For the second time this season, the Sacramento Kings embark on a back-to-back home games set. They host the Golden State Warriors, who the Kings meet for third third time this year.
Kings Probable Starters (14-27)
|Isaiah Thomas||Marcus Thornton||Tyreke Evans||Jason Thompson||DeMarcus Cousins|
J.J. Hickson has missed the last six games with a hip pointer. No word on whether he’ll play tonight. The Kings won their last meeting with the Warriors, a 114-106 overtime victory at Power Balance Pavilion.
Warriors Probable Starters (17-21)
|Stephen Curry||Monta Ellis||Dorrell Wright||David Lee||Ekpe Udoh|
Stephen Curry remains day-to-day after re-aggravating his problematic right ankle. The Warriors point guard rolled his foot in Saturday night’s rout of the Dallas Mavericks. He started, but played only nine minutes in Golden State’s win Sunday over the Los Angeles Clippers.
You may be familiar with ESPN.com’s 5-on-5 roundtables, which feature opinion and analysis from ESPN writers and TrueHoop Network contributors on pressing NBA topics. Along with other THN blogs, Cowbell Kingdom has brought that format to the local level in the form of our own 3-on-3 roundtable.
1. Match-up to watch?
James Ham I’m excited to watch Monta Ellis and Marcus Thornton go toe-to-toe in a battle of the high scoring two guards. Ellis is the better all-around player, but when Thornton heats up, he is almost unstoppable. I expect these two to really go at each other tonight.
James Herbert: DeMarcus Cousins vs. Ekpe Udoh. This has nothing to do with the fact they were drafted one after the other. I love watching DMC on offense about as much as I love watching Udoh on defense. Can Udoh force Cousins into tough shots? Can Cousins draw fouls on Udoh so David Lee has to play center? It’ll be interesting.
Jonathan Santiago: Tyreke Evans vs. Monta Ellis. This is another intriguing defensive match-up for the Kings’ third-year guard. I think Evans will be motivated to slow Ellis down, knowing the Warriors guard just earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors.
2. Stat that decides the game…
James Ham I think it always comes down to three-point shooting when you play the W’s. If Dorrell Wright and Klay Thompson are on, the Warriors become infinitely harder to deal with. If the the Kings stay with these two and limit their chances, they should be able to notch their third victory in four games.
James Herbert: Turnovers — the Warriors were able to beat the Mavs and Clippers despite turning it over 16 and 17 times. Four different Kings starters had 3+ turnovers in the loss against Atlanta. These two teams are usually pretty good at avoiding TO’s, so I expect at least one of them to hang on to the ball tonight.
Jonathan Santiago: Bench points. The Warriors’ bench, in particular Klay Thompson and Nate Robinson, carried the Warriors in their last match-up against the Kings. The Kings’ bench is coming into its own, with John Salmons and Jimmer Fredette both contributing solid offensive numbers off the pine.
3. Brighter long-term prospects with his respective team: Stephen Curry or Tyreke Evans?
James Ham This is tough. Both of these guys could be playing in a different area codes come Thursday’s trade deadline. I don’t think they will be, but there is always that chance. If they both stick with their respective teams, I think Evans is still the better long-term prospect. Both players have a history of injury issues, but Evans appears to have put last seasons plantar fasciitis behind him.
James Herbert: This is tricky, but I’ll go with Evans. No idea what Warriors management is thinking right now and Curry’s ankle scares the living hell out of me. I think a healthy Curry is an easier player to build around, however.
Jonathan Santiago: I don’t see either player being dealt before or by Thursday’s trade deadline. But their futures with their respective franchises hinge upon two things. For Curry: can he prove he’s not as injury prone as his track record suggests? And for Evans: can he become an effective off-ball scorer with a decent jump shot?