OKC hopes to stay in playoff mix with Kings in town

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder have picked a bad time to fall into a lull and look to get back on track Friday versus the Sacramento Kings.

The Thunder have lost four in a row and six of their last seven games, and are even with the New Orleans Pelicans for the eighth and final postseason spot in the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City will wrap up a three-game homestand versus the Kings and have dropped the first two installments versus Houston and San Antonio. The last four losses have come again playoff-bound teams in Dallas, Memphis, Houston and San Antonio, which recorded a 113-88 triumph in OKC on Tuesday.

The Spurs shot 53 percent for the game and were led by Kawhi Leonard's 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting. They held the Thunder to only 10 points in the first quarter (29-10) and 16 points in the third (25-16).

"We didn't come out of the gates very good," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "They took us out of our offense."

Russell Westbrook paced the Thunder with 17 points and Jeremy Lamb added 11 off the bench. Dion Waiters and Perry Jones scored 10 points apiece for Oklahoma City, which made 41 percent from the field and turned the ball over 15 times for 17 San Antonio points.

Westbrook (27.5 ppg) is fractionally behind Houston's James Harden (27.6 ppg) for the scoring title and has failed to reach 20 points in two of his last three games.

The Thunder have lost three straight at home after winning six in a row there and will visit Indiana Sunday.

Oklahoma City is 27-12 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Sacramento opened a three-game road trip with a 103-91 loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. The Jazz broke a 78-78 tie with a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter, as they held the Kings scoreless for 4:26 to take control.

Omri Casspi, Carl Landry and Ben McLemore scored 16 points apiece, Derrick Williams posted 14 off the bench and Jason Thompson recorded a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, losers in six of seven games.

The Kings were without leading scorers DeMarcus Cousins (foot) and Rudy Gay (concussion). Cousins has missed back-to-back games and leads Sacramento with 24.1 ppg. He has recorded double-doubles in each of his last six games played.

Gay has missed four of the past five games because of a concussion and is posting 21.1 ppg.

Both players are questionable Friday.

"I thought as a whole the guys came out to compete," Kings guard Ray McCallum said after the loss in Salt Lake City. "But it was really different not having Cousins and Rudy back there."

Sacramento is winless in its last four road games and will close the trip Sunday at Denver. It is 10-28 away from home this season.

The Kings have lost two of three meetings with the Thunder this season, but ended a 12-game slide in this series with a 104-83 victory on Jan. 7. OKC is 18-2 in the past 20 encounters with Sacramento and unbeaten in the 12 meetings in the Sooner State.