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Kings vs. Magic Preview: Sacramento still looking for first win of road trip

After a heartbreaker in Miami, the Kings will look to rebound against a young and tough Orlando Magic squad!

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Orlando Magic Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

After a heartbreaking (and somewhat controversial) overtime loss to the Miami Heat, the Kings are now set to take on a revamped Orlando squad looking to make some noise early on in their conference. Led by a newly signed head coach Frank Vogel, the Magic will look to win by bringing an identity of defense and toughness, with just about as little scoring as possible. With the Kings only three games away from getting Darren Collison back from an eight game suspension, Sacramento comes into Thursday night’s game a single game under .500, a mark they’ll need to hover around all year if they want to make the playoffs. Let’s talk Kings basketball.

When: Thursday, November 3rd, 4 pm PST

Where: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida; CSN-CA, KHTK Sports 1140 am

A Few Things to Consider:

Composure Poser: It’s early on in the season and yet Kings fans are already witness to DeMarcus Cousins and the duality of his stardom. He’s an absolute stud on the court. The combination of skill, shooting and power for a big guy is amazing, but having said this a couple of games ago, it’s only gotten more pressing of late: the only center who can take DeMarcus Cousins out of the game is, DeMarcus Cousins. I’m not sure how many Kings fan have expected DeMarcus’ temper to dissipate entirely, but with time, I’m sure many had assumed it would smooth out. This isn’t to say he isn’t entirely without improvement. Example: in the game in Miami, and in the midst of being called for one of a couple bogus calls in that fourth quarter, DeMarcus decided that instead of arguing, he would take himself for a nice sprint down to the other end of the court. Beautiful! Perfect! Do that right there, everytime!

The fire DeMarcus Cousins possesses for the game of basketball is the thing that makes him great. It’s why he can name the guys taken above him in the draft, it’s why he can keep himself clean enough to retweet some idiot who had predicted he’d end up in prison five years after the fact. But that passion is so entangled now with his play style that his ability to be refereed in any objective way is being choked out. Is he is the hardest player in the NBA to referee fairly? Yes, but not just for the frequency and severity of the contact he creates, but for the environment around the calls he, and all Kings fan, would expect him to get. This topic has been touched on numerous times in previous years, and it would be a shame if the complicated nuances of one human being, being broken down by another human being we’re taken so heavy handed. I’m stuck somewhere in the middle with DeMarcus; equally frustrated at the lack of proper officiating as I am with the body language that helps others (maybe even the refs) justify the denial of that type of officiating. He’s five games into the season, and averaging just under five fouls a game, with three technicals. Something’s gotta give, right?

Point Guard Watch, Game Six: When first assessing the schedule, and the approach that coach Dave Joerger and Ty Lawson would have to take to keep the Kings in any of these first eight games, I think I passed over just how many point guards the Kings would face that aren’t the shooters that point guards are expected to be nowadays. Ricky Rubio, Dennis Schröder, and now Thursday night’s flavor, Elfrid “Wait, So The King’s Didn’t Pick Him, Why?” Payton. Known much more for his passing than his shooting, Elfrid hasn’t started this season off anywhere close to proving his detractors wrong, shooting 43.4% percent from the field and just a hair over 18% from the three point line. This is a guy that Ty Lawson can have fun guarding in a defensive scheme like Joerger’s. Payton’s back up, is DJ Augustin, a journeyman point guard now in his nineth year in the league and looking to get comfortable with yet another team. In the four games so far this season, Augustin has shot his career average of 40% from the field but has taken a dive so far from behind the arc, shooting under 29% nearly eight percentage points lower than his season average. Augustin is going to be looking for an opponent to light up, and in previous years, you could bet good money that he would have himself a career night against the boys in purple. Even thinking back to the last few games, the Kings haven’t done a good job of running opposing players off of the three point line. So strap in, because this could go either way.

Prediction: DeMarcus Cousins sees the basket of big men he gets to put into foul trouble and faints in delight, so Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos start the game. Ty Lawson will attempt zero shots in the first half, but because he isn’t being aggressive, he just can’t see over Elfrid Payton’s glorious head of hair. With 15 seconds left and the victory secured, DeMarcus will be called for the rare, triple foul. Orlando will go down and shoot six free throws. DeMarcus will come out of the game, throw on his warm up shirt and for doing so, he will be assessed a second triple foul, and will foul out of the game with only a few seconds having run off the clock. After another six free throws, the Kings will still be victorious:

Kings 100, Magic 94