SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 26: Jimmer Fredette #7 of the Sacramento Kings shoots over Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Power Balance Pavilion on December 26, 2011 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Bombs away, Jimmer.
Give the people what they want:
buckets and buckets.
The Kings face an interesting situation as they visit the Jazz for the first time this season: their own player will be the most popular player on the court. Utah fans are amazingly passionate, and will root hard for the Jazz, especially if it's a tight game. But don't we all expect every Jimmer Fredette make to draw massive cheers in that arena? It could be like a home game for him, really. Maybe even better.
Of course, that also adds pressure, something the rook has struggled with this season. Only recently has he escaped the drain of high expectations to perform consistently well. And of course, the team has lost all three games in which Jimmer went off over the past week. Things haven't been close to perfect, even with Fredette shaking off the webs.
The worst case scenario: Jimmer struggles, the Kings struggle and we have another blowout on our hands.
But Tyreke Evans has the opportunity against Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward, Earl Watson, Raja Bell and Alec Burks to do what he did against San Antonio a bit more than a week ago: dominate the game. Evans might be the most talented player coming into the game (something Al Jefferson and DeMarcus Cousins could challenge), and having the ball in his hands so frequently allows him to express that with domination ... when things are going well. Things haven't gone well in the past three games; since his 23-7-11 game at San Antonio, Evans has averaged 11-5-3. That's not going to get it done.
The battle up front will be a battle, too, with Cousins, Jason Thompson and (fingers crossed) Chuck Hayes needing to make it difficult for Big Al and Paul Millsap to score and hit the offensive glass. The Kings continue to struggle to rebound defensively, and while much of that has to do with small lineups -- the Kings are above average in total rebound rate with Cousins/Hickson and Cousins/Thompson lineups -- it also comes down on Thompson to do a better job on the defensive glass.
The game's at 6, and we'll have game threads at 6 and 7:30. Let's go Kings!