Game #3: at Indiana Pacers (12/8)
This game looks to be the most difficult of the road trip. This will be a rematch of Saturday’s contest that included 11 ties and 25 lead changes. Victor Oladipo, Indiana’s All-Star, missed the first game and his status is unknown for the second matchup.
The Pacers will need Oladipo’s presence to fight off a feisty Kings team that knows how to beat them. Indiana relied on Bojan Bogdanovic, the NBA’s leader in three-point percentage, to carry the bulk of the scoring duties. He scored 27 points and was inches from scoring the game-winning basket as time expired.
If Oladipo and Bogdanovic are both healthy for the rematch, the Kings are going to have a hard time finding defensive answers on the perimeter.
Another factor in this game, and the previous two, for that matter, will be the health of Marvin Bagley III. The second overall pick sat a game out for the first time in his young career with back spasms and is considered day-to-day. His absence was apparent. The Kings’ big men struggled to rebound and catch passes cleanly, which amounted to missed opportunities and turnovers.
Bagley may still be a raw work-in-progress, but his freakish athleticism and reliable hands would have helped the Kings tremendously down the stretch in the fourth quarter. His availability will be worth monitoring throughout the road trip.