Thunder will continue to work on offense vs. Kings
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan has tinkered with his offense, trying to get more production out of a group that has struggled to find cohesion for much of the year.
In the second half of the Thunder's win at Charlotte on Saturday, Donovan ran the offense at times through Paul George or Carmelo Anthony rather than reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook.
The results were OK, with Anthony finding some open looks for jump shots that fell, but other times Anthony or George had difficulty finding space and missed shots.
"We have to keep building on that," Donovan said. "For our team, I think that's something that's important and they're trying to utilize and maximize their flexibility."
Not much has come easy for the Thunder and it continues to be that way entering Monday's home game against the Sacramento Kings.
While the Kings remain in last place in the Western Conference, they did beat the Thunder on Nov. 7 in Sacramento.
But that was one of a few blips on what has been a disappointing start for the Kings (13-29). Sacramento is just 2-9 in its last 11 games, including dropping four straight.
The Kings are last in the NBA in both offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency.
Frustration has risen, as Sacramento has been buried early in games regularly.
"Honestly, I don't really know," Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein said after Saturday's 126-105 road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. "It's got to comes from us, but it's got to come from us holding each other accountable.
"Like, enough is enough. I think Coach is at that point where he's not going to play you if you're not doing the right things, and I think that's how it should be."
Thunder defensive stopper Andre Roberson will miss his eighth consecutive game with left knee tendinitis.
Roberson has been out since injuring the knee in the final minutes of the Dec. 29 loss to Milwaukee.
At the time, the Thunder were riding high, having won six consecutive games. But they dropped that game in the final moments and are 3-5 since the streak was snapped.
Roberson has returned to practice but still isn't ready to play.
In his absence, Terrance Ferguson figures to start for the seventh consecutive game. Ferguson scored 35 points in wins over the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, but in the last four games, he is just 3 of 17 from the floor with eight points.
Sacramento will have several reinforcements Monday after they recalled center Georgios Papagiannis and guard Malachi Richardson from their G-League team.
Papagiannis has played in nine games for the Kings this season, averaging 2.7 points and 2.4 rebounds. Richardson has made four starts in 22 games for Sacramento this year, averaging 3.6 points and 1.3 rebounds.
Richardson's return could make it more difficult for rookie forward Justin Jackson to find playing time. On Saturday, Jackson played for the first time since Jan. 6 but for just slightly more than six minutes.
Updated January 14, 2018