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Preview: Kings at Bobcats

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THE OPPONENT

In the last two games, the Kings have struggled to shoot straight against teams ranked 27th and 22nd in defense, respectively. Today, the Kings visit the team with the league's No. 1 defense. DANGER! DANGER! PANIC!

The Bobcats are surprisingly the best defensive team in the league. Watch how they do it today, and see just how far the Kings have to go on that end. Causing turnovers, securing rebounds, preventing easy shots -- it is, quite literally, the exactly opposite of the Kings. Of course, Charlotte's offense is buggered, but if the Kings can't score, the Cats don't need to.

I don't know what's more surprising: that Raymond Felton has essentially wiped D.J. Augustin off the face of the planet, or that Stephen Jackson has been just what Charlotte needs, which is just enough offense to buoy the team's fanatical defense. Jackson is still on StR's Enemies of the State list due to commentary on one Omri Casspi. But you have to appreciate that he's swallowed his nonsensical "trade me to a contender!" crap enough to positively impact the Bobcats.

In fairness to the Kings front office circa 2004, Gerald Wallace is completely inexplicable.

KEY BATTLE

Kevin Martin vs. Stephen Jackson. We remember all Martin's lovely games against Jackson's Warriors ... but in those cases the pair rarely marked each other. Now, there's really no choice but to pair them off. Scoring on Jackson is part of it for Martin, sure. But limiting Jackson to contested jumpers -- and preventing him from facilitating much for his teammates -- will be vital.

BOLD PROCLAMATION

If I used the familiar Numeric Prediction, I would be set ablaze, possibly by an agent of Paul Westphal.

BOLD BROCKLAMATION

Jon Brockman will discuss Heidegger with Gerald Wallace before the game, and also advise Crash to begin wearing a helmet in polite company.

DETAILS

11 AM PST. Game threads (for real!) at 11 and 12:15, post-gamer at 1:45.