Back to the road.
STARTING LINEUPS & INJURIES
The Kings will roll with Tyreke Evans, Luther Head, Donte Greene, Carl Landry and Samuel Dalembert. Everyone else is healthy off the bench. It's worth noting that Antoine Wright was inactive Sunday, with Pooh Jeter dressed.
Utah's starting five is currently Deron Williams, Raja Bell, Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. Everyone but Mehmet Okur is available.
Utah starts Al Jefferson at center with a true power forward at power forward in Millsap. Someone break the news to Kurt Rambis and David Kahn that Jefferson and Love weren't the problem last year! (I'm sorry. My ability to make fun of the Wolves is disappearing. I have to get in digs where I can.)
Certainly, Millsap/Jefferson doesn't make for the most imposing defensive frontline. Yet Utah is just middle-of-the-pack in opponent shooting percentage at the rim. While in theory attacking the rim could yield success, it hasn't panned out for the Jazz's opponents to date. Post offense has had some success, though; Utah gives up the ninth highest field goal percentage from 5-10 feet.
On offense, as always, this is the D-Will show. The point guard runs high pick-and-roll after high pick-and-roll, often with Millsap, and just picks defenses apart. Luther Head, an ace against Devin Harris and Chris Paul, has a heckuva challenge tonight at Williams is stronger and more likely to initiate contact than the others. A key will be forcing Williams to pass earlier than he wants, to spots where the shots aren't wide open, or to make Williams pull up off the dribble.
Elsewhere, the Kings' bigs will likely have trouble squelching both Millsap and Jefferson (and don't forget Kirilenko, who is as long as Greene). The hope would be that Landry can have an easier night and either make Millsap work, or make Jerry Sloan make tough decisions on double-teams.
Raja is smart and physical. Evans has to work through that, and I suspect Paul Westphal will also want him to take more responsibility on offense, given Head's creation struggles there.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
Landry vs. Millsap. Two stone-cold killers showing each other scalps. This battle could be great to watch, provided each is on their game.
PLAYER TO WATCH
This is another situation where DeMarcus Cousins has a real opportunity to make a positive difference. It didn't happen against the Hornets, but the opportunities are there. Carpe diem!
The defense, it hums!
But the offense has just stunk.
Petrie: time trav'ler?
6 PM start for the Kings and Jazz on Comcast SportsNet and KHTK 1140 AM. Game threads at 6 and 7:30. Someone on my street has a rooster, and I'm having chicken for dinner, suckers. Go Kings.