The Kings' season has been primarily without angst. The team's not good, but few expected more. Lately, the team has competed every night, and usually against good (really good) teams. The Kings almost beat the Clippers, Warriors and Thunder over the past week! But the Friday loss to the Lakers -- in which Sacramento scored just 13 in the fourth with a whole mess of sloppy turnovers and horrible attempts -- was ugly, and any flavor of loss to the Jazz would be gross.
So, uh, fun night ahead!
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
The rookie has nine games under his belt now, and while he's shooting poorly he's shown some glimpses of an all-around game with good rebounding and decent assist numbers. It'll actually be interesting to see whether Michael Malone puts Ben McLemore on him -- there's been some backcourt crossmatching of late -- or hangs him on Alec Burks and makes Vasquez work Burke.
On the other end, Vasquez needs to plug into the pick and roll more often. If it doesn't work with DeMarcus Cousins, use the power forwards or Derrick Williams. This is Vasquez's strength. Use it.
1. Three-point defense. Utah is bad everywhere, including from beyond the arc. But the Kings have a habit of letting anyone get open shots. (Some of the fourth quarter shots L.A. got on Friday? My God.) If Utah shoots well from long-range, look out.
2. DeMarcus Cousins' mobility. He seemed sluggish on Friday, potentially due to the ankle. A back-to-back doesn't bode well for that.
3. Pride. It's a tricky thing to see with a bad team. But against a fellow horrid team, maybe it'll be more evident. We need to see it after that ugly implosion on Friday.
Man, I am really bad at this game. I finished No. 63 out of 81 on Friday. But I'm in the 30s out of 100 or so overall for the month. There's still time to catch me and be eligible for the drawing for a Kings gift card. You need to be ahead of me at the end of December. Here's the group. Keep in mind that you can make picks for future games, too.
Are the Kings the worst?
Pretty much, if they lose this.
There's always next year.
Kings 87, Jazz 84.