Game Preview: Kings (11-14) vs. Bucks (13-13)


The (severely undermanned) Milwaukee Bucks are in Sacramento tonight to face the Tyrone Corbin coached Kings. It’s the second game of a back-to-back set for the Bucks, the Kings are rested, and DeMarcus Cousins should be back in the lineup. You can’t take any NBA team lightly, particularly this scrappy Bucks squad, but this is another December home game the Sacramento Kings should win.

So, how did Tyrone Corbin do in his Kings coaching debut?

I suppose that comes down to what your expectations were. The team looked largely similar to how it did under Michael Malone, which is completely understandable considering Corbin only had one practice under his belt. With that being said, the Kings only scored 8 fast break points Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Kings usually average about 13 fast break points per game. If nothing else, I would have expected that number to go up with how much Pete D’Alessandro and Tyrone Corbin referenced a faster pace they wanted the Kings to play with. It’s early.

The one noticeable change Corbin made was in his use of the bench unit. Every single bench player Corbin used on Tuesday saw more minutes than their season average. Of course, the bench played well against Oklahoma City, so did he play them more minutes because they were effective, or were they effective because he played them more minutes? I don’t have that answer, but I found it interesting.

Oh, in case you missed it, this happened.

For more on Tuesday night’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, you can find our coverage





I am curious to see what kind of rotation Corbin will use now that DeMarcus Cousins is back. We don’t have official word on Cousins status yet, but I think he’s going to play limited minutes, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Corbin use Cousins off the bench for now.

The Bucks are a weird team. They have a lot of long, versatile players that can cause nightmarish matchups on a nightly basis. The Kings are going to catch a bit of a break tonight, because not only is this the Bucks second game of a back-to-back, but they also just lost Jabari Parker for the season with a torn ACL, and Giannis Antetokounmpo sprained his ankle last night in Portland. All of this makes me sad. The Bucks have been a fun early-season story, and I’d hate to see that fall apart because of injuries. The Kings need a win, though. They’ll take it.

The Kings biggest advantage will be in the paint where the Bucks are noticeably thin at the moment. Portland was able to dominate the Bucks on the glass last night with LaMarcus Aldridge and Thomas Robinson (yes, that Thomas Robinson). The Sacramento Kings are one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA, and Milwaukee had questionable rebounding before injuries wiped out a lot of their interior players.

The Bucks also happen to be one of the few teams in the NBA that actually turn the ball over more than the Kings. We don’t see a team that values the ball less than Sacramento often. I should also mention that the Bucks commit a lot of fouls, and the Kings still sit at the top of the league in free throws attempted. With the Kings interior size, rebounding, ability to draw fouls, and a potentially even turnover rate, the Kings have a few areas where they can really hurt the Bucks tonight.

All signs point towards tonight being Tyrone Corbin’s first win as the Kings head coach. Vivek Ranadive was clear on Tuesday when he talked about the decision to let Malone go; he expects this Kings team to make the playoffs. That is Ranadive’s expectation. If the Kings are going to even come close to that, they need to win games like tonight. They need to.

Check back in to A Royal Pain after the game for our postgame coverage.