Despite the fact that the Sacramento Kings were without DeMarcus Cousins and Darren Collison, the team actually put out a solid performance in their 105-116 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
Here’s George Karl after the game –
The two things I’d like to highlight from that game is the steadiness of
, and the (somewhat) emergence of
I’m trying to wrap my head around what kind of asset Andre Miller will be next season. I’m assuming the Kings want to keep him around. I’m assuming he’d be open to staying here. He’s been fantastic as a bench guard for this team during the second half of the season, but when Collison gets healthy, where does that leave Ray McCallum? And if the Kings try to pursue Ty Lawson this summer, I don’t know where that will leave anyone. It’ll be interesting to see how the Kings handle their guards in the offseason.
Nik Stauskas is doing things. He’s averaging over 20 minutes per game over the Kings’ last three games, and he’s played more minutes in the Kings last two games than Ben McLemore. That’s something to keep an eye on.
And Stauskas hasn’t been that good, but he’s contributing, and that is more than you could say about his play earlier in the season. He’s still struggling as a defender, but his offense is coming around, and we’re starting to see what he can do as a playmaker. That playmaking ability is the one thing that really separates his skill set from McLemore. We’ll see how that minute distribution plays out over the next fifteen games, but it’s nice to see something positive out of the rookie.
That should bring us up to speed. The Kings host the potentially playoff-bound Charlotte Hornets tonight at Sleep Train Arena.
The Hornets were the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference when Kings defeated them back on March 11th in Charlotte. Since that loss, they’ve fallen one game out the playoffs. Needless to say, they need this win more than the Kings. We should see an inspired Hornets team tonight.
The Kings had both Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins in the lineup when they beat the Hornets on the 11th. Tonight, Cousins is listed as questionable, Gay and McLemore are listed as probable, and of course, Collison is out.
Cousins’ importance to this team is obvious, but he’s particularly important against a player like Al Jefferson. Cousins held Jefferson to 9 points in their last meeting, and burned him for 20 points and 14 rebounds on the other end. Without that production coupled with the fact that this is nearly a must-win game for Charlotte, a win tonight will be tough without Boogie in the lineup.
Especially when McLemore’s production is sliding the way that it has over the past couple of games. He was recently added to the injury report with a wrist injury, and I’m sure that is effecting his shooting. The Kings just aren’t healthy right now, but as they proved a couple of weeks ago, this is a beatable Hornets team. We’ll see.
As always, check back in to A Royal Pain after tonight’s game for our postgame coverage.
Sacramento Kings vs. Charlotte Hornets
Where: Sleep Train Arena – Sacramento, CA
When: 7:00 PM, 10:00 PM EST
Broadcast: Comcast Sportsnet California
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
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