After another frustrating loss, this time at the hands of the Chicago Bulls, the Sacramento Kings hit the road for the next two weeks. Their first chance at a win comes in their meeting at the Barclays Center against the hapless Brooklyn Nets. Currently the second worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Nets have already let go of their head coach, lost their starting point guard for the season, and lost their promising rookie for an extended period of time. If ever there was a game that the Sacramento Kings should absolutely win, it is against the Nets. They're that bad. Please, please let them win. This game will be featured on CSN-CA, can be heard on KHTK 1140 and begins at 4:30pm. Lets talk Kings basketball.
By the Numbers:
The Brooklyn Nets are a bad basketball team. They are "won 2 of their last 17 games" bad. That being said, they are also a team that has a tendency to show up for games against clearly better opponents. Of their 12 wins, two have come against the Rockets, two against the Celtics, one against the Atlanta Hawks, one against the Bulls, one against the Heat, one against the Thunder and one against the Pistons. Those are wins against five of the eight playoff teams in the East, and two in the West. They also took both the Warriors and Mavericks to overtime this season. Again, the Nets are bad, but not a team that can't sneak in a win against a team looking beyond them on the schedule. Even in their first matchup of the year against the Kings, Sacramento needed 40 points from DeMarcus Cousin to win by a single bucket.
Luckily for the Kings, that first meeting between them and the Nets was early on in the season, only a few games removed from the now infamous team meeting. At this point in the season, teams should know what they are, what they have, and generally where they're headed (the 2015-2016 Sacramento Kings excluded). Brooklyn's numbers show a team that can't really do very much at an elite level. For example, the Sacramento Kings seem to give up roughly a thousand threes a game, and usually to unknowns. Brooklyn this year is seemingly allergic to the three point line. They're 27th in three pointers attempted, 28th in three pointers made, and 27th in three point percentage at a hair over 32% as a team from beyond the arch. Usually, bad three point shooting teams mean bad offensive teams in general and this Brooklyn Nets team doesn't attempt to buck that trend. The Nets are the second worst scoring team in the league, scoring just 95.6 a contest. The Nets are 5th in the league in two point makes, 2nd in the league in two pointers attempted, but are just 22nd in the league in two point percentage. If the Nets offense sticks to those numbers, the Friday night forecast may call for a hurricane made solely of bricks to come sweeping through the Barclays Center.
The defensive end for the Brooklyn Nets doesn't look to be much better. Currently, the Nets are the third worst team in the league in how many field goals they give up every contest, and what percentage their opponents shoot. They're also 22nd in the league in steals, 26th in the league in blocked shots, and on average, allow teams to hit over nine threes a game, good for 26th in the league. A Kings squad that comes out focused (and healthy) should be able to feast in just about all areas of this game. But games where a focused Kings squad comes to play can sometimes be like trying to find a Brooklyn cabbie in favor of Uber drivers. They're out there, but they're rare.
Odds and Ends:
This game features the return of a former King: power forward Thomas Robinson, the #5 pick from the 2012 draft. Thomas Robinson was one of about a hundred forwards brought in to supplant Jason Thompson, and wasn't even given a full season in Sacramento before being dropped to Houston for Patrick Patterson. On the speculative side, rumor has it that Thomas Robinson was also the player that drew former GM Geoff Petrie's eye away from drafting some point guard named Damian Lillard during the 2012 NBA Draft.
Paul Westphal would have been the second King on this list if he had not decided to quit when Lionel Hollins was fired. He was head coach for just over two season for the Kings, winning 51 games and amassing 120 losses in the final years of the Maloof's Reign of Ineptitude. His dismissal came on the heel of multiple dust-ups with DeMarcus Cousins including an odd suspension-but-not and the rumors of trade demands from the now All-Star center. Here's to hoping that Coach Westphal has found his next excursion into basketball more peaceful, but the split seemed for the best for both him and the team.
DeMarcus is an overflowing river that consumes a babbling brook, Rondo a snake sliding between the reeds and Willie a massive bird of pray picking off any lark in midair that comes his way: Kings 120, Nets: 105.
For the other side of the things, please visit NetsDaily.