Game Preview: Brooklyn Nets (1-7) at Sacramento Kings (2-7)


With the 1-7 Brooklyn Nets coming into Sleep Train Arena tonight, the Sacramento Kings (2-7) need to be salivating at the chance to get a win. The Nets have struggled just a little bit more than the Kings this year, and at least on paper the Kings are positionally a better team.

This game being the third stop in a long road trip for the Nets, the Kings will need to capitalize. Friday the 13th is going to be unlucky for one of these teams tonight.

With locker room drama aside, the Kings need to come out aggressive and make sure they command the court tonight. If the Kings are still thinking of some sort of 8th seed playoff berth or are just trying to get to .500, they need to have a killer instinct like Jason Voorhees and win games like these.

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The Nets are arriving in Sacramento after a surprising win against the underachieving Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. Brooklyn’s best player Brook Lopez had a solid defensive game and is  averaging 19.6 points and 8.3 rebounds for the season.

But opponent’s big men have had trouble going up against DeMarcus Cousins, who they have struggled to handle in the paint. The Nets also have poor perimeter shooting, as they are shooting just 26.8 percent. DeMarcus and Willie Cauley-Stein will need to defend the rim while Kings’ shooters need to hit from three-point-land.

Omri Casspi has become a potent shooter after a slow start to the season with a 52.9 shooting percentage and 57.1 percent from 3-point-range. And now with DeMarcus hitting 4 three pointers against the Pistons recently, he is looking like a more viable threat out there as well.

If the Kings can control the paint and defend the perimeter for all four quarters, they will be able to handle their east coast opponent. Boogie and the Kings were able to contain and defend Detroit’s Andre Drummond on Wednesday night, and they should be able to do the same for the Nets.

Rajon Rondo’s stamina could be an issue considering he has played every minute of the last two games since Darren Collison and Seth Curry have both been out with injuries.

There is a chance that the Sacramento crowd could see some minutes from Curry (who is questionable to play tonight), which would let Rondo rest (even though he just recorded his second triple double of the season, why stop him now?). If Seth can’t play, we might see some interesting line-ups from Coach George Karl, because playing Rondo extended minutes just cannot last.

The talk in Sacramento is still about Boogie’s outburst after a loss to the Spurs and a team meeting where complaints and concerns were aired out. Cousins who exploded at Coach Karl had to issue an apology afterwards.

"Sac Bee“The best thing that came out of the meeting? This win,” Cousins said. “But I’ll take the hit. If it results from this every night, I’ll take the hit and I’ll be the scapegoat.”"

Even with Boogie’s outbursts and sometimes bad attitude on the court, he is obviously trying to be a leader of this Kings team, even if it’s with small gestures towards his teammates like this on twitter.

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It has been a tough beginning of the season for the Kings, and it’s a season the NBA national media predicts is a powder keg that will explode in spectacular fashion.

But wins change everything, and if the Kings want to have a successful year, they need to win home games against teams like the Nets. Even if there are some kinks to still work out.

Also noteworthy for tonight’s game:

Former Kings first round draft pick Thomas Robinson has gotten some playing time with the Nets lately with some decent defensive stops.

Next: Is George Karl On The Hot Seat?

The Kings will also be in their baby blue uniforms tonight for all “Flashback Friday” home games.