Two teams in the Western Conference have worse records than the Kings, and the Warriors are one of them. Golden State started mad slowly, but the Kings have hit molasses, and Sacramento sits 1-1/2 games ahead of the Warriors for the coveted fourth place in the Pacific. Really, these are similar teams: young in most spots, talented all over, a bit of a mess in total.
Golden State plays, unsurprisingly, at the league's fastest pace, averaging 100 possessions per game. It will also be unsurprising to careful observers that the Golden State defense is quite bad, though not any worse than that of Sacramento or a few others. Despite the team's gaudy points per game figure (3rd at 107), the Warriors play offense at middling levels, currently 17th in the league in offensive rating.
The Warriors have been beset by injuries, and tonight's game should be no exception. Monta Ellis is questionable, Anthony Morrow is out, Kelenna Azubuike and Anthony Randolph are of course out, Vlad Radmanovic is questionable. Obviously, Ellis sitting would seem a boon to the Kings -- he's a dynamic scorer, one of the league's best. But the Warriors offense really isn't very efficient with Monta soaking up so much of it, and honestly I'm a bit worried extra reps for Corey Maggette (brilliant this year) and Steph Curry could do more damage than Ellis would have. We'll see.
Creating turnovers is what the Warriors do best. Rebounding -- at both ends -- is what they do worst. You see why the Kings can win or lose to this team, yes? The Kings can't control the ball, but the Warriors can't hurt the Kings on the boards. It comes down to mitigating your weakness, or exploiting that of the other team. Ellis and Curry both rack up the steals, so if the former is out Tyreke Evans and Kevin Martin ought to watch out for the latter.
Take it away, HT!
Corey Maggette vs. the Kings defense. Maggs has been quietly brilliant this season: nearly 21 points on about 16 shot attempts a game, an insane True Shooting of .647 on a 26 percent usage rate, a rebound rate of 11 percent at the combo forward. Just brilliant work from a maligned player.
The Kings don't have success stopping anyone at any position, though small forwards have had the toughest slog against the likes of Donte Greene, Ime Udoka, Omri Casspi and Andres Nocioni. In the two previous matchups, Maggs had 20 points in 25 minutes off the bench (on 12 FGAs) and 24 points in 42 minutes (on 16 FGAs and 14 FTAs) as a starter. In that second, less effective game, Casspi and Udoka took the lead against Maggette. We'll see how much stock the coaching staff puts into that when filling out the line-up card tonight.
There is no spoon.
"The hip bone is connected to the 'I'ma ufck you up, Gravity!' bone," Jon Brockman teaches the kids in his Sunday School class.
7 PM PST, brothers and sisters. Game threads (promise!) at 7 and 8:15, post-gamer at 9:45.