Tip Off: 7:30 PM (PST)
Sacramento Golden State
PG – Jimmer Fredette Stephen Curry
SG – Tyreke Evans Monta Ellis
SF – John Salmons Dorell Wright
PF – DeMarcus Cousins David Lee
C – Jason Thompson Andris Biedrins
Scope the opposition: Get your Kings fix at Cowbell Kingdom.
Preview: The Golden State Warriors (6-12) will be hosting the Sacramento Kings (6-14) tonight at Oracle Arena in what should be a thrilling game between both teams. The Kings and Warriors always seem to play each other down to the wire, which makes for some exciting basketball.
The Dubs are coming off a home loss at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder, a game in which Kevin Durant played like the superstar that he is. The Kings on the other hand were defeated in Utah after trailing by double-digits at the end of the third quarter but rallying late in the game only to lose by three.
The Sacramento Kings are quite an interesting bunch of players. Much like the Washington Wizards, they have an interesting crop of talented individuals, but it’s tough to see them consistently playing well together.
On the season, Sacramento has an unimpressive 94.6 offensive efficiency rating (26th in the NBA) to go along with their putrid 39.9 percent field goal shooting (last in the league).
The irony of course, is that playing offense is the best thing that this team does. Indeed, the roster is filled with players who want nothing more than to score the ball; the end result is poor team play and lack of discipline.
The Kings average 15.7 assists per game (30th in the league) specifically because they are often concerned with going one-on-one instead of sharing the ball. The best example of this is in their transition play. Indeed, they do a good job of getting out on the break and scoring 15.8 fast break points per game (ninth in the association), but will only pass the ball if it is absolutely necessary. More often than not, whoever can get ahead of the pack will get the shot attempt, regardless of whether or not it’s a high percentage shot.
Mind you, because the Kings are such an offensively driven team, they try very hard to score. Thus, they attack the glass early and often. On the season, they collect 14.2 offensive rebounds per game (best in the NBA), which helps them score 41.1 points in the paint per game (12th in the league). Granted, given the fact that they miss a lot of their shots, it stands to reason that there are several opportunities to rebound the ball in their games.
On defense, Sacramento sports a 106.6 defensive efficiency rating (28th in the association) and also yields 47.6 percent field goal shooting (28th in the NBA). Once again, it’s important to reiterate that the Kings put all of their eggs in the offensive basket. Hence, the defense takes a hit. A huge one.
The Kings players do not help out on curl screens, which means that shooters typically get easy looks when coming off picks. Combine that with the fact that Keith Smart’s unit only occasionally fights to get through screens, and well that’s a recipe for disaster on the defensive end.
This partly explains why the Kings surrender 52.3 points in the paint per game (most in the NBA).
Also, because Sacramento is more than happy to switch from defense to offense in a heartbeat, they tend to leak out before actually securing rebounds. The end result is that opposing teams can attack the boards for second chance opportunities. So far this season, the Kings are yielding 13.4 offensive rebounds per game (most in the NBA).
If there was ever a game in which Monta Ellis could potentially come out of his slump, it has to be this one. Ellis may not make all of his shots, but his ability to attack the basket off the dribble should enable him to score at the rim, get fouled and also feed teammates for easy looks.
Mind you, it’s at least important for the Warriors to run their offense and share the ball to get Kings defenders out of position on drive attempts.
Jimmer Fredette Vs. Stephen Curry may not strike many as a marquee matchup, but the point guard battle may prove to be quite interesting as the BYU product tries to establish himself against one of the league’s best young players while Curry tries to remind Fredette that he is still after all a rookie.
Also, DeMarcus Cousins should be able to get some solid post position against David Lee and score against him, but the former Gator should also have a few opportunities in the post to face up and drive past the former Wildcat and get him in foul trouble.
Just remember, Kings and Warriors usually brings excitement.
Sacramento game notes: In four games against the Warriors last season, DeMarcus Cousins averaged 14.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game on 42 percent field goal shooting. He also fouled out twice.
Golden State game notes: In three games against the Kings last season, Stephen Curry averaged 26.7 points, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game on 57.7 percent field goal shooting and 52.4 percent 3-point field goal shooting.
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