Game 48 Preview: Kings at Warriors

For the first time in more than two weeks, the Sacramento Kings hit the road.  They head to Oakland for their fourth and final meeting this season with the Golden State Warriors.
Gametime: 7:30 pm PST
Broadcast Information: Click here.
For Jazz perspective, visit fellow TrueHoop Network blog Warriors World.

Kings Probable Starters (17-30)

Isaiah Thomas Marcus Thornton John Salmons Jason Thompson DeMarcus Cousins

Tyreke Evans said after Thursday night’s loss to the Utah Jazz that he would likely return to the Kings’ starting line-up.  He played the last two games off the bench after returning from a left ankle injury that sidelined him for a few games.  Evans scored 25 points in the one-point defeat to Utah.  In their last five games, the Kings have found their rhythm offensively, averaging 113.6 points per contest.

Warriors Probable Starters (19-26)

Nate Robinson Klay Thompson Dorell Wright David Lee Jeremy Tyler

Since defeating the Kings short-handed at Power Balance Pavilion a week and a half ago, the Warriors have gone 1-5.  Andrew Bogut, Golden State’s center-piece acquisition in the deal for Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh, is out for the rest of the season.  The Australian big man is rehabbing a left ankle fracture he suffered in late January.  Stephen Curry, who’s battled ankle issues of his own,  may also sit out the rest of the season.

3-on-3 Roundtable

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.

Steve Berman, the Bay Area Sports Guy, and Danny Leroux of Real GM join me to preview tonight’s Kings/Jazz match-up.

1. Match-up to watch?

BASG:  Jason Thompson vs. David Lee. Since the last time these teams faced (a 115-89 Warriors win where Thompson only played 15 minutes, scoring 2 points and grabbing 9 rebounds), Thompson’s averaged 17.6 ppg and 13.6 rpg. If Thompson can recover from rolling his ankle on Thursday, the size advantage he and Cousins provide can give the Warriors fits.

Danny Leroux: Marcus Thornton vs. Klay Thompson. Besides being one of the only combinations of projected starters who will be likely rotation players next season for these teams, each provides an interesting challenge for the other. Marcus needs to be able to produce on both ends with a taller player on him while Klay must play well for the Warriors to have a chance to win.

Jonathan Santiago: Tyreke Evans vs. Dorell Wright.  In his last two games against the Kings, Wright has had solid performances.  He recorded a double-double in Golden State’s rout of Sacramento a week and a half ago and scored 12 of his 24 points from beyond the arc in the overtime loss in February.  Limiting Wright’s shooting space will be key for Evans in this match-up.

2. Stat that decides the game…

BASG: Warriors turnovers. Golden State turned it over 15 times combined in their two wins over Sacramento. In the Kings’ 114-106 win over the Warriors on Feb. 4, the Warriors committed 16 turnovers. The Kings have forced at least 14 turnovers in each of their last four games.

Danny Leroux: Klay Thompson’s points. If Thompson cannot put the ball in the hoop, the only way the Warriors win is if Nate Robinson goes completely insane and drops at least twenty. David Lee is what he is and the Kings can out-produce the rest of the “split squad” W’s lineup without too much issue.

Jonathan Santiago: Three-point shooting.  The Warriors have shot over 50 percent from deep in their last two games against the Kings.  Sacramento must limit Dorell Wright, Klay Thompson, Nate Robinson and especially Brandon Rush from beyond the arc.  Rush made five of nine three-point attempts off the Warriors’ bench last time out.

3. In two years, who receives a contract extension: Andrew Bogut or DeMarcus Cousins?

BASG: Bogut, because he seems to like the region and the Warriors won’t want to let him go. Sacramento will want to keep Cousins too, but will he want to stick around? The Kings got rid of Paul Westphal, but they’ll need to start winning soon or Cousins will probably start looking for a way out.

Danny Leroux: Andrew Bogut. At that juncture, Cousins will be looking at being a restricted free agent while Bogut would be unrestricted. That means the Warriors have a much greater incentive to lock Bogut up early (since they do not have the option to match), particularly from a PR perspective since he was the only asset acquired in the Ellis/Udoh trade.

Jonathan Santiago: The answer to this question depends heavily on two things – if Andrew Bogut can get healthy and what progress DeMarcus Cousins makes in the next two seasons.  I’ll go with Cousins though, just because at this point, he seems to have the higher upside.


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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.