Game 16 Preview: Sacramento Kings vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Russell Westbrook breaks down the Kings' defense. (Photo: Steven Chea)

Gametime: 7:00 pm PST

Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA.

Broadcast Information: KHTK Sports 1140 (Radio), Comcast SportsNet California (Television)

Sacramento Kings Projected Starters (4-11)

PG: Greivis Vasquez
SG: Ben McLemore
SF: Derrick Williams
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Oklahoma City Thunder Projected Starters (12-3)

PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Thabo Sefolosha
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Serge Ibaka
C: Kendrick Perkins

What to watch

1. Can Russell Westbrook be contained?

Despite missing preseason and Oklahoma City’s first two games of the regular season due to a torn meniscus, Westbrook has picked up right where he left off last season.  The Thunder guard has averaged 21.1 points, 5.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and two steals per game since returning to OKC’s lineup in early November.  Greivis Vasquez and Isaiah Thomas have had their struggles defensively against opposing point guards and it doesn’t get any easier for them tonight.

2. The turnover battle

The Kings have been one of the better teams in the NBA when it comes to taking care of the basketball this season.  Headed into tonight’s game, Sacramento is ranked third in fewest turnovers committed per game, averaging just 13.8 TPG.  However, they are coming off a game where they committed an uncharacteristic 24 turnovers that led to 33 points against the Warriors on Sunday.  The Thunder, a fast paced team under head coach Scott Brooks, will surely make the Kings pay if they play sloppy today.

3. Which power forward makes a contribution for the Kings tonight?

Jason Thompson and Patrick Patterson have both been fairly inconsistent this season.  Thompson, who reclaimed his place in the starting lineup after Patterson started the first six contests, has battled foul trouble early in games.  Patterson meanwhile has struggled with his shot, especially beyond the arc where he’s shooting just 24.2 percent this year.

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