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The Friendly Confines

Since the Kings have played five at home and five on the road, it seems like a good time to look the splits.

Place   W   L    PF   PA   +/-    SOS*
Home    4   1   523  497   +26   .334
Road    0   5   468  548   -80   .640

* SOS (Strength of schedule) is the average 'expected win percentage' for all opponents.

We have a few things going on here. First, the team is playing better at home, averaging a +5 point margin per game. And they've played terrible on the road, avergaing -16 points per game less than their opponents. It looks rather cut and dry, and it's not surprising: Young, bad teams are awful on the road. These are the teams Sacramento used to feast on at home.

But there's another factor working here -- the level of competition has been wildly skewed. On the road, the Kings have already faced San Antonio, Dallas, New Orleans and Utah. Meanwhile Minnesota, Seattle and New York have visited ARCO. That's a clear discrepancy of talent, even when you consider the nice Detroit win.

What's it mean? The Kings aren't as good at home as they've appeared; that strength of schedule will get bumped up and the winning percentage will go down. The Kings aren't going 32-9 at home this year... but they also aren't going 0-41 on the road. That tough SOS will correct itself too, though not as much as the home version. In the Western Conference, you can expect an SOS just above .500. (Memphis should end up with the toughest schedule on paper, just because they are guaranteed four games against the other Southwest teams without the luxury of playing themselves. Last season, every Western Conference team ended up with a tougher schedule than any East team.)

As we saw in the Minnesota away game, Sacramento can compete against some teams on the road. (A five-point losse is substantially more encouraging, for the numbers and for us, than a 20-point loss.) And as we saw in the Detroit game, Sacramento can compete against almost any team at home.

As a result, I think we can expect a competitive game tonight hosting Phoenix and a complete freaking disaster tomorrow visiting Phoenix.