Still not mathematically eliminated from play-in contention, the Sacramento Kings are in the fight of their lives as the 2020-21 NBA regular season winds down. Sacramento is in 12th place in the loaded Western Conference, but just four games behind San Antonio for the final play-in spot with eight games remaining.
The Kings (27-37) will look to extend their winning ways and surprising road excellence on Tuesday night when they visit an Oklahoma City Thunder (21-44) team that has nothing to play for except pride.
Sacramento Kings at Oklahoma City Thunder
When: Tuesday, May 4, 2021, at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
TV: Bally Sports OK, NBC Sports California
Radio: WWLS/WKYC, KHTK Sports 1140 AM
Oklahoma City +5
Desperate Kings Playing Surprising Ball
Sacramento Kings has won two straight, three of four and five of its last eight games overall. Along the way, the Kings have beaten a playoff contending Dallas Mavericks team three times with a confidence-boosting win over the Lakers for good measure.
On Sunday, Sacramento took out Dallas for the third time since April 18 by routing the Mavs 111-89. Buddy Hield scored a team-high 27 points while Marvin Bagley III added 23 points and nine rebounds to help the Kings complete a season sweep of the Mavericks.
“All three of the games came during a stretch when we were playing pretty well from the standpoint of togetherness and rebounding and our defense was solid tonight,” Kings coach Luke Walton said. “It takes that type of effort to give yourself a chance to win.”
The Kings average 114.3 points per game (11th), but allow a whopping 118.8 points per contest defensively (30th). Sacramento is 13-19 on the road this season.
Thunder Look to Play Role of Spoiler
Oklahoma City Thunder might not be going to the playoffs, but the Thunder can still help ruin Sacramento’s extremely faint postseason chances. Unfortunately, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and company have lost three straight and nine of 10 overall.
Oklahoma City did put up a strong effort in Sunday’s 123-120 home loss against Phoenix after suffering the worst home loss in league history one game earlier. Darius Bazley had 19 points and nine rebounds and Theo Maledon added 18 points for the Thunder, who have lost 20 of 22.
“Sadly, it didn’t end up the way we wanted, but we really did a great job turning the page from last game and really competing all 48 minutes — something we really want to put in our DNA,” Maledon said. “I felt like that was something that, even though we didn’t get the win, that was very positive.”
The Thunder average just 105.4 points per game (28th) and allow 115.4 points per contest defensively (27th). Oklahoma City has gone 9-24 at Chesapeake Energy Arena this season.
Kings Get It Done to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive
Oklahoma City has won two straight against Sacramento, but the Kings are 4-3 over the last seven meetings and 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings. The Kings covered the spread as a 7½-point road dog the last time these two met in February 2020.
Sacramento has gone 4-1 ATS in its last five games, 5-0 ATS in its last five road games and an identical 5-0 ATS in its last five road dates against the Thunder. Conversely, Oklahoma City is 5-13 ATS in its last 18 games, 2-4 ATS over its last six games and 1-3 ATS in its last four home games.
Oklahoma City has lost five straight at home and the Kings are desperate and playing well. Keep it simple and back the Kings to scratch out the hard-fought road win.