STARTING LINEUPS & INJURIES
The Kings go with the now-standard starting five of Beno Udrih, Tyreke Evans, Omri Casspi, Carl Landry and Samuel Dalembert. Everyone seems to be healthy, and Luther Head is back in town.
The Wolves can't say the same. Luke Ridnour and Jonny Flynn are out, leaving Sebastian Telfair to man the point guard position. Wesley Johnson has jumped to the shooting guard spot, with Michael Beasley, Kevin Love and Darko Milicic up front. Wayne Ellington, who started the season opener between these teams, didn't play last night in Los Angeles due to coach's decision.
Be sure to check out HighTops' full scouting report.
Man, Minnesota is bad. HT accurately pointed out their rough road schedule to date; even by those standards, this team is not good. I'm not saying this to make myself, a fan of a mediocre team, feel better. As AnotherStupidSN gleefully pointed out in the comments to HT's scouting report, we all do seem to take some extra measure of mirth in Minnesota's failure given that our team isn't very good, and most of that ridicule is pointed at David Kahn and Darko Milicic and Kurt Rambis and Reggie Theus but mostly David Kahn.
Despite all that, I say this completely objectively: that team blows.
Last in the league in offense, second-to-last in defense. Sebastian Telfair is starting for the Wolves, and he is not the worst starter. Think about that. Two of the worst starters in the NBA at their positions, Telfair and Milicic, starting for the same team. Kevin Love could be Wes Unseld reborn and that ain't gettin' it done.
In particular, Telfair can't shoot and is a turnover machine. I also believe him to be a mediocre defender at best, though I could be wrong about that. Darko is, of course, an awful rebounder, shooter, scorer, ball-handler and defender. He can block some shots and ... that's it.
Holes like that are hard to cover up.
But poor defense by the Kings -- which ruled the day when these two teams last met -- can certainly cover Minnesota's holes. The Wolves can absolutely beat the Kings, and might, if the Kings don't cinch up substantially on defense. All it takes is hot shooting from a couple Wolves and an off night for a couple key Kings. Sacramento isn't good enough to loaf through a win, ever,
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
Kevin Love vs. Carl Landry. Love went berserk against the Lakers, with 23 and 24. That is indeed a double-double Animal style. Landry has been hot-and-cold, and is certainly moving away from the rim. I thought he worked fairly well with Dalembert on offense against Memphis, but Zach Randolph just slaughtered him. Love could certainly do the same. We might end up seeing more Jason Thompson and Darnell Jackson than usual. That said, Landry is best suited to attack Love, whether it be for easy scoring opps, fouls or to make Rambis' eyes bleed.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Omri Casspi. The Playa from Judea needs to feast on the worst defensive teams. Beasley can't defend Casspi on the perimeter; O.C. has a great opportunity to quiet all the talk about the Great Small Forward Gap that's all the rage.
7 PM Pacific start on Comcast SportsNet and KHTK 1140 AM. CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP tickets still available from the Kings' box office -- seats that usually go for $40 available for less than $20. Great opportunity to take your family out for a good price and a good shot at a win.
Game threads at 7 and 8:30. Be sure to check StR before the game as we have a special Here We Stay project rolling out ahead of 4 PM. Go Kings!