Losing streak snapped, the Sacramento Kings return to Power Balance Pavilion to complete the back-end of a back-to-back. The New Jersey Nets visit Sacramento for their one and only meeting this season against the Kings.
Kings Probable Starters (18-33)
|Isaiah Thomas||Marcus Thornton||Tyreke Evans||Jason Thompson||DeMarcus Cousins|
The team announced today that they’ve signed swingman Terrence Williams for the remainder of the season. Williams was originally signed to a 10-day contract last week after the Houston Rockets waived him. Teammate DeMarcus Cousins has been on a tear, posting double-doubles in the Kings’ previous five games.
Nets Probable Starters (18-35)
|Deron Williams||MarShon Brooks||Gerald Wallace||Kris Humphries||Johan Petro|
Like the Kings, the Nets play their second game in as many nights. They outscored the Golden State Warriors 45-24 in the final 16 minutes of a 102-100 win at Oracle Arena last night. Deron Williams finished with a season-high 20 assists in the victory.
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?
Justin DeFeo: I’m especially interested in DeMarcus Cousins and whoever the Nets plan on guarding him with. Kris Humphries will get the bulk of the time I’m sure, but he’s slightly undersized. Plus, Boogie has been playing some of the best ball of his career and has been close to dominant of late.
Devin Kharpertian: DeMarcus Cousins versus his desire to ruin himself. The Nets are depleted beyond depleted at the bigs — starter Brook Lopez likely won’t see the court again this season, backup starter Shelden Williams has a serious eye injury, and other backup Jordan Williams is recovering from a mild concussion. Johan Petro started last night. Cousins should have a field day.
Jonathan Santiago: MarShon Brooks vs. Marcus Thornton. Both players are adept at scoring in isolation situations, but Brooks is probably better than Thornton at creating space off the dribble.
2. Stat that decides the game…
Justin DeFeo: Rebounding. The Nets front-line is thin, so as a result they’ve been forced to play small or rely on the likes of Johan Petro. If the Nets can at least not get decimated on the boards, I believe they’ll have a chance to win.
Devin Kharpertian: Assists. The Nets give up more assists than any team in the league, and have a particular penchant for allowing shots at the rim. Outside of Deron Williams, the Nets don’t have any talented passers, but if they similarly can take advantage of isolationary defense with solid ball movement, they can count on a victory.
Jonathan Santiago: Opponent’s free throw shooting. The Jazz outshot the Kings at the free throw line 52 to 32 last night. The Kings are just 4-16 when they attempt fewer free than their opponent.
3. Can Terrence Williams turn his career around with the Kings?
Justin DeFeo: I’m certainly rooting for him, but I’m skeptical about his NBA future. I don’t think he does any one thing at an elite level and during his time with the Nets his maturity level came into question. If he can get his act together and find a niche as a defensive stopper, he could have a place.
Devin Kharpertian: I don’t see it. The oft-told narrative about Terrence Williams is that he gets in the way of himself, but he’s not a good shooter and makes poor decisions on the floor. His athleticism means he’ll always have chances, and he’ll occasionally give you a game worth watching. But I don’t think he’ll ever have the career most envisioned.
Jonathan Santiago: There’s no question about his talent. And on a team like the Kings with a number of isolation scorers, Williams’ willingness to pass is a blessing. Though his character comes into question, a small market city like Sacramento might be what Williams needs to get re-focused on his career. If he continues to play like he’s played over the last week, he might be worth offering a one-year minimum deal this offseason.