Man, this is going to be a painful game to watch.
On the one hand, you have the fact that a young, inexperienced Kings team is going up against the best team in the NBA that has won their last four games by an average of 24 points.
But mainly it’s because we have to watch Matt Barnes again. At least we have solace in the fact that it’s not in a Kings uniform.
Barnes, for what it’s worth, feels the same way. It’s a mutual disrespect.
Matt Barnes on facing his former team, Sacramento: "I’m trying to kill 'em. Simple. Things didn’t go well there. They’re the enemy now."— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) March 23, 2017
To be fair to Barnes, it’s only expected that he should try to harm the Kings as much while he’s on the other team as he did when he was on the team.
But enough about Barnes. I’m glad to be rid of him, and I know many in the fanbase feel the same way (although some do not). On to the Kings.
This is not a winnable game for Sacramento, and I wouldn’t expect it to be even if the Warriors decided to rest their entire starting lineup (and considering they haven’t played since March 21st, I doubt they will).
But for Sacramento’s youth, this is another tough test. After facing the length of Milwaukee, they now face the experience of Golden State. For Buddy Hield, it’s a chance to see up close and personal two guys who he could learn a lot from in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
For Skal Labissiere, it will be a tough test again after having to deal with Giannis Antetokounmpo to now going up against Draymond Green, an even better defender. Skal struggled to deal with the Greek Freak’s length, and now he’ll face someone who’s stronger and more skilled on that end. I expect him to struggle, but it’s something he’ll have to learn to deal with. Part of that growth will be getting stronger himself so he’s not so easily pushed around.
For big George, I would urge him to just try to not think so darn much and just be aggressive. After a couple promising games in a row, he had a really bad game against the Milwaukee Bucks, hesitating far too often at the cost of several potentially easy buckets if he had simply gone up strong instead of gathering himself or taking an extra dribble. That’s a common bad habit for a lot of big men in their youth, but one he needs to rid himself of quickly.
We also could be seeing the return of Malachi Richardson, who was the only Kings rookie to really see any playing time before the trade deadline. He unfortunately go injured right before the All-Star break, coincidentally against this same Warriors team. If he does come back, it will be interesting to see how Coach Joerger handles his playing time and where he plays him. Could we see Malachi play more at SF while Buddy gets the majority of the SG minutes? I’m sure that will be the case for at least part of the time.
Tip-off’s at 7:30 p.m. Go Kings.