This has been a weird road trip so far for the Sacramento Kings. They've lost to the two teams that many would have picked them to beat, and they beat the team that is currently tied for 2nd in the Eastern Conference. They finish their road trip up against Indiana, another good Eastern team, so who knows what will happen. Today's action tips off at 4:00 pm on CSN California and on KHTK 1140.
1. Is DeMarcus Cousins healthy enough to dominate? Cousins clearly is not at 100% or even 90%, but he's trying to make an effort to stay in games given that the Kings aren't a lost cause to be a threat in the West just yet. This is potentially a game where Cousins could be dominant given Indiana's relative lack of size. However, that's not a given anymore with Cousins' injury-woes. For Sacramento to have a chance I think they will need Cousins to be a dominant presence.
2. Can Sacramento contain Indiana's guards? With the addition of Monta Ellis, the Pacers have three of the NBA's best slashing guards (George Hill and Rodney Stuckey included). The Kings have been notoriously poor at stopping opposing guards this season, but they'll have to trust their big men to defend the basket and not overhelp off of three point shooters; the Pacers don't shoot a ton of threes, but they do make a very high percentage of them.
3. Can the Kings end this road trip on a positive note? A loss tonight would be a pretty disappointing end to this road trip but a win would alleviate some of the pain that losing to Washington and Minnesota caused. 2-2 on the road would be a step in the right direction for a Kings team that has not been able to win consistently away from home this year and more importantly it sets up some good momentum heading into the new year.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
Rudy Gay vs. Paul George
Paul George missed almost all of last year with a devastating leg injury suffered during Team USA training camp, but he's come back with a vengeance this year. Offensively, George has never been better, and he's still a terror on the defensive end with his combination of size, length and speed. This is a brutal matchup for Rudy Gay and the Kings need Rudy to at least keep the points margin between the two relatively close.
Kings 119, Pacers 84 because everything in my head is telling me the Kings are going to get crushed by the Pacers and yet the Kings make no sense so they'll end up crushing the Pacers.