The Kings managed to put together three good wins in a row but their newfound chemistry will now be tested on the road. Sacramento starts a season-long road trip today in Atlanta. In good news, the Kings will likely be getting back Darren Collison for the first time in five games. Today's action tips off at 5:00 pm on CSN California and on KHTK 1140.
1. Will the Kings be able to guard the three point line? The Hawks are one of the most prolific three point shooting teams in the league with almost everyone on their roster capable of hitting a three. Statistically, the Kings haven't done a terrible job of guarding the three-point line, but the Hawks will definitely put that to the test.
2. How will the Kings re-integrate Darren Collison? Collison has been out of action for five games now and in his place Rajon Rondo has played heavy minutes. Collison's return will mean more rest for Rondo and another scoring spark for the Kings off the bench. The Kings could actually have guard superiority over the Hawks today, as Jeff Teague missed their game yesterday with an ankle injury and Kent Bazemore is also out.
3. Can the Kings take care of the ball? The Hawks are forcing the most turnovers in the NBA this season and the Kings are turning it over at the fourth highest rate. That's a potential recipe for disaster. Sacramento's big three (Cousins, Rondo and Gay) are responsible for almost half of the team's total turnovers, and will have to focus on cutting their mistakes to avoid giving the Hawks easy opportunities.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
Ben McLemore vs. Kyle Korver
Korver isn't the Hawks' best player but he's had a lot of fun playing the Kings and their porous perimeter defense in recent years. Korver doesn't create his own offense for the most part though, relying instead on Atlanta's ball movement, screens and his own movement off the ball to get open. Ben's got his work cut out for him to keep up with Korver on the defensive end, and the Kings will have to respect his shot when thinking about switching or helping off of him.
Kings 194, Hawks 85 as Darren Collison comes back and it is revealed that team doctors imbued his hamstring with nanobots that enhance his strength and speed. The resulting power allows Collison to leap over defenders, sprint across the court in half a second and guard multiple players at the same time. Despite having a literal superhero on their team, somehow the Kings still allow the Hawks to score 85 points.