White-hot Westbrook, PG3 welcome Kings to OKC
For the first time in more than a month, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is coming off a game in which he didn't record a triple-double.
But Westbrook's last two games have been perhaps his best offensive performances of the season.
Oklahoma City is likely to need Westbrook to keep up his offensive exploits going into Saturday's home game against the Sacramento Kings, a team that likes to push the pace offensively.
Over the last two games, Westbrook is averaging 43.5 points, is shooting 56 percent from the floor, and has a combined 10 made 3-pointers.
Westbrook hadn't hit more than two 3-pointers in consecutive games since the final two games of last year's first-round playoff loss.
Oklahoma City figures to be playing with tired legs after Friday night's 148-147 double-overtime win over Utah in which Paul George hit a running floater over 7-footer Rudy Gobert with less than two seconds to play to give the Thunder the win.
The Thunder are 5-2 on the second night of back-to-backs this season.
While Westbrook has been really good, George continues to look like an MVP candidate.
In Friday's game, George was 17 of 31 from the floor for 45 points, grabbed nine rebounds and handed out seven assists. It's his defense, though that has Thunder coach Billy Donovan putting George in the MVP discussion.
"He takes all the best perimeter guys on offense," Donovan said. "I don't know if there are any guys at his level on both sides of the ball. What he's done on both ends is remarkable."
On the side of the court, the Kings have lost two consecutive games as they fight to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
The most recent loss was Thursday's 125-123 loss at Golden State, which ended with Buddy Hield's turnaround jumper falling short after he passed up an open 3-pointer.
"I should have pulled it. No excuse," Hield told reporters of the 3-point look after the loss. "This one stings a lot, but to come back like that and to have an opportunity to win the game ... I've got to do a better job, block everything out and just (shoot) it."
The shot came not long after Hield got into a confrontation with coach Dave Joerger, who was upset that Hield shot -- and made -- a 3-pointer with 19 seconds remaining that helped set up a potential game-winning or game-tying possession.
"Can't dwell on it. Just got to go out and when opportunities come, you've got to take advantage of it," Hield said. "This is the fun of the NBA. No game is easy. We're trying to get in the playoff race, so we've gotta try to go win one in (Oklahoma City)."
The Kings have won two of the previous three meetings between the teams this season, though Oklahoma City won the most recent meeting, Dec. 19 in Sacramento -- a game in which Hield scored a career-high 37 points but George scored 43.
Saturday's game is the final regular-season meeting between the teams.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 23, 2019