Tip Off: 7:00 PM (PST)
Sacramento Golden State
PG – Tyreke Evans Stephen Curry
SG – Marcus Thornton 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: After blowing out the Utah Jazz at home on Thursday night, the Golden State Warriors (8-12) will be traveling to Arco Arena tonight to take on a Sacramento Kings (7-15) team that was victorious against the Portland Trail Blazers in an exciting game on Thursday night.
These two teams faced off earlier in the week at Oracle Arena, with the Warriors winning at home. Despite a subpar performance by Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, the Dubs were able to come through down the stretch thanks in large part to their second unit that essentially took command of the game in the fourth quarter and never relinquished.
Indeed, the combination of Nate Robinson, Brandon Rush, Klay Thompson, Dominic McGuire and Ekpe Udoh brought in terrific intensity as well as good team play that compelled Mark Jackson to have them play the entire fourth quarter.
One of the most interesting subplots of the game was Sacramento’s insistence on defending the paint. On the season, Keith Smart’s unit is surrendering 50.5 points in the paint per game (most in the NBA), but in the game against the Warriors on January 31st the Kings sealed off the interior and only yielded 28 points in the paint. Every time a Golden State player drove to the lane, he was met with a swarm of defenders ready to thwart his attempt.
Mind you, one of the biggest problems with the Kings is their inability to play with much discipline.
They are one of the worst defenses in the league as evidenced by their 106.1 defensive efficiency rating (27th in the league). Consequently, when presented with a game plan that called for them to essentially close off the paint, they followed the script but then never bothered to get back out to shooters.
The end result was the Warriors had the opportunity to take several wide-open midrange and long-range jump shots that they proceeded to convert, especially in the final period.
This will be pertinent going into tonight’s matchup because Sacramento will be faced with a choice: allow Warriors players to drive to the basket or close off the lane and let them fire away from deep. The Kings do not have the ability to execute both strategies and thus will have to commit to one.
As far as offense goes, the Kings will continue to play a style eerily reminiscent of playground basketball, where players take turns trying to isolate their defender. Whether, it’s Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons or DeMarcus Cousins; expect the Kings to play a lot of one-on-one basketball.
With that said, the Kings will still have some advantages heading into the matchup tonight. They have the athletes and young legs to get out in transition and score 15.9 fast break points per game (eighth in the association) and they are also a team that crashes the offensive glass with reckless abandon. On the season, they lead the league with 13.9 offensive rebounds per game.
Also it’s worth noting that although the Warriors backcourt struggled against the Kings on the last day of January this season, they have historically played well against Sacramento and given their Thursday night explosion for a combined 62 points and 14 assists; it’s quite possible that they will want to demonstrate that their backcourt is better than the Kings’.
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