox back on Sunday or even the following matchup with OKC on Tuesday as he looks to return from health and safety protocol. Watch for Marvin Bagley to have a big night, who recently returned from injury and notched a 31-point performance earlier this week.

Sacramento likes to get to the free throw line, drawing frequent fouls and getting in the bonus early on. The Kings are top-ten in the NBA in free throw attempts, although they don't shoot a great percentage. 

The Kings are the worst rebounding team in the NBA, paving the way for starting center Moses Brown to have a big night on the glass. On the season, he's averaging nearly nine rebounds per game. 

It'll be worth watching the injury status of Lu Dort and Aleksej Pokusevski who are both starters at this point in the season for Oklahoma City. While Dort played last minute on Saturday night against the Warriors, it wouldn't be surprising to see him rest his right knee on the second night of a back-to-back. Pokusevski has missed the last several games with a left knee injury but could be a huge boost if he makes a return on Sunday. 


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RECORDS:

Oklahoma City Thunder (21-47) vs. Sacramento Kings (29-38)

WHEN:

Sunday, May 9, 2021 at 9:00 PM CT

LOCATION:

Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA

TV/RADIO:

Bally Sports Oklahoma, NBA League Pass, 98.1 FM The Sports Animal

FINAL WORD:

After Sunday’s matchup, the Thunder will once again play the Kings on Tuesday before finishing the last two games of their season in the days following at home. Even more than ever, these next two games against Sacramento will determine Oklahoma City’s draft lottery odds.