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Kings vs. Jazz Preview: Sacramento looks to bring the heat on Sauce Castillo night

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sauce Castillo night! The Kings are holding a promotional night for the latest sensation and hopefully can beat the visiting Utah Jazz as well. Tonight's game tips off at 6:00 pm Pacific on CSN California and KHTK Sports 1140.


1. Quick, who has the number one defense in the NBA since the All-Star break?  It's the Utah Jazz, and it's not even close.  The Jazz have a defensive rating of 93.1 since the break, a full five points per 100 possessions better than the second best team, the Golden State Warriors.  Why the sudden change into a defensive juggernaut?  Rudy Gobert's insertion into the starting lineup has been perhaps the biggest factor.  Gobert is leading the league in block rate at 7.2% and is also allowing just 46.7% on shots less than 6 ft to the basket.

2. Rudy Gay has once again been ruled out of action for tonight's game as he adheres to concussion protocol.  The Kings will need multiple players to step up offensively like they did against New Orleans.  However it can't just be on the offensive end;  Sacramento's defense cost them the game against the Pelicans, particularly with how many open threes New Orleans got.  The Jazz aren't a prolific three point shooting team, but give them open looks and they can still punish you.

3.  Thanks to their big frontcourt, the Jazz are a very good offensive rebounding team, the best in the league in fact.  With the Kings playing small ball as of late (including lineups that see Carl Landry, not a good rebounder, at PF), they have been giving up more second chance points despite getting some solid defensive stops.  It will be interesting to see if Carl opts for a more traditional lineup against Utah's size.


Rudy Gobert vs. DeMarcus Cousins

As mentioned above, Gobert is a huge factor for the Jazz and he's going to be going up directly against DeMarcus Cousins (although I also could see Favors spending a lot of time on Cousins to allow Gobert to roam on the weakside).  Cousins is going to have to be even more wary than usual of trying to force shots at the rim and of kicking it to the open man out of double and triple teams.  He's been doing a great job of that lately (see back-to-back triple doubles) and will need to continue to do so.  It might also be good to try to establish an outside jumper early to pull Gobert away from the rim, although getting Gobert in foul trouble would be even better.


They call Gobert the "Stifle Tower",
a testament to his blocking power.
But we have Boogie.
He'll give ya a noogie,
and then your team he will devour.


Kings 105, Jazz 98 after Rudy Gobert accidentally is handed a cup of Sauce Castillo instead of his Gatorade and is forced to leave the game afterwards.