After a disappointing start to the road trip in Minnesota, the Kings bounced back with an impressive road win against a good Raptors squad. Now they head to Washington looking for their first consecutive road win of the season. The Wizards are suffering from a bevy of injuries to their core and Sacramento should look to take advantage. Today's action tips off at 4:00 pm on CSN California and on KHTK 1140.
1. Can the Kings get off to another hot start? The biggest reason the Kings beat the Toronto Raptors was how much energy they came out with. They started the game off with a 17-2 run and the Raptors were never able to recover despite getting close a few times. The Wizards have even less offensive firepower than the Raptors so a good start would be even better here. It might be a little more difficult to summon the same energy given that it's the second game of a back-to-back though.
2. When will Ben McLemore get a longer leash? The Kings third-year shooting guard has been playing much better as of late, and if you haven't noticed, he's hitting 46.8% of his shots and 41.3% of his threes. Despite this improvement, he's playing the fewest minutes of his career as George Karl opts to give Marco Belinelli more time, especially down the stretch. Belinelli is only shooting 38.1% from the field and 33.1% from three and he happens to be one of the worst (if not the worst) defenders on the team. I'd like to see Ben given more trust and minutes from Coach Karl.
3. Can the Kings win two in a row on the road? The Kings have been pretty abysmal on the road so far this year but this a solid chance for the Kings to string two wins in a row on the road given the Wizards injury issues. Washington could be without as many as three key rotation players in Bradley Beal, Nene and Otto Porter. A win tonight would make this a successful road trip, even with the disappointment of the game against Minnesota and a game yet to come against Indiana.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
Rajon Rondo vs. John Wall
For as good as John Wall is, I feel that he doesn't get enough attention for what he's able to do. He's one of the most physically gifted Point Guards in the entire league and he's also turned into a great scorer and distributor. This will be a tough matchup for the Kings but I wouldn't be surprised to see them throw some of the schemes they threw at Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan yesterday at Wall and see how he reacts to them.
Kings 109, Wizards 103. I think this is a game the Kings will really, really want to win and they'll come out with some good effort on both ends of the court.