Sacramento Kings face a familiar foe tonight in Utah


Despite DeMarcus Cousins’ absence last night, the Omri Casspi-led Sacramento Kings defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-111.

Cousins missed the game with a ‘sore right foot’ and the team is already saying that he is unlikely to play tonight in Utah.

Rudy Gay did return, and it certainly looked like he fully recovered from the concussion he suffered about a week ago. Gay had 33 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists on 9-17 shooting. It wasn’t perfect, but it was the lift Sacramento needed with Cousins out of the lineup.

This was the Omri Casspi game, though. Gay’s ‘welcome back’ performance was nice, Derrick Williams gave the Kings an 18-point lift off the bench, but Casspi carved up the Timberwolves all night. He scored a career-high 31 points that included four three-pointers, plenty of transition baskets from leaking out, and multiple instances of beating the Minnesota defenders off the dribble. He gave them a little bit of everything.

I was already in favor of bringing Casspi back next season, but he’s certainly giving some of the doubters something to think about as the season winds down. He’s been fantastic since George Karl inserted him into the starting lineup.

I suppose it’s worth mentioning that Sim Bhullar made his season debut with about 16 seconds left in the game. Sure, why not?

Here is George Karl after the win –

The Kings are in Utah today to face the Jazz on the second night of a back-to-back. The Jazz defeated the Kings 101-95 on Sunday in Sacramento, but the Kings can avenge that loss with a win in Utah tonight.

Rodney Hood torched the Kings in Sunday’s loss. The Jazz rookie scored a career high 25 points in 33 minutes. Outside of Hood, the Kings did a pretty good job of keeping Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, and Gordon Hayward in check.

The Kings got a monster 26 points, 12 rebound performance out of Cousins the last time these two teams played, but we’ve already been informed that Cousins is unlikely to play tonight. That’s an issue.

The Jazz are now an impressive 16-8 since the All-Star break. They have been one of the better Western Conference teams in the second half of the season. They haven’t played since Sunday, and the undermanned Kings are heading into Utah tonight for their second game in as many days.

All signs point towards a Jazz win, but I do think this Kings team is motivated to finish this season with a better record than last year, and with only 5 games left, every game counts.

As always, check back in to A Royal Pain after tonights game for our postgame coverage.

Sacramento Kings at Utah Jazz

Where: EnergySolutions Arena – Salt Lake City, UT

When: 6:00 PM, 9:00 PM EST

Broadcast: Comcast Sportsnet California

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

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