Sacramento Kings game previews between December 5 and December 11, including games against: Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Utah Jazz.
Well, this was certainly an interesting week of Kings basketball. Sacramento dropped some winnable games and fans will have to wait for the Boogie-Embiid battle as the game against Philadelphia was postponed due to a snafu at Wells Fargo with the temperature and a slick court. Hopefully, this week will go a little smoother for the Kings and the courts they play on are free of water.
Wednesday, 7 December 2016 at 08:30 PM ET Away
Mark Cuban said that the Mavericks are not looking to tank, but their 4-15 record would beg to differ. They are near or at the bottom of the league in most statistical categories, and have just been rough to watch this year. The bright spot for the Mavs is Harrison Barnes performing well individually after a rather worrisome performance in the preseason after they gave him a massive contract. He leads the team with 20.4 points per game, and is third with 5.7 rebounds per game. He’s probably going to be the player to watch as he matches up with Rudy Gay.
The other player to watch, if just for the purpose of storyline, is going to be former King Seth Curry. He left the team after Sacramento rescinded their qualifying offer, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent. He ultimately signed a two-year, $6 million dollar contracts with the Mavs and has played so-so. He flirted with a starting spot due to injuries, but comes off the bench and has had himself some good outings mixed in with some quiet ones. He has been out with a knee injury but should he play against Sacramento, it’ll be interesting to see if he doesn’t play with a little extra something against the Kings. In general, the Mavs are so mired by injuries and poor play that this should be an easily winnable game for the Kings. Hopefully.
New York Knicks
Friday, 9 December 2016 at 10:30 PM ET Home
The Kings turn around and get their shot at retribution against the Knicks at home this week after playing them on Sunday in NYC. Ironically, they couldn’t get a shot to fall at all in their first matchup as the Kings shot a woeful 32.3% from the field. They shot themselves into a deep hole, losing by as much as 21 in the first half and it looked like they were done for. Then the third quarter came, and the Kings went on 19-2 run to cut the lead down and kept the game competitive. It was actually really impressive to see that sort of resilience from them.
The second time around, they have a legitimate chance to beat the Knicks. DeMarcus Cousins had a great game putting up 37 points and 12 rebounds, Gay had a double-double of his own, and Darren Collison contributed 13 points. What did them in on Sunday was honestly some unlucky shooting, as some open shots would just clang around the rim. If they get some better scoring all around and fight a little harder on the boards this time, they might be able to walk away splitting the season series with Knicks.
Saturday, 10 December 2016 at 09:00 PM ET Away
Sacramento has to turn things around quickly after the game against the Knicks at home to travel to Utah for a back-to-back against the Jazz. The Jazz have been playing well, and are looking to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12 season. They came close last year, just outside the 8th seed spot. There is potential for some pretty solid individual matchups in the game with Gordon Hayward leading the team at 22.8 points per game and Rudy Gobert averaging a double-double with 10.6 points and 11 rebounds per game. Seeing Gay and Hayward go at it while Cousins battles it out with Gobert will likely be a treat for fans.
As a team, Sacramento will have to really be sharp with their perimeter defense as the Jazz are a pretty solid three-point shooting team. The challenge for the Kings will be in sealing off the perimeter and really limiting the Jazz’s scoring from outside; force them to try and take it inside the paint. At that point the Jazz could really struggle, as they are one of the worst scoring teams in the paint. If they can force the Jazz into the sort of situation where they can’t kick it out to score, it would really go a long way to securing a win on the tail end of a back-to-back.