The Oklahoma City Thunder are sliding in the wrong direction with six losses in nine games as they resume play after the All-Star break with a road game against the Sacramento Kings. The Thunder don't receive any help from the schedule either with the Sacramento outing marking the first in a stretch in which five of six are on the road coming out of the break.

Oklahoma City's slump leaves it just 1 1/2 games clear of the ninth-place Los Angeles Clippers in the tightly-packed Western Conference, but the club is also just two games behind the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves, who are tied for third place. All-Stars Russell Westbrook (17 triple-doubles) and Paul George (29.6 average in eight February games) have been carrying the club and need more help from the supporting cast. The Kings lost five of their past seven games and are en route to missing the playoffs for the 12th consecutive season. The contest with the Thunder begins a stretch in which Sacramento is home for eight of nine games.

Video: Carmelo Anthony Talks Missing All Star Game & Thunder's Team Identity

TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS Oklahoma, NBCS California (Sacramento)

ABOUT THE THUNDER (33-26): George made five or more 3-pointers in each of the final five games before the break - he was 27-of-55 from behind the arc during the stretch - while continuing his standout campaign. With the All-Star game in Los Angeles and George's interests in playing for the Lakers well-known, he had to fight off the questions while keeping his future intentions close to the vest. "I know what I feel is best," George told reporters, "but it's a long ways until the end of the season."

ABOUT THE KINGS (18-39): Rookie shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic scored in double digits in the last five games prior to the break and then put on a stellar performance in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend. Bogdanovic, who averages 11.5 points, buried seven 3-pointers and scored 26 points in 22 minutes to earn MVP honors while leading Team World to a 155-124 victory over Team USA. "It just happened," Bogdanovic said of his torrid outside shooting. "You never know when it's going to happen. ... I don't know. I just kept shooting and I felt good."


1. Sacramento SG Buddy Hield averaged 18.5 points as the Kings and Thunder split this season's previous two meetings.

2. Oklahoma City C Steven Adams has recorded a career-best 21 double-doubles.

3. Kings C Willie Cauley-Stein scored in double digits in four straight games and six of his last seven.

PREDICTION: Thunder 114, Kings 106