The Sacramento Kings need a win in the most desperate way right now. Losers of six straight, they hold the worst record in the Western Conference. They almost assuredly aren't the worst team in the Western Conference but they need to start proving it. They play eight Eastern Conference teams in a row starting today against the Pistons, so maybe they can beat up on the lesser conference a little bit. These Pistons are no joke though, with a record of 5-2. Today's action tips off at 7:00 pm on CSN California and on KHTK 1140.
1. Have the Pistons turned it around? Detroit is probably the early season surprise of the league, boasting a 5-2 record with wins over the Bulls, Hawks, Suns, Jazz and Blazers. Stan Van Gundy has built this team around Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson and so far it's paying dividends. Drummond is averaging 19.4 points and 19.6 rebounds a game and Jackson is living up to his big contract extension with 22.7 points and 5.6 assists. That's not to mention the additions of guys like Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova and rookie Stanley Johnson. This is a versatile team that could make waves in the Eastern Conference.
2. How will the Kings respond after their team meeting? These final three games of the homestand are absolutely huge. The Kings can't afford to dig themselves any deeper of a hole and they have to come out strong. This is a team that they can and should beat and they don't have the excuse of not having their best player anymore. Darren Collison may or may not come back, which would provide a nice boost, but scoring hasn't exactly been this team's problem. It's getting the other team to stop scoring that is. The Kings are giving up a league worst 49.3% from the field. You can't win many games allowing teams to shoot that well.
3. Can the Kings get some production from their Shooting Guards? Marco Belinelli has started to find a rhythm for the Kings but they still haven't gotten much out of James Anderson or Ben McLemore. I also don't like how Karl keeps using both of them throughout the game. Stick with one guy and give him the chance to actually find himself through the game. Considering Ben's youth, I'd rather stick with him as well.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
DeMarcus Cousins vs. Andre Drummond
Drummond has been an absolute monster this season. He's quickly becoming a two way force, and has developed some nice chemistry with Reggie Jackson. Cousins will be going up against him on both ends of the court in all likelihood and the best way for Cousins to make an impact is by getting Drummond in foul trouble and getting him off the floor. Drummond doesn't foul a ton, but Cousins will be the most physical center he's had to deal with all year. Detroit's options at Center when Drummond isn't on the floor involve guys like Aron Baynes and Joel Anthony, which are big drop-offs. Likewise, the Kings can't afford to let Cousins get in foul trouble guarding Drummond. This is going to be a matchup vital to the game for both teams.
Kings 109, Pistons 94 as Rajon Rondo manages to bend space-time and somehow play 54 minutes in a regulation game. He also gets a quadruple double.