Coming off a 27-55 campaign last season, the Sacramento Kings looks to start the new year off with a win at home versus the Utah Jazz.
The Sacramento Kings are set to open the 2018-19 season at home versus the Utah Jazz in what figures to be a lopsided affair. The Kings are on a one-game losing streak on opening night games, falling to the Houston Rockets in last seasons opening game.
The Kings are on a four-game losing streak against the Jazz since the start of last season, with their latest defeat coming in the preseason as Sacramento fell 132-93.
It was just one game, but it doesn’t isntill much confidence in the Sacramento Kings chances of winning tonight, regardless, there will be plenty of storylines in this one for fans.
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What to watch for
First and foremost it’ll be important to see if Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox can right the ship. In their preseason matchup, Hield and Fox went a combined 4/23 from the field for a combined 11 points. It was a low point of the preseason for both of them, but it was preseason after all.
If Hield and Fox can both come out and play well, it’d be a good sign for the rest of the Kings season, not to mention go a long way towards giving Sacramento an upset win over Utah.
Also during the game, Marvin Bagley III and Harry Giles both performed at a high-level in the loss. Bagley went 7/17 for 17 points and 8 rebounds, with Giles going for 12 points, three rebounds and two assists on 4/7 shooting.
Bagley and Giles are both heading into their rookie seasons, so a strong performance against one of the leagues best defensive teams could be big for their confidence heading into the rest of the season.
It’ll also be interesting to see how Head Coach Dave Joerger handles the rotation in the season opener. Most of the starting lineup is pretty set in stone, with Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley likely to start. The fifth starter could be any of Frank Mason III, Yogi Ferrell or Justin Jackson.
Skal Labissiere, Iman Shumpert, Ben McLemore and Zach Randolph all figure to be out of the rotation to start the season as well, but Joerger loves his vets so whether all of them are truly out of the rotation is still an unknown.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. with the Jazz heavy favorites in this one (duh), however, if Sacramento is able to come out and play fast they could get the jump on the Jazz, which is going to be their best chance at winning. It’ll likely be a closer game than before, but that doesn’t mean the Sacramento Kings have a good chance at winning.
Regardless, the Kings have proven they can upset top teams before, beating the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers on the road last season. A quick start is imperative for a chance at the upset here. If this team is going to have any shot at winning over 30 games, they can’t afford early misses and turnovers that force them to play from behind all game.
If they can get it going early, they’ll have a shot. If they can’t? It’ll be a long night.
Final Score: Utah Jazz 117 – Sacramento Kings 102