After thrilling their hometown crowd with an unbeaten six-game homestand, Derek Fisher and the Oklahoma City Thunder took their show on the road, and kept their win streak going on Tuesday night in Sacramento.
The Thunder made it eight straight wins with a 97-95 victory over the Kings at Sleep Train Arena, one of the most closely contested games of the streak.
The Kings looked poised to take down OKC early, and started the game on a 14-2 run to take a double-digit lead less than five minutes in. Sacramento held a big lead throughout the first and after one quarter, the Thunder win streak was in peril as they entered the second quarter behind, 31-19.
D-Fish entered the game to begin the second quarter, and combined with Reggie Jackson in the backcourt to spur an OKC run. Jackson and Jeremy Lamb scored the first 11 points of the quarter for the Thunder while on the other end, the Oklahoma City defense held Sacramento to just four points in the first five minutes of the second.
That run cut Sacramento’s lead to just five and though the Kings doubled that lead with back-to-back scores, No. 6 stopped Sacramento’s charge with a big play, as described by Nick Gallo of Thunder.com in his game recap.
“Beautiful bounce pass in the lane by Derek Fisher to Serge Ibaka for an easy dunk.”
The assist was Derek’s lone dime of the game. He also pitched in a rebound, a steal and a pair of points. By the time Derek headed back to the bench with 3:03 remaining in the half, the Kings were clinging to a five-point lead. Three-pointers by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in the final 96 seconds — sandwiched around a pair of Durant free throws — put the Thunder ahead by three at halftime.
OKC held the lead for most of the third quarter, but had to hold off a strong run from the Kings midway through the frame. After the Thunder opened up an eight-point lead five minutes into the third, Sacramento pieced together a 9-0 run to take a one-point lead. But that lead was very short-lived. OKC pulled ahead, 66-65, with 3:17 to go, and scored the final 14 points of the third to take a 13-point lead into the fourth.
“Our offense was really good and that keyed our defense. We were talking and we were scrambling,” coach Scott Brooks said of the third quarter run. “We kept those guys on the perimeter and we rebounded. We just have to continue to do that.”
Though the Thunder had a comfortable lead heading into the fourth, they weren’t able to cruise to victory. OKC pushed their edge as high as 17 early in the final frame, but Sacramento charged back with a 13-0 run, cutting the Oklahoma City edge down to four with 7:56 remaining.
Rather than take a timeout, coach Scott Brooks elected to trust the players he had on the floor, and Derek made that look like a smart move as he knocked down a 17-footer off the glass to finally stem Sacramento’s run. They were Fish’s only two points of the game, but they were huge ones. Jackson, Lamb, Durant and Westbrook all added clutch buckets down the stretch, and the Thunder valued every one as they pulled off the two-point win.
“We have big-game players and we know we have guys who can hit big shots,” Durant said afterward. “Jeremy hit some big ones and Reggie hit some big ones.
The Thunder (13-3) continue their road trip on Wednesday in Portland where they take on the only team above them in the Western Conference standings, the Trail Blazers (16-3). Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. CT and the game can be seen on FS Oklahoma.