Second half playoff push begins today as Kings try to crown Nuggets
The Sacramento Kings are in an unfamiliar spot with the second half of the 2015-16 NBA season returning to Sleep Train Arena on Friday, February 19: they can actually make the playoffs.
Sacramento’s plight to move past the likes of the Blazers, Jazz and Rockets begins at home on Friday, as they’ll take on a beatable Western Conference foe in the Denver Nuggets. A big home win still wouldn’t complete the Kings’ bid for a return to the NBA post-season for the first time since 2006, but it’d give the team two consecutive wins and could put them on the right track.
It hasn’t been an easy season, as star big man DeMarcus Cousins has played his way through numerous trade rumors, Rudy Gay has heard his name dangled and head coach George Karl has had to wonder if he’d be given a pink slip at a moment’s notice. Sacramento’s brass has clearly seen signs of progress, however, even with the Kings drowning in a rough 2-8 stretch in their last 10 contests.
Friday’s battle with the Nuggets offers a chance at temporary redemption and a new beginning, as it will be the Kings first game since the NBA All-Star break. Depending on how things go down, it could serve as positive momentum toward an unlikely hot run that very well could result with a return to the playoffs.
The Kings need to take advantage of that opportunity first, but win or lose, their fans are at least soaking up serious value when they hit the court again on the 19th. Sacramento Kings tickets are providing ridiculous value the rest of the way regardless of venue or opponent ($130 on average), but Friday’s showdown with the Nuggets especially carries value with Kings and Nuggets tickets averaging out at just $78.23 ($22 for the cheap seats), per Ticketmaster.com.
While the price is obviously nice, Sacramento fans are in for a solid return on their value regardless of how this game turns out, as both teams play at a fast pace on offense and offer little resistance on the defensive end. More specifically, both Sacramento and Denver pour in 100+ points per game (Kings score a ridiculous 107 points per game) and both allow 103+ points per game on the other end. Suffice to say, Kings and Nuggets fans can expect to be entertained. More specifically, they can expect points – a lot of them.
Not only does this matchup beg for loads of offense and carry little defense, but the talent at hand fits beautifully into this clash. Danilo Gallinari brings a terrific outside scoring touch to the table for Denver, Kenneth Faried gets easy hustle points down low and rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay pushes the pace as a fast-break highlight reel waiting to happen.
The Nuggets certainly have the goods to hang with the Kings and make this one interesting, but Sacramento fans can probably have solace in knowing Denver doesn’t normally get the job done away from home (just 11-17 on the road this year). That being said, the Nuggets have stepped up lately in the series with the Kings, winning the last two meetings dating back to last year. This goes down as the first of three meetings in the second half of the season, however, which could serve as a great opportunity for the Kings to get the leg up in this year’s series. Fans get the chance at getting the leg up in value when the first meeting goes down at Sleep Train Arena, too, as the value shines through with the other two meetings costing more by comparison ($112 and $120. This is also the only chance for Sacramento fans to catch this explosive matchup in Sac-town, with the other two meetings going down in Colorado at the Pepsi Center.
DeMarcus Cousins will undoubtedly remain the key focus for the Kings on the offensive end, but the main difference in this matchup could be two-fold: Rajon Rondo needs to keep Emmanuel Mudiay from operating Denver’s offense as he pleases and the Kings have to play something that resembles defense. At home, where they’re a respectable 13-13, that’s not a pipe dream. And if the Kings can keep building from here, neither are the playoffs.