Sacramento Faces Big Task In OKC: Game Preview


January 25, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Eric Maynor (6) dribbles the ball next to Sacramento Kings guard Jimmer Fredette (7) in the fourth quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Thunder defeated the Kings 105-95. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings face the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight, and will need to bring a completely different game if they have any chance of making this a close game.

The Kings failed to come out and set any sort of tone in last nights game against Houston. They face a fare better team in the Thunder who is perhaps the best team in the NBA. The Thunder are quite possibly the only team in the league that stands a chance of beating the Miami Heat in a seven game series. The Kings will need a game that either matches up with or exceeds the performance in Miami earlier this season.

The Kings need to pass as a team, and commit themselves to playing within a system of passing the ball to find the best opportunity to score. Individuals must remember that their performances have far less meaning in a losing effort.

The Kings have shown they are capable of playing with the Thunder on several occasions throughout the last few seasons, and will need a big game inside from Cousins tonight. The Kings are waiting to see if Cousins will or will not be suspended for tonight’s game after getting his 16th technical this season last night in Houston. Much of his teams Cousins is only averaging 12 points on 32 percent shooting. Cousins has also has simply not been finding his teammates as much as he was in the earlier parts of the season, and has watched his 3.1 assists per game drop to 2.7. The solution is simple, pass the ball to your cutters, and find the flow of the game. Cousins is averaging a team high 16.9 points, and really needs to find a way to finish this season on a good note.

Cousins isn’t the only one the Kings need to step up tonight. Tyreke Evans has still yet to find a way to play consistently in the last 15 games of this season, and will need to have a big game both scoring and distributing the ball.

Isaiah Thomas is struggling to find his way as a point guard on a team that is streaky at best when it comes to distributing the ball. Evans can help Thomas initiate the offense as well as moving the ball rather than taking bad forced shots. Both players could be key players on a team with several players who have shown they can pass the ball and initiate the offense.

John Salmons seemed to establish himself as a very good role player early in the season; however in Salmons has not had nearly as must success finding his teammates and has seen his shooting percentage drop off. Salmons is a veteran player who needs to find ways to help his team be it finding the open man or making the open three, or even at times taking it to the rack.

The Kings have shown they can play with any team in the league, but have also had a tendency to come out slow in the opening quarters of games. What team will we see tonight?