The Sacramento Kings will be in Oakland today as they prepare to face their Bay Area rivals in the third of four match-ups this season. The Kings have found ways to play very solid games against the Warriors this year and have won the first two, both at home. The Kings will play the Warriors twice in Oakland this month, and both are hardly considered road games.
The Kings enter tonight’s game playing in the second of back to back games, losing 113-120 to the Denver Nuggets the night before. The Kings will need to find a way to play solid defense against a Warriors team looking to win games and stay in the middle of the playoff race. The Warriors are coming off a victory over Toronto at home after losing four in a row on their most recent five game road trip. The Warriors are 4-10 in their last 14 games.
The Warriors face a must win situation only because of the teams still in the hunt to steal a final playoff spot. Houston and the Jazz have left room for the Lakers and possibly even Portland to sneak into the final spots for the playoffs.
The Kings are the worst team in the Western Conference, and they have no chance of making a late season surge and making the playoffs. This Being said, the Kings may be playing their last season in Sacramento and owe it to themselves and their fans to play their hearts out every game. Sleep Train has shown signs throughout this season of what it used to be like when the team was winning, and games were fun to watch. The Kings players need to play for the fans and the city, which has supported it for 28 years.
The Kings players can also look at the silver lining and realize that every final game in this season is almost a try-out for next year. Regardless of whether or not the Kings stay in Sacramento, the team will undergo a major change in personnel with new team ownership and management. The Maloof’s have already received the counter offer and have said if the Seattle deal falls through they will sell the team to another bidder.
The Kings will need to consider their final games of the season as a tryout for their futures in the NBA, whether it is Sacramento or elsewhere. Several players have expiring contracts in the upcoming years and will have a good opportunity as several people around the league are watching to see what is happening in Sacramento, its imminent sale, and possible relocation of the Kings.
The Kings have played solid basketball against the Warriors this season and will need both Tyreke Evans and Demarcus Cousins to bounce back from very poor performances against the Nuggets. The Kings will have the advantage inside with their size, and will look to Both Demarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson to have big games. Thompson has been playing more consistently in his last ten games, and the Kings need both him and Cousins to have good games tonight.
Tyreke Evans will need to help Isaiah Distribute the ball, run the offense, and of course score when they can all night against a very good Warriors team. Evans and Thomas need to find their teammates; both Marcus Thornton and John Salmons have been shooting the ball very well lately. While Salmons struggled last night against Denver Marcus Thornton will hope to continue his recent hot streak from the field and three point range. Thornton is 19 of 40 from three-point range, averaging 26.2 points on almost 58 percent shooting in his last five games.
The Warriors have giving up an average of 109.7 points in their last 14 games, while the Kings have averaged 110.9 in their last 12 games, and have hit 10 three pointers in six of the last seven games. The Kings will need to take care of the ball, and play tight defense. The Warriors aare a quick team, but have not been known for their defense. The Kings will need to force turnovers, and get into the open court.