Live from the locker room: Kings vs. Hawks

George_Karl_Practice

Here is the latest news live from Sleep Train Arena:

  • The Sacramento Kings (22-43) return home after a disappointing 2-6 road trip.  They try to get back on the right path tonight on their home floor, but face a tall order in the Atlanta Hawks (52-14).  “I’ve probably had something worse than that in my career, I’ve been around a long time,” coach George Karl said.  “But it was a tough one.  Three back-to-backs and a lot of bedtimes after three or four in the morning.  I thought our team hung in there pretty good with the energy factor.”
  • Rudy Gay is out for the second straight night due to a left patellar tendon strain.  The veteran wing has been outstanding in his 13 games under coach Karl.  With Gay out, Omri Casspi will start in his place.  “We’ll start the same way (with Casspi) and probably just rotate the game early,” Karl said. “Figure out which five guys are ready to win.”
  • The Hawks are the walking wounded, missing Kyle Korver (broken nose), Mike Scott (fractured toe) and Thabo Sefoolosha (right calf strain).  But injuries haven’t slowed them from winning.  The Hawks currently sit atop the board in the Eastern Conference and they have won nine of their previous 11 games.
  • With a playoff spot already locked up, coach Mike Budenholzer has cycled through his starting lineup resting players.  Tonight against Sacramento it’s All-Star big man Al Horford’s turn to sit out.  36-year-old forward Elton Brand will start in place of Horford at the four and the lanky Kent Bazemore will get the nod for Korver at the two.
  • Vlade Divac, the Sacramento Kings’ newest member of management spoke to the media before tip-off tonight.  While his role with the team is still a work in progress, he did have this zinger aimed after former nemesis Shaquille O’Neal.  “Shaq wasn’t talented, he was just strong,” Divac said.  “I was talented, but I wasn’t strong.”

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About: James Ham

James Ham is the senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news since 2010. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also contributes to ESPN.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".