Sacramento Kings at Miami Heat game 48 preview: WCS vs Whiteside

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 31: Willie Cauley-Stein
SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 31: Willie Cauley-Stein /

The Sacramento Kings travel to face the Miami Heat on Jan. 25.  This article previews the matchup between Willie Cauley-Stein and Hassan Whiteside.

The Sacramento Kings race past the halfway point of their six-game road trip as they face the Miami Heat tonight.  The two teams play just twice this season.  The Heat are coming to Sacramento in mid-March to conclude the series.

Last time out, the Kings broke their eight-game in Orlando against the Magic.  Garrett Temple was on fire and literally could not miss.  He led Sacramento with 34 points in route to a 105-99 Kings victory on Tuesday.  Below is a highlight video of that game.

Today, we examine the best matchup of tonight’s game and some final thoughts about the Jan. 25 contest between the Kings and Heat.

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WCS vs. Whiteside

Most outside observers would consider Hassan Whiteside the Heat’s star player.  He is a seven-foot-tall monster that can control the paint and produce top-shelf double-doubles.  A strange correlation is developing for the team, though.  Any time Whiteside has played more than 33 minutes, Miami have lost the game.  Going deeper, the Heat are two and two in contests he has played 30 or more minutes.  They have lost just two of their last ten games that Whiteside has played under that 30-minute threshold.  Are the Heat better with Whiteside playing limited minutes?  It is hard to believe, but the recent numbers are skewing in that direction.

Whiteside provides a problematic matchup for Willie Cauley-Stein this evening.  Cauley-Stein is playing over 30 minutes per game in January and rewarding the Kings handsomely.  He is averaging 15.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 1.8 turnovers per game in those 11 games.  The former Kentucky big man could be taking another step forward, and Whiteside’s defensive abilities and massive body will provide a stiff test tonight.  If WCS dominates this matchup, the Kings should be in the driver’s seat for a victory.

Final thoughts

Sacramento makes their lone visit to South Florida to battle the Miami Heat on Jan. 25.  Things to monitor before tipoff include checking the status of De’Aaron Fox, looking for clues to which veterans are resting, and keeping an eye on possible trades.  The Kings have plenty of veteran talent that could be expandable as we approach the Feb. 8 trade deadline.  Please tune in and enjoy the game.

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