Kings vs. Warriors Preview: It's the Final Countdown

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings have just 7 games left, and they're all against good Western Conference teams.

The final 7 games of the season are here, and all but one of them is against a Western Conference Playoff team, starting tonight in Oakland as the Kings take on the Golden State Warriors (7:30 pm on Comcast SportsNet California and KHTK 1140). The Warriors are currently in the 6th seed, but are just a couple games away from being out of the playoffs altogether, so every win is important for them.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Ray McCallum vs. Stephen Curry

McCallum has had a good few games as a starter, but he's also gone up against the likes of Devin Harris, Jose Calderon, Kendall Marshall, Brian Roberts and Austin Rivers. That's not exactly a bunch of world beaters. Stephen Curry is on a whole other level, and McCallum will be tasked with the very important (and difficult) job of trying to slow him down. With the Warriors banged up, Curry will be looking to score even more than usual, and should the Kings allow him to go off, winning will be very difficult. The scoring Ray has brought has been nice, but tonight we need him to expend his energy on the defensive end.

3 THINGS

1. As I mentioned, the Warriors are banged up. In their last game, a loss to the Spurs, they played without starters Andrew Bogut, David Lee and Iguodala. Both Bogut and Lee are unlikely to play tonight against Sacramento, but Iguodala may try to give it a go since the Warriors playoff hopes are on the line. Regardless, the Kings should have the stronger frontcourt in tonight's matchup, and should look to get Cousins going early and often. On the Kings own injury front, Isaiah Thomas is likely out again after an MRI revealed a deep hematoma (a bad bruise) in his thigh. Malone says the team hasn't yet talked about shutting Thomas down for the season, but there are only 12 days left in the season anyway and the Kings aren't playing for much. In my opinion, Isaiah's long term health is more important.

2. Last time these two teams met, Rudy Gay was shut down hard by Andre Iguodala. Iguodala's a fantastic defender, but the Kings don't stand a remote chance of winning if Rudy can't get his offense going. When Rudy's off, the only other reliable option we have is Cousins (and Thomas of course, but he's out). Everyone else is hit or miss, especially guys like Derrick Williams and Travis Outlaw.

3. It's pretty amazing to consider the Warriors an elite defensive team and a mediocre offensive team but that's what they've been this season. Their offensive rating is 13th (Sacramento, for comparison, is 15th) but their defensive rating is 4th. That's a big jump from last year when they were the 15th best defensive team. Development from some of the younger players, a healthier Andrew Bogut and the addition of Andre Iguodala have been big boons to their defense. It goes to show that even with a couple players on the floor who are defensive liabilities normally (like Curry and Lee), a good team mindset and a couple of elite defenders will take you a long way.

PRE-GAME HAIKU

Thank you Golden State.
Because you gave us Vivek,
Me love you long time.

PREDICTION

Kings 102, Warriors 114 because they came out to plaaaaaaay.

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