The Oklahoma City Thunder will try to claim their first win in three games when they visit the lowly Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
The Kings (1-8, 0-3 home) have been absolutely horrible this season and a case can definitely be made that they are playing the worst basketball in the league. Sacramento entered the season expected to rebuild and tank for a higher draft pick, and they did not surpass those expectations. After playing decent basketball in the opening two games, the Kings gradually got worse and worse. They lost their last 8 games by an average margin of 13.5 points per game!
The Thunder (4-5, 2-3 away) didn`t start the season quite as well as they expected, considering the big moves they made in the Summer, bringing in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to become arguably the second best team in the NBA – or at least a Top 5 side. However, the mediocre start can be understood, as OKC was always going to need a bit of time get homogeneous and test the new rotations. What`s more, OKC caught some really bad breaks – their wins were dominating, while their losses were in close games against good opponents.Bet on Kings vs Thunder and get a 100% (100 Eur) welcome bonus at Ohmbet now!
Team news: The big news is the possible absence of Carmelo Anthony for OKC. The league will investigate and make a decision (probably Tuesday evening) after his ejection in the last game, but chances are he will cleared to play, considering that he was, without a doubt, wrongly ejected. OKC have no other absentees, while the Kings might miss starting PG George Hill (doubtful), along with rookie Harry Giles who is a long term injury
Even if OKC is just 4-5 to start the season, they are playing good basketball. Each time they faced weaker opposition they pummeled it, and all their 5 losses came against playoff caliber opponents. The worst OKC defeat was by 9 points, and three of the five losses were by 4 points or less! OKC could have easily had a (much) better record, not that it matters much so early in the season.
Two of these close defeats came in the last two matches, as OKC lost at home by 7 to Boston (blowing a big lead) and by 4 points two nights ago in Portland, having Carmelo Anthony suffer a bogus ejection in the third quarter.
The Thunder were very frustrated with the way Carmelo was sent out of the game, and that will add extra fuel for this game against the Kings. OKC will be frustrated with the close losses, the refereeing decisions and also needs to bounce back after losing two in a row, so chances are they will be fired up tonight, trying to make a statement and win big. That shouldn`t be too hard to achieve against the Kings, who are playing very poor basketball and are getting blown out constantly.
It`s worth noting that OKC met three non-playoff teams so far this season and they won those games by 21, 18, 31 points. They have been blowing out the poor opponents they faced and I see no reason for that to change considering that OKC will be fully motivated for this clash.
My tip is OKC to cover the -11 (asian) point spread. Expect the line to go up if Carmelo Anthony will be cleared to play (maybe even before a decision is made). In the unlikely scenario in which he will be suspended, I still believe OKC will have enough to win this one comfortably, although the bet will obviously lose some value. Prediction: Sacramento Kings – Oklahoma City Thunder 92 – 114.