Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#507 Sacramento Kings vs.
#508 Oklahoma City Thunder
Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 8:05pm EDT
Chesapeake Enery Arena, Oklahoma City
Written by Chris Kubala

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It’s a matchup of teams on the outside looking in at the expanded playoff field in the Western Conference down in the Sooner State. The Sacramento Kings are on the road as they make the trip to face the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday night. Sacramento comes in off a 111-99 road win over Dallas Sunday night in their most recent contest. Oklahoma City was edged 123-120 at home by Phoenix Sunday night in their most recent game. In the all-time regular-season series between the teams, the Thunder owns a 148-90 edge and have won the last two meetings. That includes a 112-108 home victory in the most recent meeting on February 27, 2020.

Sacramento Kings Looking to Maintain Momentum

Sacramento earned their second straight win on the road as they took down the Mavericks and swept the season series with Dallas Sunday night. The Kings entered Monday last in the Pacific Division, 14.5 games behind the Suns for the top spot. In the Western Conference playoff picture, the team was 12th, 2.5 games behind the Warriors for 10th place and the final spot for the play-in tournament for the postseason. In Sunday’s game, Sacramento led by 10 after the opening quarter and by seven at the half. The Kings saw their lead trimmed to three in the second half but pulled away to extend their edge to 15 after three quarters en route to the win. Sacramento shot 55.6% from the field, including 11 of 28 from three-point range, and overcame 20 turnovers in the victory. Buddy Hield led the Kings with 27 points plus six boards in the win.

The Kings enter this game 11th in the league in scoring offense with an average of 114.3 points per game. Sacramento is 30th in rebounding with 41.1 boards a contest while the team stands 12th by handing out an average of 25.4 assists per contest. The Kings are 30th in scoring defense as they allow an average of 118.8 points a night. De’Aaron Fox leads the team with 25.2 points plus 7.2 assists a night on the year. Harrison Barnes (16.1 points, 6.6 rebounds) and Buddy Hield (16.7 points) are solid scoring options as well. Richaun Holmes (14.5 points, 8.7 boards), Marvin Bagley III (14 points, 7.4 boards) and Tyrese Haliburton (13 points, 5.3 assists) are each averaging in double figures. The Kings also have Hassan Whiteside, Chimezie Metu, Delon Wright (9.7 points, four rebounds, 4.2 assists), Terence Davis and Glenn Robinson III to lean on in their rotation. Sacramento is 5th in field goal percentage by shooting 48.3% from the floor as a team on the year. The Kings are 20th by knocking down an average of 12 three-pointers a night while they are 15th by knocking down 36.6% of their attempts from beyond the arc this season.

Fox (health and safety protocols) is likely out another few days while Barnes (adductor) and Metu (back) missed Sunday’s game and need to be monitored here. Haliburton left the game against the Mavericks May 2 with a knee injury and his status is murky at best.

Oklahoma City Thunder Playing Out the String

Oklahoma City suffered their third straight loss and their 17th in the last 18 games as they were edged by the Suns at home after suffering the worst home loss in NBA history to the Pacers the night before. The Thunder entered Monday fourth in the Northwest Division, 25.5 games behind the Jazz for the top spot. In the Western Conference playoff picture, the team is 13th, and are one of three teams to be eliminated from playoff contention. Against Phoenix, Oklahoma City led by six after the opening quarter only to trail by seven at the half. The deficit grew to 13 after three quarters and 16 with 3:29 to play. Oklahoma City outscored the Suns 17-4 the rest of the way but came up short. The Thunder shot 48.9% from the field, including 13 of 30 from three-point range, won the rebounding battle 47-39 but lost as they allowed the Suns to shoot 53.6% from the floor in the contest. Darius Bazley led the Thunder with 19 points and nine rebounds in the loss.

The Thunder comes into this contest a dismal 28th in the league in scoring offense with 105.4 points per game. Oklahoma City stands 5th in rebounding with 45.6 boards a night while they are 27th in assists by dishing out 22.3 dimes per contest. The Thunder is 27th in scoring defense as they allow an average of 115.4 points a night. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads the team with 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists a night this season. Luguentz Dort puts up 14.2 points a night and Isaiah Roby chips in 9.1 points plus 5.8 boards a contest. Mike Muscala (9.7 points) and Al Horford (14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds) are solid contributors offensively as well. Darius Bazley (13.4 points, 7.4 rebounds), Ty Jerome (10.4 points), Justin Jackson, Theo Maledon (10.1 points), Svi Mykhailiuk, Moses Brown, Gabriel Deck and Kenrich Williams have to contribute for the team to have success. Oklahoma City is 28th in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.3% from the floor as a team on the year. The Thunder is 19th by knocking down an average of 12.2 three-pointers a night while they are 28th in three-point shooting as they knock down 34.3% of their attempts on the year.

Gilgeous-Alexander (foot) is out until early May at best at this point: he could miss the rest of the year. Deck is not with the team despite signing a contract earlier this month. Muscala (ankle) has been out since March 14 and has no timetable to return. Horford is going to be inactive the rest of the season as the team gives more time to their young players.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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We’re looking at a pair of teams who likely are going nowhere this season. Sacramento had their season derailed by injuries as several key contributors were out for extended periods this season, dealing major blows to their rotation. Oklahoma City has been brutal as they have gone to the complete rebuild path and that’s something that is going to take time to do correctly. The Thunder is missing their star player in Gilgeous-Alexander and are playing their third game in four nights here having dropped 17 of their last 18. Sacramento has road wins over the Lakers and Mavericks in their last two games. Give the Kings the edge here as they take care of business.

Prediction: Sacramento Kings -5.5

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Sacramento is 9th in the league in tempo as they average 99.9 possessions a game. The Kings are happy to run, which helps their offense, but their defense is awful. Fortunately, the Kings get the advantage as they face one of the worst offensive units in the league. Oklahoma City is 7th in the league in tempo as they average 101.1 possessions per game this year. The Thunder doesn’t do a ton offensively this season despite their tempo this season. Without Horford along with their leading scoring Gilgeous-Alexander, points could be even harder to come by for an offensively challenged team. With this one being a potential track meet, this one ends up over the total despite the fact that the Thunder is terrible at putting the ball in the basket.

Prediction: Over 230.5
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

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