The Sacramento Kings (1-1) played well against the Los Angeles Clippers (2-1) on Friday night, but late errors cost the team a chance at a victory over a title contender. Now the Kings head to Golden State (1-1), to face a Warriors team with sky-high expectations. The Kings/Warriors games have been nailbiters for years, but the Kings will need much more consistent offensive play all-around then they’ve been getting in their first two games if they hope to win.
Golden State Warriors:
|C: DeMarcus Cousins, 6’11, Kentucky |
27.5 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 2 BPG, 48.9% FG
|C: Andrew Bogut, 7’0, Utah |
9.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 77.8% FG
|PF: Patrick Patterson, 6’9, Kentucky |
4.5 PPG, 4.5 TPG, 2 SPG, 28.7% FG
|PF: David Lee, 6’9, Florida |
23 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 57.1% FG
|SF: John Salmons, 6’6, Miami (FL) |
5.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2 SPG, 25.0% FG
|SF: Andre Iguodala, 6’6, Arizona |
10.5 PPG, 7.5 APG, 4 RPG, 2 SPG, 53.3% FG
|SG: Marcus Thornton, 6’4, LSU |
10.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 38.9% FG
|SG: Klay Thompson, 6’7, Washington St. |
24 PPG, 2 RPG, 69.2% FG, 66.7% 3P
|PG: Greivis Vasquez, 6’6, Maryland |
12.5 PPG, 4.0 APG, 57.1% FG
|PG: Stephen Curry, 6’3, Davidson |
24 PPG, 7.5 APG, 54.5% FG, 57.9% 3P
Key Bench Players:
|G: Isaiah Thomas, 5’11, Washington |
30 MPG, 22.5 PPG, 4.5 APG, 63.6% FG
|G: Toney Douglas, 6’2, Florida St. |
17.0 MPG, 6.5 PPG, 2 APG, 50% FG
|G: Ben McLemore, 6’5, Kansas |
15 MPG, 3 PPG, 22.2% FG
|F: Marreese Speights, 6’10, Florida |
15.5 MPG, 6.5 PPG, 5RPG, 26.7% FG
|C: Jason Thompson, 6’11, Rider |
23 MPG, 6.5 PPG, 5 RPG, 2.5 BPG, 38.5% FG
|C: Jermaine O’Neal, 7’0, Eau Claire HS |
18 MPG, 5.5 PPG, 2 RPG, 27.3% FG
Last Three Contests:
March 27th, 2013 – Kings @ Warriors – Kings 105, Warriors 98
March 8th, 2013 – Kings @ Warriors – Warriors 87, Kings 83
December 19th, 2012 – Warriors @ Kings – Kings 131, Warriors 127
Key Matchup: DeMarcus Cousins vs. Andrew Bogut
In case you didn’t know from watching the preseason, these two above-average big men don’t like each other much. Bogut mostly locked down Cousins in both of the preseason matchups, producing the two works games from Big Cuz. Cousins always seems to struggle against guys who are nearly his size and strength.
This matchup will be different for Cousins then going against JaVale McGee (Nuggets) or DeAndre Jordan (Clippers). Now, Cousins won’t be facing a crazy athlete, but a solid, exceptionally strong low-grounded big who will hamper his ability to bang in the low-post. This will be an excellent test of Cousins’ new found post game. Defensively, Cousins will be facing an excellent low-post scorer, and he’ll need to keep his emotions in check.
Three Things to Watch:
1. Smart Play: When the Kings played smart basketball in Friday’s loss, they kept up with the faster Clippers. When they started playing “old Kings” basketball—forcing bad shots, making terrible turnovers, ect.—the Clippers surged ahead.
Mike Malone won’t be able to make these players into basketball geniuses overnight, but the Kings as a team still don’t have the basketball IQ needed to compensate against smarter teams. Golden State is no exception.
2. Lights Out: Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are the best shooting combo in many a years, and the Kings defenders will need to stick to them as closely as possible. Curry can light anyone up for 40 points, but he isn’t the only scoring threat on this team anymore, especially when Klay Thompson spreads the floor nearly as much.
On the other end of the ball, though, the Kings can still take advantage. The defensive abilities of Curry/Thompson aren’t among the league’s best, and Isaiah Thomas always has a good game against Curry. Still, now that defensive wizard Andre Iguodala has arrived, it won’t quiet as easy as it used to be.
3. Consistent Offense: Through two games, only two Kings (Cousins and Thomas) have played well in both games. Greivis Vaquez played well in game one but was quiet in game two, and Marcus Thornton was the reverse.
Guys like John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and the rookie Ben McLemore have been getting plenty of looks, but none of the three are knocking them down. Against a firepower like Golden State – top to bottom lined up with scorers – the Kings need someone besides Cousins and Thomas to provide consistence buckets.
Prediction: Warriors 107, Kings 101