Mar 28, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams (8) drives to the basket during the first half against the Indiana Pacers at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
The New Jersey Nets visit on Saturday, like the Sacramento Kings coming off of a tight Friday win. The Kings won in Utah on a DeMarcus Cousins free throw; the Nets edged the Warriors in Oakland as Deron Williams racked up 20 assists and our old friend Gerald Wallace had 24 points and 18 rebounds. It'll be a tough match-up for both Isaiah Thomas and whoever starts at small forward. (It was Travis Outlaw on Friday, it had been Tyreke Evans, who sat with back spasms on Friday. John Salmons' status is also unknown.)
The Nets and Kings are actually in similar predicaments: New Jersey is 18-35 and Sacramento 18-33, both teams are doomed to finish near the bottom of the standings but would prefer some wins to ping pong balls as the season winds down. For the Nets, their pick goes to the Blazers if it's not in the top three. The bigger issue is convincing Williams to stick around as an unrestricted free agent in July. Wins will help, though New Jersey is extraordinarily far away (8.5 games) from the playoff bracket.
DeMarcus Cousins has been on some kind of tear (even in the context of a brilliant sophomore season), and his match-up on Saturday is Johan Petro. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
The game's at 7 p.m. Pacific on Comcast SportsNet California and NBA TV. Game threads will pop at 7 and 8:30. Let's go Kings.