Season opener spoiled: Thunder struggles defensively against Kings
By: Breonna Dixon, Contributor
1ST QUARTER: 34-32, KINGS
Russell Westbrook finally made his season debut against the Sacramento Kings. He received a well-deserved standing ovation during his introduction.
Although the Thunder got off to another slow start, Westbrook’s presence was definitely felt. He got off to a hot start. Setting up Paul George with a three that had Thunder fans in the arena buzzing.
Russ and Steven Adams also had a lob fest for about two possessions. For the Kings, Iman Shumpert scored 16 points. As for the Thunder besides Russ’s return and his hot start, the three just wouldn’t fall.
2ND QUARTER: 68-56, KINGS
The Thunder bench led by Schroder sparked a comeback in the second quarter. It was tied 36-36 before the Kings went on a run with their offense clicking and the Thunder’s offense struggling.
Trailing by 9, the Thunder began a comeback but their shots would not fall, reminiscent of the first quarter. The shots would continue to fall and the Kings took advantage of the atrocious defense by OKC and upped their lead to 12 by the half.
The Kings shot over 55 percent while the Thunder shot 40 percent. Not an ideal half by a team in need if a win.
3RD QUARTER: 97-90, KINGS
Different quarter, same story. The Kings just had their way with the Thunder.
On offense and defense, the Thunder couldn’t contain or defend the Kings. The rotations Billy Donovan had on the floor weren’t clicking. Then there’s the issue of Billy putting his trust in Terrence Ferguson when Hamidou Diallo is clearly the better player.
Halfway through the third, the Thunder began to make a ferocious comeback led by Paul George. He scored 11 points.
The Thunder cut the lead to six with .22 seconds left.
Paul George got his fifth foul on a questionable call that sent Yogi Ferrell to the line. Nonetheless, the Thunder played this half like the team in who’s down 0-2.
4TH QUARTER: 131-120, KINGS
Whenever the Thunder seemed to gain some sort of momentum, the Kings were at the right spot hitting their shots. The Thunder cut into the lead but could not get any stops to complete their comeback. The Kings had an answer for every Thunder run and Iman Shumpert led the way for the Kings with 26 points. Give credit where credit is due, the Kings came into Chesapeake Arena and gave a fantastic effort throughout four quarters.
OKC needs to some work on the defensive end because the Kings got any shot they wanted.
Billy Donovan’s love for Ferguson seems a bit odd seeing as how Diallo played well and was taken out, but Ferguson got more playing time in the fourth. Paul George also spent the game in foul trouble.
Despite 32 points in his return, the Thunder didn’t have it defensively as the Kings go on to win 131-120. This is the first time in Thunder history that the team has started (0-3) and with the Celtics coming into town on Thursday, their chances of winning just became a little harder than usual.