The Oklahoma City Thunder put a nine-game winning streak on the line Friday night when the Sacramento Kings come to Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder's last loss came at Boston on Nov. 23 and this is the fourth straight at home for Oklahoma City. During this run of spectacular play, the Thunder have won by an average of almost 15.0 ppg, although that number is somewhat tainted by the 45-point embarrassment against the Charlotte Bobcats on Nov. 26.
The Thunder have soared to the best record in the NBA and with a win on Friday, they would have their first 10-game winning streak since the franchise moved to Oklahoma City.
They had a tough time of it on Wednesday in a 92-88 victory over the New Orleans Hornets. The Thunder trailed by eight at the half and pulled away late for their 18th victory.
"We're a veteran team," said Kevin Durant, who scored 35 points in the win. "We've been through it before and we know that. We've been through games where we weren't making shots and we let it affect our defense. Every time we were at the huddle we kept saying to just keep sticking with the defense and the offense will come around."
The offense came around with 56 points in the second half. The Thunder only shot 43.7 percent from the field, but held the Hornets to 39.8 percent.
The Thunder are 12-2 at home. The Kings are 1-8 on the road and that lone victory came Saturday night in Portland against the Trail Blazers. Since the win, the Kings have lost two straight and Friday's tilt will end a four-game road trip.
Sacramento lost 98-85 Wednesday to the Milwaukee Bucks. With DeMarcus Cousins suspended for an incident in Monday's setback to the Dallas Mavericks, the Bucks outrebounded the Kings by 10. The Kings, who are fifth in points in the paint, missed Cousins as their bigs only managed 22 points.
Ball movement was a big problem for the Kings on Wednesday. They only managed 14 assists as a team, but made 32 baskets.
"Guys took it upon their own to try and make a play themselves. That's not conducive to our basketball team," said head coach Keith Smart. "This was a night where we didn't move the ball."
Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 17 points off the bench. John Salmons had 16 and Aaron Brooks chipped in 10.
The Thunder have won 12 of their last 14 against the Kings and Sacramento has never won in Oklahoma City.