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Kings vs. Jazz Preview: DeMarcus Cousins returns to line-up for Sunday's contest against Utah

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With the Sacramento Kings now in a downward spiral and seven games out of the eight seed, they can now only hope to play spoiler to the few teams they face that do have something to play for. One of those teams is Sunday afternoon's opponent, the Utah Jazz. With the Jazz only 2.5 games out of the playoffs and with teams like the Rockets and Mavericks currently doing all they can to help Utah get in, the Jazz come into their contest with Sacramento playing for something. The Kings on the other hand, have their paychecks and the knowledge that in 18 games, the ups and downs of the 2015-2016 season will be behind them. This game can be seen on CSN-CA, can be heard on KHTK 1140 and begins at 3pm PST. Let's talk Kings basketball.

A Few Things to Consider:

The Utah Jazz By the Numbers: With less than 20 games to go, their are no surprise teams left in an NBA schedule. Teams are what they are, and the Utah Jazz are a team that while beatable, are a better team than the Sacramento Kings this season. The Jazz are the 28th highest scoring team in league, averaging a hair under 98 points a game, and allow the third fewest points in the league at 97.3 points per game. They're last in the league in pace, second to last in field goals attempted and made, and are in the bottom third in the league in two pointers attempted, made and two point percentage and also, in turnovers. On the defensive end, they give up the 4th fewest opponent field goals, and are third best in opponent field goals attempted. They're also 11th in the league in opponent 3 point makes, and 4th in opponent 3 pointers attempted, but only 23rd in three point percentage at over 36% a game.

A Dream Deferred: Flashing back to January 23rd, the Kings had just gotten their fifth victory in a row, the playoffs were in sight and the team looked very much like it had beginnings of something in its midst's. Then came a double OT loss to the Charlotte Hornets, and then a tired loss to Portland the next night and then 14 more losses with only 5 wins scattered in between. The Kings aren't going to the playoffs, their coach won't be coming back next season and they never did figure it out, or turn it around or get out of their own way. Tension between different factions of the Kings has become so thick and hostile it resembles Steve Ballmer at a speaking engagement.  So, with 18 games left, where does a franchise as disappointing as the Kings, with owners, management, coaching, players and fans pushed to the limits of frustration, go from here? What do they have left to work for?

Odds and Ends:

This game sees no returning Kings, however it does see former Reno Bighorn, Erick Green, in action. Green averaged over 27 points per game in 31 games for the Bighorns, where he shot 46.7% from behind the arc on 6.8 attempts per game.

Ben McLemore is again questionable for Sunday's game with a non-displaced fracture of his right ring finger.

Prediction: The Kings do the fans some favors by showing up to Sunday's game. Seth and Marco hit trey after trey,Willie Cauley-Stein's defense makes Rudy Gobert look less like "The Stifle Tower" and more like a rusted oil derrick and DeMarcus and Vlade and George Karl come out at half time to address the fans, saying they'll be shelvin' their differences till the off season! Sacramento wins; Kings 109, Jazz 104.

For the other side of things, please see our friends at SLC Dunk.