Kings vs. Pistons Preview: HALLUCINATIONS

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 15: Keith Smart of the Sacramento Kings looks on against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 15, 2012 in New York City. 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 Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Alternate headline: Greg Monroe Doesn't Want Any Of J.J. Hickson.

Sacramento Kings at Detroit Pistons
4:30 p.m. Pacific on Comcast SportsNet California

The Kings hit the third game of this long roadtrip, and hope that it's not the third loss. Sacramento has dropped three straight games since that raucous win over the Thunder -- a performance on the floor that now seems more like a hallucination than real basketball.

Detroit's had a solid month, going 5-3. The Pistons beat a Garnet-less Boston on Wednesday, were barely beaten by the smoking Spurs the day prior and can count a bad blowout loss to the Wizards as the team's only bad defeat of the month. This is problematic, because the Kings -- already staggering -- will be without DeMarcus Cousins, a victim to back spasms. A J.J. Hickson-Greg Monroe match-up is certainly less promising than a Cousins-Monroe pairing.

In the backcourt, the Kings simply need Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans to produce. When either of them struggles, the team struggles. Without the frontcourt's single scorer available, Sacramento likely needs both to pop off to grab a win. We can't count on John Salmons, that's for sure.

If there's hope, it's in that the Pistons shoot almost as poorly as Sacramento, and have the league's second-worst shooting defense. The Kings were able to put up points against the Bulls on Tuesday; Cousins had a bunch of those, but so did Evans and Thornton. The Kings will need them to come through again.

Free Donte. Just felt the need to say that.

Game's at 4:30. Game threads are at 4:30 and 6. Let's go Kings!

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