It’s the last game of the first month of the season and the Kings are getting all dressed up to run around Indianapolis and steal some sweet, sweet W’s from a better than advertised Pacers team. Currently sitting at 3-3 in the Eastern Conference with team anchor Myles Turner having only played in the opener, the Pacers have been getting it done with their mix of youth and experience. Victor Oladipo has gone from trade fodder to high point man, and through six games is averaging 25.5 points a game on 47% from deep and 51.5% from the field, fellow trade piece Domantas Sabonis is averaging 13 points and 10.2 rebounds and former Sacramento Kings point guard Darren Collison comes in averaging 14.3 points and 8 assists to boot. This is gonna be a quick preview today; I’ve got bolts in my neck that need replacing, and villagers to terrorize. Happy Halloween! May all your neighborhood kids be friendly, and may all the people who turned their lights out early on the neighborhood kids get their TV sets stuck on QVC forever.
When: 4 pm PST, October 31st
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse; Indianapolis, Indiana
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
Sugar High or Sugar Coma?: I’m going to admit a dirty little secret to you; I was driving north from a weekend in Sacramento when the game tipped off on Sunday, and from what I’ve heard, read and seen of the game, staring ahead at that never ending stretch of I-5 was about as exciting and rewarding as the game was. Bad games happen. Maybe Dave Joerger was teaching his fans and detractors a lesson; we all wanted that youthful lineup and he gave it to us in all of its stinky glory. But here’s the thing; even after they crashed and burned against a really good Wizards team, do you want to see them out on the floor together any less? Kings fans signed up for a bad season, many welcomed it as a two fold path to the top of next years draft and to getting our young ones accustomed to life in the NBA meat grinder.
Tuesday night against the Pacers, I want to see that exact same starting group out on the floor. I want to see the response to adversity, the piss and vinegar in their veins. De’Aaron Fox had his first game of complete ineptitude, how big is the chip on his wirey shoulders after an off-night? Can Buddy final snap out of his slump against a Victor Oladipo who is quickly rising to stardom this season? We’re here for the highest highs and the lowest lows as Kings fans, so just rest George and Zach one more night... Please?
Matchup of the Game
Victor Oladipo vs. Buddy Hield vs. A Massive Slump: It’s been possibly the biggest surprise of the young season, but Mr. Oladipo has wasted no time in making Indy fans get over the loss of All-Star Paul George. Last year, Oladipo seemed to languish in the roll of young sidekick to Russell Westbrook; the Robin to a Batman who only let you catch a bad guy after he’d broken the guys arms and ribs. Now in his own personal Bludhaven, Victor “Totally Not Stretching This Metaphor Any Longer” Oladipo has flourished; 25.5 points on 51.5% field goal percentage for a 6’4 shooting guard is great, almost certainly unsustainable, but great even for a six game stretch. Adding 1.8 steals, .7 blocks and 4.5 rebounds to boot is just a huge heap of cherries on top of the sundae.
So, Buddy, how you gonna keep up? What was once hyped to be his breakout season by many has been pretty much a flop so far. At 11.3 points on 37.0% field goal shooting and a terrible 25% from deep, his sophomore slump has him cast in the role of Buddy “Unrequited” Love. The Kings need Buddy to go out and hit shots just about every single game to ever have a chance at winning anything in the NBA and Tuesday night is no different. Best case scenario: Oladipo’s hot streak rubs off on Buddy a bit; maybe a duel of young guns can spark Buddy back to the smooth shooter we know and love. If nothing else, Buddy’s Indiana matchup is proof of how quickly things turn in this league; one second you’re the young centerpiece of a disappointing trade for a disgruntled star, and the next you’re on your way to an All-Star bid on a wild, super hot streak. Hmmm... Sounds almost familiar.
Prediction: Bojan Bogdanovic and Bogdan Bogdanovic will be the high point men tonight, leading their teams into a tight game. Time and time again, Bojan and Bogdan Bogdanovic will score, or pass for a bucket, or grab a rebound. In the fourth, after trading threes with one another, Grant Napear will begin to yell out the name of the young rookie guard before letting out a loud squeal of pain. The Kings will rally behind their wounded Peaches, and get the victory. Grant Napear: Out, Sprained Lips. 2-4 weeks.
Kings 105, Pacers 101