Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles CA
When: Saturday April 7th, 2012 7:30 PM
Sacramento: Los Angeles:
PG: Isaiah Thomas PG: Chris Paul
SG: Tyreke Evans SG: Randy Foye
SF: Francisco Garcia SF: Caron Butler
PF: Jason Thompson PF: Blake Griffin
C: Demarcus Cousins C: DeAndre Jordan
Sacramento: Los Angeles:
SF John Salmons (HIP)-OUT SG Mo Williams (TOE)-PROBABLE
SG Marcus Thornton (CALF)-OUT PG CHAUNCEY BILLUPS (KNEE)-OUT
PF Chuck Hayes (FOOD POISONING)- OUT
-A rematch of a game that just took place 2 nights ago, but one that every fan has been desperately waiting for. If you watched Thursdays game, you saw Demarcus Cousins and Blake Griffin going back and forth, while Cousins drew the foul calls, Griffin kept toying and testing Cousins with quick shots. Cousins lost his composure and spent much of the game on the bench with early fouls. Cousins was caught after the game and had this to say.
“He’s babied, He’s the poster child of the league. He sells tickets, but he’s babied. Bottom line.”
Babied by whom, Cousins was asked.
“The refs, the league — period,” he continued. “He gets away with [everything]. He taunts players. Nothing is done. He’s babied.”
The comments left the media and NBA fans across the country buzzing, leaving to debates of if Griffin is truly an actor, and if the NBA gives him the “star” treatment. The issue will certainly carry over into tonights’ game and you can bet Cousins will want to go 100% and prove he is the better big man. Another issue came up at the end of the game, with the game in hand, PF Kenyon Martin (already not known for his gamesmanship) shot a 3 at the buzzer and made it. Seen by some as rubbing it in, the Kings will be ready and motivated to take the court just down the Interstate in L.A. It is going to be another tough road battle for the Kings, but the motivation and desire shouldn’t be lacking tonight.
Keys to the Game:
1.) Keep Cousins out of foul trouble
-On Thursday night, the Kings got physical with Blake Griffin but it came at the cost of being without Demarcus Cousins for a majority of the game, and while officiating can’t be controlled, playing smarter basketball can help cut down on the fouls. There is no question that 1 on 1 Cousins can dominate the Clippers front court, and create his own opportunities. The key for the Kings tonight will be just to keep Cousins on the court, and keep his emotions in check, let the Clippers get the fouls, just play smart basketball.
2.) 2nd Unit steps up
One of the problems the Kings have faced over the past week has nothing to do with their starters, but the lack of productivity from the bench. Early in games when the starters need rest and the game is close, the backups come in, struggle to execute and by the next Keith Smart TO, the Kings are down 10, and never can quite recover The lack of productivity could have to do with SF John Salmons being out, and a combination of Garcia/Greene/Williams being thrown into the Starting 5 with Marcus Thornton missing the past few games. If the Kings want to keep this game close, it will come down to play off the bench. Guys like Hassan Whiteside, Terrence Williams and Jimmer Fredette have to step up as a unit, in order for the Kings to win this game.
3.) Remember Friday Night
-Don’t expect the Kings to come out flat tonight against the Clippers. After what happened just two nights ago against the Clippers, the Kings have to take what happened in that game, and at the end of that game, and use it against the Clippers. When Kenyon Martin enters the game, remember that 3 at the buzzer when the game was in hand, and remember how he played during the game. When Blake takes the court remember all those highlight dunks he has had, and the way he has tried to embarrass everyone else in the league. Remember in a game like this, the refs won’t be on your side. You have to take this game in your hands, dominate your opponent, and leave everything out on the floor. If the Kings give it their all and play full throttle all 4 quarters, they will walk away with the W.
Prediction: Kings 101 Clippers 97
Team MVP: Demarcus Cousins (22 Points, 16 Rebounds, 1 Assists, 1 Steals, 3 Blocks)