The Sacramento Kings are back at it Saturday afternoon, looking for their third straight win. They’ll face MVP candidate Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in the first game of a back-to-back.
Skal Labissiere took a major step forward in his development in the Kings last game, dropping in a career-high 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting to go with 11 rebounds. The smooth shooting rookie out of the University of Kentucky is blossoming since the All-Star break and looking to build off his recent success.
The Thunder are in the thick of the playoff chase. They currently sit in the sixth spot in the Western Conference playoff chase, but they trail the Los Angeles Clippers by just a half game for fifth in the standings with just 14 games remaining in the season.
Thunder by 12.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Skal Labissiere vs. Domantas Sabonis -- Neither of these rookies may start the game, but expect Labissiere to get plenty of playing time after his breakout performance against the Suns. Sabonis started the first 64 games of the year for OKC, but has given way to veteran Taj Gibson over the last four contests. Taken with the 11th overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft, Sabonis is a highly skilled stretch four with range. Dave Joerger likes to match up his young players against players with similar experience. Expect these two to see a lot of each other in the Saturday matinee.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 27-41, third place in Pacific
Thunder: 39-29, second place in Northwest
Kings: SF Tyreke Evans (sore left ankle) out, Arron Afflalo (personal - not with team) out, Ben McLemore (personal - not with team) out, SG Malachi Richardson (right hamstring partial tear) out, F Rudy Gay (torn left Achilles) out for season.
Thunder: No injuries to report.
The season series between these two teams is knotted at 1-1 after the Thunder took down the Kings at Chesapeake Energy on Jan. 15. The Thunder hold a 141-85 all-time lead over the Kings and an 84-49 advantage in the Sacramento-era.
“I just want to give glory to God, that was him out there. I spent a lot of time before the game in prayer and came out here and just played. I just played hard and my teammates did a really good at finding me. Coach put me in a good situation to succeed.” -Labissiere after his big game against the Phoenix Suns