The Oklahoma City Thunder are stringing together solid performances and are on the verge of getting back to .500. The Thunder will go for their fourth consecutive victory and sixth in seven games when they visit the Sacramento Kings in the third of a four-game trip on Wednesday.
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Oklahoma City turned up the defense in wins at Portland and Utah to begin the trip, holding each opponent under 100 points and stifling Utah in a 104-90 triumph on Monday. "We were just all on a string," Thunder small forward Abdel Nader, who got the start in place of Tony Ferguson (hip), told reporters. "If someone got beat, the next person was there to help and then the next person was there to help after that and so on. Our rotations were really on point. That's something we've talked about, being able to scramble and help each other." Sacramento comes home with plenty of confidence after knocking off Western Conference contenders Dallas and Houston to close out a four-game road trip. "We haven't been ourselves lately and we know, and we know we're a better team than (what) we've been showing," guard Buddy Hield told the Sacramento Bee. "It matters on the court, and we just need to get our swagger back and get back on our feet, and just play together and have fun."
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS Oklahoma, NBCS California (Sacramento)
ABOUT THE THUNDER (11-12): Reserve point guard Dennis Schroder provides a consistent spark off the bench for the offense and scored a team-high 27 points on 11-of-21 shooting Monday - his third straight 20-plus effort. "It's not talked enough about how selfless Dennis is," starting point guard Chris Paul told reporters. "Dennis is a starter in this league on just about any other team. He's a star in his role and that's why our bench is so good." Schroder, who has yet to miss a free-throw in 14 attempts this month, is 28-of-52 from the floor during the three-game winning streak.
ABOUT THE KINGS (10-13): Nemanja Bjelica buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer in Monday's 119-118 triumph at Houston while veteran point guard Cory Joseph provided a defensive lift with his effort against former MVP James Harden. "Bjeli hit a big shot, but even you go into what Cory did, we had him on Luka (Doncic) last night, we had him on Harden tonight," Kings coach Luke Walton told reporters after the win. "Three days ago he couldn't even walk, we didn't even think he was going to play. As we talk about culture and what we're trying to build, the example that he sets with that type of effort every single night is pretty good for our group." Joseph is starting in place of point guard De'Aaron Fox (ankle), who is still at least a week away from returning.
1. Thunder SF Danilo Gallinari (ankle) sat out Monday and is day-to-day.
2. Kings F Marvin Bagley III (thumb) last played in the season opener but is getting closer to a return and is considered day-to-day.
3. Sacramento took three of the four meetings last season.
News Breaking News
Key Players to Watch
- FootQues Mon | questionable
Bagley III has sat out the last two games due to soreness in his left foot, and it is uncertain if he will be available for Monday's matchup versus the Timberwolves.
- AnkleProb Wed | probable
Bjelica is expected to suit up against the Pistons on Wednesday despite a sprained right ankle.
- AcquiredProb Thurs | probable
Ariza was recently acquired through a trade and is projected to suit up for his new team against the Mavericks on Thursday.
- ShoulderEarly Feb | out
Holmes is expected to miss at least two to three weeks due to right shoulder soreness.
- FootProb Mon | probable
Bagley III left the last game to have his left foot evaluated and did not return. It is not expected to impede his status for Monday against the Heat.
- AnkleProb Mon | probable
Bjelica is expected to play Monday versus the Heat despite a right ankle sprain.
- AnkleProb Sat | probable
Bogdanovic is sidelined due to right ankle soreness. It is expected that he will return to the lineup Saturday against the Jazz.
- AnkleProb Sat | probable
Bjelica is managing an ankle injury, but will likely be available versus the Jazz on Saturday.
Oklahoma City Thunder
- AnkleQues Sat | questionable
Adams has been absent from the lineup during the last two games with a left ankle sprain, and it is uncertain if he will draw back into the lineup against the Timberwolves on Saturday.
- PersonalQues Sat | questionable
Ferguson has sat out the previous four games due to a personal matter, and it remains to be seen if he will rejoin the lineup Saturday against the Timberwolves.
- AnkleOut indefinitely | out
Nader has been sidelined with a left ankle sprain, and it is unclear when he will make his return to the lineup.
- AnkleProb Wed | probable
Noel was absent from the lineup during the last game with a sore left ankle. It is anticipated that he will participate in Wednesday's matchup against the Magic.
- KneeQues Sat | questionable
Adams sat out the last game due to a right knee contusion. His status for Saturday's matchup against the Trail Blazers is clouded.
- AnkleProb Fri | probable
Noel has been out of commission with a left ankle sprain, but is expected to rejoin the lineup Friday against the Heat.