(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Sacramento Kings are fresh off of two extraordinary wins: blowout victories over the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves, squads in the playoff mix. Huzzah! Tyreke Evans happens to have been injured for those two games, leading a sizable contingent of fans (both here on Sactown Royalty and around the web and sports talk radio dial) to ascertain that Tyreke has been "the problem" with the offense.
That's only going to get worse tonight, I'm afraid.
Boston is No. 3 in the NBA in defensive efficiency, and has a killer shooting defense. But Memphis is quite good, too, and has the added facet of being the league's top turnover creation team. Nearly 17 percent of all opponent possessions turn into turnovers against the Grizzlies. League average is under 14 percent.
The Kings are actually quite good at protecting the ball; Sacramento is No. 7 in turnover rate this season. That's where the particular worry stems from: the Kings have the No. 21 offense while protecting the ball so well. It's hard (impossible?) to protect the ball against Memphis. Ergo, one of the strengths of the Kings' otherwise mediocre offense will be seriously challenged. That forces the Kings to either be inordinately careful with the ball, dominate on defense (possible against an uneven Memphis attack) or shoot and rebound so well that the pain in the turnover column is counteracted.
My nightmare: the Kings cough up 20 turnovers with Tyreke starting, lose and the chorus never ends. Let me hope I'm wrong ... for the sake of our sanity.
The game's at 7. We have game threads set for 7 and 8:30. Let's go Kings!