The NBA’s leading triple-double man in Westbrook has tallied five so far this season and has shown no signs of slowing down. Kings vs Thunder Preview: How can the Kings contain Westbrook? | The Sports Daily

Kings vs Thunder Preview: How can the Kings contain Westbrook?

Kings vs Thunder Preview: How can the Kings contain Westbrook?

Cowbell Kingdom

Kings vs Thunder Preview: How can the Kings contain Westbrook?

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SACRAMENTO – Conceding two losses to begin their five-game home stand, Sacramento welcomes Russell Westbrook and the (8-6) Oklahoma City Thunder to the Golden1 Center on Wednesday night.

The NBA’s leading triple-double man in Westbrook has tallied five so far this season and has shown no signs of slowing down. Despite the missed presence of Kevin Durant, Westbrook has kept the Thunder’s playoff hopes alive as they sit at sixth in the west through 14 games.

Unlike any other point guard they have seen so far this season, Ty Lawson and Darren Collison will have the task of guarding the almost un-guardable Westbrook. More than likely, other guards will have a part in trying to contain him, but guarding Westbrook is only half the battle for the Kings.

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Despite the matchup problems surrounding Westbrook, the two squads actually match up pretty nicely on both ends. Steven Adams will be the big man doing much of the harassing on DeMarcus Cousins as Andre Roberson/Rudy Gay, Victor Oladipo/Arron Afflalo will round out the high profile matchups.

In comparison to the Kings, Oklahoma City also possesses a second scorer in the newly acquired Oladipo. Both teams have a superstar and a second contributing scorer but the void for that third potential threat is worth noting.

The Kings have a plethora of shooting guards and small forwards but none have been able to make that jump into the 12-15 point per game range.

To fill the void of a third scorer, the Thunder expressed interest in trading for Gay in the recent weeks reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical and more recently by ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

Gay would provide the Thunder with the third scorer that they so desperately need, while rounding their team out with a new defensive presence. The Thunder and Kings were in “serious engaged talks” concerning a potential trade but talks died once potential trade filler Cameron Payne broke his foot.

Regardless of whether a deal is to be made or not in the coming weeks, the odds are against the Thunder. Since the 2012-2013 season, only four trades have occurred in the month of November while over 35 percent of the NBA is not eligible to be traded until mid December and January.

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This favors the Kings, since they’ll be able to keep Gay for the majority of the season trying to increase their mid season win total before a potential trade were to be made.

Sacramento might be able to catch the Thunder in a vulnerable state as they are on their second game of a back-to-back losing to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. Westbrook nearly tallied his sixth triple double of the season in the loss.

With two days of rest in the bag, the Kings have the opportunity to grab a win against one of the NBA’s most premier players.

Keys to the Game

The rotation has to contribute. Sacramento’s bench offers more versatility than that of the Thunder, which I believe could be critical in this even matchup.

A third scorer needs to become present. Whether that is Matt Barnes, Ben McLemore, Garrett Temple, Afflalo or Collison it will need to happen.

Cousins needs to remain calm, cool and collected. Games seem to get chippy around Adams and they are a more physical team. This could be a problem for Cousins as he leads the NBA in technical fouls.

Tip Off is at 7:30 PM at the Golden1 Center in downtown Sacramento.

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