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Kings vs Bucks Preview: Kings look to stop the skid in Milwaukee

Looking to snap a three game losing streak, the Sacramento Kings look to take on the Bucks in Milwaukee.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Sacramento Kings Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

After a rather frustrating loss in Orlando to the Magic, the Kings continue on their five game road trip to Milwaukee, home of Schlitz Beer, Harley-Davidson and the Frankenstein’s Monster that Coach Jason Kidd is currently shaping the Bucks into being. At 3-2, the Bucks are without starting shooting guard, Khris Middleton for most, if not all, of the season but still have plenty of talented and lengthy youth to beat a Sacramento Kings team that is still trying to figure out the team it wants to be. With Toronto looming on a back-to-back on Sunday night, this will be the Kings last, best shot at winning even a single game on this road trip. Strap in, folks. This could get bumpy. Let’s talk Kings basketball.

When: November 5th, 5:00 pm PST

Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, CSN-CA, KHTK Sports 1140

A Few Things to Consider:

The Bucks Stop Here: It’s hard to pinpoint the more frustrating parts of this Kings road trip; their regression defensively or the lack of rebounding at important moments in the game. Defensively, something just feels off. Now, maybe it can be chalked up to teams doing their homework on this new Kings defense and figuring out just how to attack the weak points or maybe the habits of coaches old have stuck with the players and they’re still in the process of exorcising them out of being. But, the lack of intensity and myriad of little problems continue to frustrate. The Kings are still in the lower half of the league in terms of opponent’s three point attempts. The Kings give up more free throws per game than every team in the NBA but one. Closing out to the three point line, and defending without fouling. These are items that are fundamental to the game of basketball, and are still being neglected in part by Sacramento Kings defenders.

The other issue here is with rebounding. If I had told you that the Kings only lost the rebounding battle against Orlando by five on Thursday night, would you have believed me? What if I said, Ty Lawson had seven rebounds, including three offensive in 35 minutes against Orlando while Willie Cauley-Stein had one rebound, none offensive in just 11 less minutes. Would that seem plausible? It seems like early on in the season the Kings are struggling with rebounding the ball, but especially in situations where they really, really might need it. The defense will lock in, force an important miss in the waning minutes of the game, only to have an offensive rebound by the opposing team. Those missed opportunities are run killers and comeback killers and the Kings are beging to feel like the NBA equivalent of the robots from Westworld, whose sole purpose is to play 48 minutes of close, frustrating basketball before being murdered in new and grotesque ways by whatever team is paying money to play them.

Point Guard Watch; Game 7: Hey, have you started checking your calendar as to when Darren Collison is coming back? Has this current backslide got you antsy as to when he might be available and this segment can finally be taken out back behind the wood shed? Tuesday; hes back on Tuesday. In the meantime, however, Ty Lawson is still there and will spend Saturday night matching up against Matthew Dellavedova, a pesky Australian point guard who moved from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Bucks in the offseason. In the first five games of the season Dellavedova is averaging over 10 points for the first time in his career, and shooting 48.8% from the field and 35.7% from three in a career high 29.8 minutes per game. Known for being a scrappy defender, Dellavedova will bring a good difference in height against Ty Lawson, but not nearly as much as the oft talked about point forward/point guard/human Swiss Army Knife, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Coach Jason Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks made a big splash in the off-season when they announced that Giannis would be the starting point guard for the Bucks moving forward, and while he’s lining up in the Small Forward and Shooting Guard spots a bit more often, the Bucks are trying pretty damn hard to lure Vivek across the country with talk of “positionless basketball”. Antetokounmpo can play wherever the hell he pleases and is currently posting a line of 24 points, 9 rebounds and leads the team with 6.4 assists a game, so whatever! He’s a point guard. I’m talking about him. I don’t see many situations in which Giannis is playing in a primary ballhandler’s role and ends up being guarded by Ty Lawson. In a situation like that, some switching will have to occur, but even then, we’re talking Tony Snell as their starting shoot guard at 6’7 and hoping that it’s more of a good shooting night for the 6’4, Matthew Dellavedova. Ty might end up getting pulled all together. The Bucks are a living breath and beautiful team of mismatches. I hate them for it.

Prediction: Coach Dave Joerger sneaks down a barren concrete hallway, slides into a room with four glass walls and grabs a tablet from the stack. It reads “Kings: Defensive Measurements” and as he slides the meter labeled Intensity from 35% to 125%, he cracks a smile. “Not today, Adam Silver... not today”. He places the tablet back into the stack, and grabs a foam Cheesehead hat and Brewers jersey before re-entering the general area of the park.

Somewhere in Milwaukee, a group of 15 or so basketball players stand frozen in a public area. A mother and child pass by the spectacle holding an orange balloon, and as he peers up into the soulless eyes of DeMarcus Cousins, he notices something. It isn’t humanity, but it’s something. The balloon pops and it startles the child. Bits of the rubber cling to the hands of Willie Cauley-Stein, still frozen but in a different stance than just a second ago. The child begins to cry, and is led away by his bewildered mother and as the little boy peers back from a distance, he can just see the heads of all 15 players turn at once, and one, Willie Cauley-Stein, begins to wag his finger. The sounds of “not in my house” are lost on the frigid breeze.

Kings: 107, Bucks: 102