The Oklahoma City Thunder only have themselves to blame for losing grip on the top seed in the Western Conference.
A shaky month of April for the Thunder allowed the surging San Antonio Spurs to capture the No. 1 spot in the West. With the second seed locked up for the postseason, the Northwest Division-champion Thunder will host Sacramento tonight in the opener of a season-ending two-game homestand.
Oklahoma City will also welcome playoff-bound Denver to town on Wednesday and is coming off Sunday's 114-106 double-overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Kevin Durant scored 35 points and Serge Ibaka added 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder, who lost top reserve James Harden to a vicious elbow from Lakers forward Metta World Peace in the second quarter. Harden had 14 points and Russell Westbrook added 14 and 10 assists.
"Heck of a game," said Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks. "It was hard fought. We got cold when we needed to stay hot. We had good looks, we just didn't make them."
Harden possibly sustained a concussion and is not expected to play tonight. The Sixth Man of the Year candidate is averaging 16.8 points this season. Oklahoma City closed out a five-game road trip in LA with a 3-2 mark and will put its 25-6 home record to the test versus the Kings.
Sacramento is playing out the string and will visit the Thunder Tuesday before closing out the 2011-12 campaign at home versus the Lakers on Thursday.
The Kings ended a two-game slide the last time out and won for just the second time in 11 tries with Sunday's 114-88 road victory against lowly Charlotte. DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points and 10 rebounds, while Tyreke Evans added 22 points for Sacramento, which got 14 points, 11 rebounds and five steals from Jason Thompson.
"We knew we needed to set the tone early and not let them have a chance," said Evans. "I just wanted to keep the energy up and not let them in the game."
Kings leading scorer Marcus Thornton missed his second straight game with a bruised left quadriceps and is questionable for tonight. He is averaging 18.7 points in 51 games this season.
Sacramento is 6-26 away from California's capital and has lost two of three matchups with the Thunder this season. Oklahoma City has won 11 of the past 13 meetings between the teams and all six contests in the OKC.