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Kings vs. Nets Preview: Clash of the Titans

Two NBA heavyweights duke it out.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Brooklyn Nets Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously the title of this preview is a joke as the Kings and Nets are both looking up at most of the rest of the NBA. The Nets hold the NBA’s worst record by a country-mile at 9-49 and have lost 16 in a row. The Kings are 1-2 since trading DeMarcus Cousins but have seen their offensive efficiency take a nosedive in the last two games.

But the Nets are even worse off than the Kings because they don’t control the fate of their draft pick. That pick is owned by the Boston Celtics, who acquired it in the deal that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn. The Nets thought they’d be competing for a title, and now they’re at the bottom of the NBA barrel. Let this be a warning to any team attempting to cash in future picks for a short term fix. Oh what’s that you say? Sacramento’s pick in 2019 is completely unprotected and owed to Philadelphia? Why’d you bring that up, this is why nobody invites you anywhere.

On to tonight’s game.

When: 7:30 P.M. PST

Where: Golden 1 Center, CSN-CA and Sports 1140 KHTK

Three Keys

  • Get Buddy Hield involved early. Buddy is supposed to be a big part of this team’s future, but the Kings did a miserable job of getting him involved in the offense on Monday against the Timberwolves. Buddy finished the game with just 7 total FGA, 4 of which came in garbage time. The Kings need to be freeing Buddy up for some catch and shoot opportunities. Both Charlotte and Minnesota packed the paint on the Kings to try to prevent them from dominating the paint like they did against Denver, so Sacramento needs to punish that with outside shooting. Buddy, for his part, also needs to be more aggressive when he does have the ball.
  • #FreeSkal. The Kings young rookie big man has been a nice surprise since the Cousins trade, but he hasn’t played nearly enough. If the Kings are going to be struggling anyway, at least let the young guy play and learn against some of the NBA’s best. I’d also like to see Skal maybe test his range out to the three point line; Adding a consistent three point shot to his game will be crucial in today’s NBA.
  • Defend the perimeter. The Nets love to push the pace (#1 in the NBA this season) and they also love to shoot the three ball. New coach Kenny Atkinson is taking the lessons he learned with the Hawks and trying to apply them to this roster. While the talent nor the results are the same, the Nets still chuck up a ton of threes (4th in 3P attempt rate). The Kings have been bad at defending the perimeter all year and one way a team that isn’t doing so great can get going is if they get hot from outside. The Kings can’t let that happen if they want to win. He’s only averaging about 3 attempts a game for the season. I’d like to see that closer to 4 or 5.

Matchup of the Game

Darren Collison vs. Jeremy Lin

The Nets don’t have a ton of scoring threats but Jeremy Lin might be their most potent while Brook Lopez is their most consistent. The Nets have been without Lin for most of the season due to various injuries. Lin’s a bigger guard who has given the Kings trouble in the past and as evidenced by “Linsanity” can blow up for some big games every now and then. This will be a tough matchup for Darren but he should be able to utilize his quickness on the other end to get by Lin, who isn’t a great defender. I’d also like to see Collison be more aggressive with his three point shot, as he’s the team’s best three point shooter but has taken just 7 total attempts in the three games since Cousins was traded.