Kings vs. Wizards Preview: Home Sweet Home

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Sacramento returns home after a long trip to face a Wizards team that's been playing some of their best basketball in years.

It's been more than two weeks since the Kings last played at Sleep Train Arena, but they're back in California to face the Washington Wizards (7:00 pm on Comcast SportsNet California and KHTK 1140) which kicks off a four game homestand. The Wizards have been playing some good basketball this year, although they'll be without a valuable contributor in Nene against the Kings.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Rudy Gay vs. Trevor Ariza

Trevor Ariza has had a weird career. He's either been really good or really bad. This year is one of the years in which he's been really good. He's probably the most underrated part of Washington's success. He's finally seemed to figure out how to hit threes consistently and is making them at a career rate (an excellent 42.2% on 6 attempts a game). He's also a good perimeter defender. Rudy was shut down by Ariza back on February 9th, shooting just 2-11 from the field. Ariza didn't fare much better on the other end (2-11) himself, but the Kings won't win many games if Rudy can't get going since he's such a big part of this offense.

3 THINGS

1. Nene being unavailable for the Wizards is big. The last two times these two teams met, Nene cut apart the Kings to lead the Wizards in scoring with 18 points. He's not terrible defensively either. Trevor Booker isn't a bad player himself, but he's no Nene. Together Nene and Marcin Gortat have given the Wizards a solid veteran frontcourt that has been instrumental in their success this season. Drew Gooden (aka the only player other than Chris Webber to average a Double-Double for the Kings) will see a lot of time in Nene's place.

2. This draft class is off to a terrible start. That's one reason I'm not really worried about the McLemore selection. Otto Porter is a guy that many Kings fans wanted this past summer as the only real premiere Small Forward available, but he's been among the biggest disappointments. Porter's been dealing with injuries all year, and when he has seen action, he's been bad. He's shooting just 31.3% overall and less than 20% from three.

3. Theoretically, John Wall should be able to dominate Isaiah Thomas, but Thomas has had the best of the matchups the last couple years. Thomas singlehandedly kept the Kings in the game last time they played, scoring a game-high 30 points on Wall. For all of Wall's strengths and athleticism, he's not a good defender yet. If he ever can become one, he'll be a terror to deal with on a nightly basis.

PRE-GAME HAIKU

Gortat and Fippin,
Are they merely lookalikes,
or the same person?

PREDICTION

Kings 107, Wizards 103 as DeMarcus Cousins miraculously recovers from his knee tankinitis

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