As the Kings continue to gaslight their fans by playing relatively well against good teams and laying stinkers against bad teams, they’ll now come face to face against with a question that has plagued them all season: can they find a way to come out and perform against a strictly mediocre team? Three games under .500 and 10th in the Eastern Conference, the Pistons come into tonight’s game with talent oozing from just about every piece on their team. Lead by coach Stan Van Gundy, the Pistons will look at tonight’s game as another step on the ladder of successes and another step closer to climbing their way out of the Eastern Conference cellar. If the Kings aren’t looking past them to Friday’s game against the Cavaliers, this should be a competitive game with two teams fighting to find that flicker of momentum. Let’s talk Kings basketball.
When: Tuesday, January 10th, 7:30pm PST
Where: Golden 1 Center, CSN-CA, KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
Kings Focus: The Pistons are a team that lack a true star at the moment and are relying on the contributions from a number of players to pull out wins every night. With seven players averaging between 16.8 and 8.4 points per game, the Pistons scoring spread means that the Kings can’t focus in on one player tonight and expect the Piston’s game plan to fall apart. In a somewhat odd coincidence, the Pistons average 100.3 points per game, and on average give up 100.3 per game to their opponents, and while they’re the 5th worst offensive team in the league this year, they’re also the 4th best in opponent’s points per game. The Pistons shoot the 7th least amount of threes, and shoot them at a 34.1% clip, so expect them to rain fire from behind the arc tonight, right? Watch for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope tonight; the guard oft compared to Ben McLemore over the years is averaging 14.7 points and 2.2 three pointers a game on 39.0% shooting and looks to breaking through the muck of his first few seasons. The Kings weaknesses at shooting guard, and their penchant for watching opposing players shoot from deep will give him the opportunities he needs to break out tonight. The Piston’s attempt more two point shots than anyone in the league, but are only 19th in percentage at 49% and are 15th in the league in points in the paint. Budding center Andre Drummond is averaging 14.9 points and 13.5 rebounds, with only 1.1 blocks per game, and it would be absolutely wild of me not to mention his historically poor free throw percentage: 45.8%. Luckily for him, the Pistons are terrible at getting to the free throw line; third worst in the league in free throw attempts, and 26th in percentage at 74.1%. Having done this a few times this season already, I’d expect if the game gets close in the fourth for Coach Joerger to use the Hack-a-Shaq strategy on Drummond to give the Kings a few extra possessions.
On the offensive side of things, the Kings aren’t going to have an easy time scoring against the Pistons. They allow the 7th least amount of three points in the NBA, though they do allow opponents to shoot 36% when they do get those shots. They hold teams to shooting under 50% from inside the arc, and they really don’t foul all that much. For a defensive team such as they are, the Pistons foul less than all by 5 teams. If DeMarcus is going to be effective, he’s going to have to get Drummond out of his zone, because even as a big guy with limited mobility, Drummond is averaging 2.8 fouls per game. His back-up Aron Baynes only average 2.1 fouls. Boogie needs to come out and make shots tonight, because if statistics hold, he won’t be shooting many free throws to make up the difference. Being 21st in steals and 24th in blocks, the Pistons are a team that plays conservative defense, but makes you work for every single on of your baskets. If the Kings can find away to bait a big guy into early foul trouble, and hit shots when the opportunity comes, they’ll have a shot in this game. If they allow the Pistons to get hot early, fans might be headed for another 4th quarter disappointment.
Prediction: This is the game that we see a decrease in Matt Barnes’ minutes and an increase in Omri’s. This is the game that we see a decrease in Matt Barnes’ minutes and an increase in Omri’s. This is the the game that we see a decrease in Ma-
Kings: 105, Pistons: 102