Russell Westbrook’s 3-pointer at the buzzer thwarted a Kings’ rally from 23 down to give the Oklahoma City Thunder a 110-107 victory Thursday night at Golden 1 Center.
The Kings (18-40) trailed 44-21 after the first quarter, the most points they’ve allowed in a quarter all season. But Sacramento held a 90-85 lead after three behind the strong play of Zach Randolph, who finished with 29 points and 12 rebounds.
Justin Jackson’s putback tied the game at 107-107 with a second left, but, after a timeout, Westbrook hit the game-winner over Garrett Temple’s outstretched hand.
Westbrook finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists for the Thunder (34-26). Paul George had 26 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points.
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The Kings were without De’Aaron Fox (pink eye), so Temple started at point guard.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Diversify your game
The statistic that stood out the most for Buddy Hield were his 10 rebounds, a career high. He also had 19 points and four assists.
Hield has shown he can be a stellar shooter, but the more facets he shows he can do consistently will elevate his game.
Randolph at center works
Randolph attacking Thunder center Steven Adams proved effective. Rather than ask Willie Cauley-Stein to tangle with the physical Adams, the Kings turned to Randolph, whose savvy and strength worked.
Cauley-Stein isn’t a rough-and-tumble type, so there’s no need to force him to be that player. Leave the dirty work to Randolph.
Skal Labissere (10 points, three rebounds) and Frank Mason III (six points, two assists) both played key minutes during the fourth quarter in their returns from injury.
As Mason gets his legs back (he hadn’t played since Dec. 31 because of a heel injury), the point guard be counted on to play a major role as the season winds down.