Game Preview: Golden State Warriors (6-0) at Sacramento Kings (1-5)

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With the Sacramento Kings starting the season against a bevy of playoff contending squads, it hasn’t gone well for the team in purple and white (powder blue and red on some occasions) so far. The Kings now are 1-5, and the rigorous part of their season isn’t over just yet, as they have the second part of their back-to-back games against the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

It may be a long shot, but hey, the Kings against a division rival looking for redemption, they may be able to sqeuk away by giving the Warriors their first loss of the season. In order to do that, they must follow these three keys to the game.

Vintage Rondo: For the Kings’ offense to be at its highest efficiency tonight, Rajon Rondo must start the game fast and finish it strong. In games where the Kings have been competitive, Rondo has done a good job in making plays for his teammates and himself to score.

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Rondo will also have to have a good game defensively as well. Reigning MVP Stephen Curry seems to have taken his game to even higher levels compared to last season, and Rondo (plus the other guards) must find a way to at least contain what I think is the best shooter ever in the NBA.

Stingy Defense: Compared to the entire league, the Warrior are ranked at the very top in points per game (117.8). For the Kings to at least have a chance to be competitive, their team defense must step up compared to how it has been in previous games.

This means the transition defense must pick up, players having to close in on shots better, and defending the paint well. In the last couple of games, the Kings’ defense has been lethargic, and that type of effort won’t fly against a bona fide offense that the Warriors have.

Shooting From Two Guards: The supposed “sharpshooters” in Ben McLemore and Marco Belinelli have started the season off sluggish shooting from the perimeter. One of the reasons why the offense hasn’t clicked well the last couple of the games is because these two have been unreliable in making their shots from beyond the arc.

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I still believe that McLemore (3P% at .308) and Belinelli (3P% at .300) will find their stroke eventually this season, and hopefully that is the case tonight. If the two guards for the Kings can be reliable throughout tonight making their jump shots, it will help the offense immensely.

Final Thoughts: Although I would love to see the Kings hand the Warriors their first loss of the year, I just can’t foresee them beating the Warriors tonight. It seems like the Kings are at a low right now (especially with no DeMarcus Cousins playing tonight), while the Warriors are still chilling on cloud nine.

Next: Recap: Kings Fall To Rockets

There are no indications that I see from the Kings that make me think they could even achieve one of the three keys that I listed above, therefore the Warriors win this game, and the unfortunately the Kings will fall to 1-6 to start what has been a rough season so far.