Sacramento gets some national attention tonight with TNT and the New York Knicks in town. The Knicks, much like the Kings, added some veteran pieces this summer as well as an exciting rookie in Kristaps Porzingis. New York is coming off of three losses in a row so they're going to be extra motivated to get a win and the Kings will have to be ready for that. Today's action tips off at 7:30 pm on TNT and on KHTK 1140.
1. Whatsap with Kristaps? Kristaps Porzingis is already making a name for himself around the NBA, and it's easy to see why. At 7'3, he possesses a silky shooting touch, hits the glass hard and blocks shots. He's already averaging 14.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a game and his shooting efficiency numbers keep going up as he gets more comfortable. He's not the next Dirk, but he could be the next European superstar. He's definitely lived up to the pre-draft hype so far. This is a game where I wish we had Willie Cauley-Stein available because I would have loved to see the two of them match up.
2. How effective will DeMarcus Cousins be? We all know that Cousins is not yet 100%, and he probably won't be tonight either. His first three games after the injury were atrocious, but he played much better on Tuesday against Derrick Favors and the Utah Jazz. The Knicks aren't going to be the piece of cake for him they were last year when they had to use guys like Cole Aldrich and Jason Smith to guard him, but he's historically done pretty well against Robin Lopez. If the Kings can get an early lead, I'd like to see the Kings use Kosta Koufos and maybe Quincy Acy a little more so Cousins isn't so winded and exhausted down the stretch. The Kings have a nice big break after this game which should help DeMarcus recuperate.
3. Are we in for a Derrick Williams revenge game? Whenever we played the Minnesota Timberwolves, Derrick Williams seemingly went off. In fact, looking at his career splits, Williams averages 15.4 points on 56.7% from the field and 41.2% from three against the Wolves, easily his best against any team. Are the Kings in for the same after passing on re-signing him this year and George Karl's disparaging "Coke Machine" comments last season?
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
Rudy Gay vs. Carmelo Anthony
Gay and Anthony are perhaps two of the best scoring wings in the NBA. Anthony is considered better overall but Rudy Gay's actually been more efficient this year, which is unsurprising given that Rudy isn't the #1 option on his team (and when he's had to be, his efficiency has plummeted). Anthony's the kind of guy that can turn around a game if he gets hot, so it's extremely important the Kings don't put themselves into a situation where that happens. Besides, on the other end, Gay can take advantage of the fact that Melo likes playing defense just as much as Rudy does.
Kings 108, Knicks 96. New York's on the second night of a back to back and just had to play in Utah. The Kings should hopefully come out of the gates strong like they did against the Jazz on Tuesday.