The Sacramento Kings went on a torrid fourth-quarter run to make the game close, but it was to no avail, as the Oklahoma City Thunder won a surprisingly close game, 113-103, on Friday night.
Though the final score would indicate a hard-fought 48 minutes, the game's first half was a completely different story. Following a close first quarter that saw the Thunder finish ahead by three, Kevin Durant and Co. went off in the next period.
Behind 10 points from Durant and another nine from Kevin Martin, Oklahoma City pulverized the young Kings, 32-16, in the second quarter and looked to be headed toward a cakewalk victory. The halftime score was 61-42, which essentially was what most expected coming into Friday night.
A relatively uneventful third quarter followed, and the Thunder walked into the final 12 minutes ahead by 16 points. With a comfortable lead against a less talented young squad, Scott Brooks apparently thought Friday would be the perfect time to bench his starters.
The Kings did not see it that way. Spurred by Brooks' benching of Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, Sacramento came roaring back against Oklahoma City's second unit.
Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas was particularly spry, dropping 18 points in the first seven-and-a-half minutes of the quarter. With Sacramento within 10 points, Brooks called a timeout with a little over four minutes remaining to reluctantly reenter his starters.
The Kings wound up getting as close as six points, but their comeback wound up falling just short. Still, it was an inspired effort for a team that has just one road win all season.
Player of the Game: Kevin Durant
As he's wont to do, the superstar forward dropped 31 points on Friday with relative ease. Durant took just 14 shots on the night, making 10 of them, and added a 9-of-9 performance at the free-throw line to boot.
KD's five rebounds and three assists were negligible, but he did add four steals for good measure.
What's Next for the Kings?
The 7-15 Kings get 24 hours off from the NBA grind before heading back home for a tilt against the Denver Nuggets.
What's Next for the Thunder?
The 19-4 Thunder get a rare two-day break to prepare for their clash for Western Conference supremacy against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.