Game 34 Preview: Sacramento Kings at Brooklyn Nets

DeMarcus Cousins catches a breath against the New York Knicks. (Photo: Steven Chea)Gametime: 4:30 pm PT

Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NJ

Broadcast Information: TV – Comcast SportsNet California, Radio – 1140 The Fan

For Nets perspective, visit The Brooklyn Game.

The book on the Nets: Brooklyn started the season 11-4, which earned Avery Johnson Coach of the Month honors for November.  But then December came around and they sputtered, losing 10 of their next 13 games, leading to Johnson’s ousting at the helm.  Since the coaching change, the Nets have gone 4-1 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, which included a dramatic double overtime win over the Washington Wizards last night.

Did you know?  The Kings have won back-to-back road games for the first time since the spring of 2011.  In three wins away from Sleep Train Arena, the Kings have limited their opponents to 90 points per game on 38.6 percent shooting from the field.  By comparison, the Kings have allowed their opposition to score 102.5 points per game on 45.9 percent shooting in 13 road losses this season.

Status Updates: Tyreke Evans is out resting a sore left knee.  He hopes to return next week when the Kings begin a five-game home-stand.  Marcus Thornton is day-to-day with a sprained left ankle.

Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (13-20)

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Francisco Garcia
SF: John Salmons
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Brooklyn Nets Probable Starters (18-15)

PG: Deron Williams
SG: Joe Johnson
SF: Gerald Wallace
PF: Reggie Evans

C: Brook Lopez

Stats

Kings

  • Points Per Game: 97.1
  • Offensive Rating: 101.1
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 101.4
  • Defensive Rating: 106.4
  • Pace: 94.90

Nets

  • Points Per Game: 95.3
  • Offensive Rating: 103.1
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 93.5
  • Defensive Rating: 103.7
  • Pace: 90.56

Three questions to ponder

1.  How will the Kings’ guard handle the size of the Nets’ backcourt?

Sacramento had trouble last night against the Raptors backcourt.  Toronto’s point guards scored 37 points on a combination of Kings’ players, including Isaiah Thomas, Aaron Brooks and Jimmer Fredette.  The Nets have a bulky backcourt featuring two perennial All-Stars in Joe Johnson and Deron Williams.  However, both players have performed below expectations since Avery Johnson’s firing.  Joe has averaged just 18.8 points while Williams has posted just 17 points per contest since the coaching change.  

2.  Which team wins the battle of the bigs?

Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins have dominated their competition lately.  Against two teams missing key cogs in their frontlines, the two Kings big men averaged a combined 41 points and 26 rebounds over their last two games.  Tonight, they’ll face a more difficult challenge that the previous two games didn’t pose.  Brook Lopez is a formidable offensive threat in the post and has led the team in scoring since Johnson’s firing.  He’s averaged 24.8 points over Brooklyn’s last five games.  Andray Blatche also had perhaps his most efficient outing of his career in the Nets’ last meeting with the Kings.  Blatche scored 22 points on 11-of-12 shooting off Brooklyn’s bench in the Nov. 18 game in Sacramento.

3.  Will John Salmons have another standout performance?

In the Kings’ last seven games, the veteran small forward has been one of Sacramento’s most consistent performers.  He’s averaged 14.6 points, 4.4 assists and 1.4 turnovers while shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from 3-point land.  In the absence of Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans, he filled the scoring void with games like last night against the Raptors.  He scored 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting in the Kings’ win in Toronto.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.