After defeating the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night, the Golden State Warriors (2-1) will be on the road tonight (7:00 p.m.) to take on a Sacramento Kings (0-3) team that recently lost in double overtime to the Indiana Pacers. To preview the game, Warriors World reached out to James Ham and Jonathan Santiago of Cowbell Kingdom, the Kings’ ESPN TrueHoop Affiliate blog.
We go 3-on-3…
James Ham, Cowbell Kingdom: The Kings have yet to find their offensive groove, but it’s only a matter of time. They have too many weapons to continue to average just 88.3 points per game. Last season the Kings were the NBA’s sixth highest scoring team at 98.8 points per game and they have added more firepower. Maybe all they need is a little home cooking.
Jonathan Santiago, Cowbell Kingdom: Historically, the Kings have always had a great home court advantage. So, I could see their offense getting a minor boost simply from playing in front of the Sleep Train Arena crowd. However, they still have a lot work to do to become the rebound and running team that Keith Smart envisions they can be.
J.M. Poulard, Warriors World: On potential alone, the Kings are one of the scariest offensive teams in the league; but so far this season they have been inept on that side of the ball because they frequently lack discipline and do a poor job of spacing the floor. I expect a bit more offense at home because they should defend harder and get out in transition, but I still do believe that the Kings will struggle shooting the ball tonight.
2. DeMarcus Cousins this season: All-Star or not?
James Ham: Until Cousins starts leading his team to victory, I expect the voters to pass on the Kings highly skilled big man. He will have All-Star numbers, but in year three, that talent needs to translate into victories. Staying out of foul trouble, avoiding technical fouls and improving his image wouldn’t hurt either.
Jonathan Santiago: Hard to say this early. With a much more svelte physique, he’s come into this season more prepared than his previous two years. But through three games, he’s making the same silly mistakes that’s plagued him throughout his career. He’s committing too many fouls and his field goal percentage is far from efficient. However, three games is just too small of a sample size to say whether or not he makes the All-Star team this year. He’s certainly capable, but give me at least 20 contests before I can say with confidence that he’s headed to Houston.
J.M. Poulard: DeMarcus Cousins is a good passer, has solid hands, does a good job on the boards, is a beast on the block and might make the All-NBA 1st swag team if such a thing is ever created. But he has been somewhat of an enigma in the first three games of the season. Granted the sample size is incredibly small, but Cousins has performed like a player expecting the ball not to come back his way by forcing the issue when there aren’t plays to be made and he’s also taken some questionable shots.
With that said, if he ever solves whatever is occurring in between his ears, he’ll make the All-Star team; and I believe at some point the light goes off for him this season.
3. Who wins tonight and why?
James Ham: Golden State is rolling early this season and the Kings are not, but home court advantage could play a huge role in this game. After playing three home openers on the road, the Kings finally get to play for their home crowd and I expect them to feed off the energy of Sleep Train Arena and pick up their first win of the season.
Jonathan Santiago: I think the Kings eke out the victory. It’s opening night in Sacramento and they’re primed for a win after losing three close games on the road. And say what you will about the new namesake of the arena in Natomas, but Sleep Train Arena is still one of the toughest buildings to play in the NBA. Being at home is going to give the Kings an added advantage.
J.M. Poulard: The Warriors and Kings have quietly had a fun rivalry and I expect that to continue tonight. In my estimation, this contest comes down to which team has the most productive interiors players in terms of scoring and rebounding. Given that Golden State is playing a little better at the moment and that their big men have performed reasonably well — depending on the contest — it’s not a stretch to see the Dubs stealing one tonight in Sacramento. Warriors.