Kings vs. Nuggets Preview: Is another gutsy effort in the books?

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Spo

The Kings kick off five games in seven nights by taking on the team that beat the team that beat them last. Say that ten times fast.

The Kings are coming off a tough loss to Indiana and face the team that beat the Pacers last night, the Denver Nuggets (6 p.m. on News10 and KHTK 1140). The Kings have faced the Nuggets just once this season, a thrilling win in the home opener. Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins are still listed as day-to-day and may or may not be available for this game. According to Coach Malone, Rudy is closer to returning than DeMarcus.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Isaiah Thomas vs. Ty Lawson

If there's one player in the NBA that I think is a relatively fair comparison for Isaiah, it's Ty Lawson. Both Lawson and Isaiah are extremely talented and efficient scorers as undersized Point Guards. Lawson is the better distributor, but that's mainly due to a big jump in that area this year (from 30.2% Assist rate last two year to 39.2% this year). Lawson (and to a lesser extent Nate Robinson) are Denver's best bets to go off, so if Isaiah can bother him on both ends, the Kings will have a good chance.

3 THINGS

1. Can Marcus Thornton repeat his stellar performance from Friday? Thornton has had an iffy season, and it's likely because he's had trouble adapting to a tertiary offensive role with Cousins, Gay and Thomas as Sacramento's primary options. It would be really nice to see if Marcus can string two good games in a row.

2. Last game, almost all of the scoring load was Isaiah and Marcus. The Kings got little offensive production from their big men brigade, who shot an abysmal 5-29 from the field. The Nuggets don't have near the same interior defense as the Pacers, so it should be easier to attack the basket and get going. As we well know, J.J. Hickson might be the opposite of Roy Hibbert in terms of defensive impact.

3. The Nuggets are one of the worst teams in the NBA at forcing turnovers, ranking 29th in total opponent turnovers and 27th in steals. Then again, they are also one of the best teams at taking care of the ball.

PRE-GAME HAIKU

Which Marcus shows up?
Is it the Bayou Bomber?
Or Bayou Bummer?

PREDICTION

Kings 108, Nuggets 107 after Derrick Williams hits a three at the buzzer and is fouled by Danilo Gallinari, who is sitting on the bench.

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