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Kings vs. Bucks Preview: Back home at last, but can the Kings win without Cousins?

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Oh boy.  Here were are just a week removed from the Kings being on a five game win streak and now they're staring a five game losing streak in the face.  Not only that, but the Kings will probably be without DeMarcus Cousins, who sprained his ankle against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.  Tip-off's at 7 p.m. Pacific time on CSN California and KHTK 1140.

Three Things

1. Who contributes without Cousins in the game?  DeMarcus Cousins is a huge part of Sacramento's gameplan to the point where I'm not sure if this team knows how to play without him.  The team is significantly worse with him off the floor and they're just 1-7 with him out of the lineup.  Of course, that only win came against this very Milwaukee Bucks team.  Still, the Kings will need to get much more well-rounded contributions with the big man out.

2. Who starts for Ben McLemore?  The Kings starting shooting guard could miss the first game of his career with a sprained right wrist (currently listed as questionable).  This is a rare opportunity for the Kings to try something different at a position that hasn't been very productive all year.  My bet is the Kings will end up starting James Anderson for his defense and keep Marco Belinelli coming off the bench.

3. Can the Kings get off to a good start?  Sacramento's most recent losses during this losing streak have come in part due to terrible starts.  In a game they lost to Memphis by 4, they were outscored by 14 in the first quarter.  In a game they lost to the Pelicans by 9, they were outscored by 18.  Sacramento has to stop digging themselves an early hole.

Matchup of the Game

Kosta Koufos vs. Greg Monroe

With Cousins out we'll be seeing a lot of minutes for Kosta Koufos.  Kosta hasn't been particularly productive lately, something that can be said for the Kings bench as a whole.  He has a good matchup here with Monroe, a classic post player who is also defensively deficient on the other end.  The Kings should take advantage of Monroe's slow feet to get some pick and roll action going with Rondo on Koufos.  On the other end I think Kosta will be able to hold his own as this is a matchup suited to his abilities as a post defender.

Prediction

Kings 109, Bucks 101 as Rajon Rondo notches another triple double and Rudy Gay drops in 30+.