By Randy Renner
Sacramento’s outstanding point guard Isaiah Thomas will not play tonight. He’ll miss his second straight game with a bruised right quad.
Thomas scored a career-high 38 points the last time these two teams met. Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook was still out rehabbing his knee that night and Thomas had his way with Reggie Jackson. In the second half Thunder head coach Scott Brooks switched Thabo Sefolosha onto Thomas and that shut him down. Sefolosha of course isn't available tonight.
Rookie Ray McCallum will make his second straight start filling in for Thomas. “I told him to be aggressive, run his team and not be afraid to make mistakes,” Kings head coach Mike Malone said before the game. As to any advice for guarding Westbrook? “Good luck.”
Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook will play tonight and is on a 32 minute per game restriction.
Westbrook is disappointed with his team’s defensive efforts lately, especially his own, “Yeah I am. I’ve just gotta be better (on defense). I’m lettin’ too many guys off the hook, letting them feel too comfortable bringing the ball up and running what they want and I’m just sittin’ back, chillin’. I gotta set the tone early on defense for my team.”
Brooks told reporters before the game he's not concerned with the Thunder defense coming around in time for the playoffs, "No, we understand what we have to do and we will get there and hopefully we will get into the playoffs healthy."
Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins remain out tonight. But both are expected back soon, perhaps by late next week.
Rookies Andre Roberson and Steven Adams will again start in their places.
Kevin Durant will be trying to extend his streak of 25 point games to 37 straight tonight. Durant is averaging 28.5 points against Sacramento this season.
The Thunder have never lost to the Kings in Oklahoma City (10-0) and have won 17 of the last 19 games overall.
Click back after the game for reaction videos from inside the Thunder lockerroom.