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Kings vs Nuggets Preview: Can Lightning Strike Twice?

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After a heartbreak to end their home stand, the Kings head to Denver to take on the only team that they have beaten since the All Star Break.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

After a heartbreaking loss at home yesterday in Overtime against the Utah Jazz, the Kings will look to regroup and face the only team they’ve managed to beat since trading DeMarcus Cousins. Sacramento whooped Denver 116-100 in their first game after the All-Star break, and Denver likely hasn’t forgotten. Willie Cauley-Stein was a monster in that game with 29 points and 10 rebounds, but he and the Kings will have a tougher go of it this time in Denver on the second night of a back-to-back.

When

6:00 PM PST

Where

Pepsi Center in Denver, CO on CSN-CA and KHTK 1140

Three Keys

  • The Kings will be without Garrett Temple tonight as the team is taking it slow and having him rest back to backs to protect his recently injured hamstring. Tyreke Evans is also not playing on back to backs and the Kings wisely staggered their rest days so that Tyreke didn’t play yesterday but will today. It will be interesting to see how the Kings offense operates with Tyreke involved rather than Temple, as Tyreke is much more dominant and not as good of a shooter. Hopefully with the practice time, Tyreke got a little more comfortable with the offense and won’t hold on to the ball as much as he did in his last three games as a King.
  • Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein were the only Kings young guns to really get significant playing time against Utah yesterday. Skal Labissiere only got two minutes and Ben McLemore was a DNP-CD with Temple back in the rotation. The matchups weren’t really favorable to Skal yesterday, but I’d like to see more of him against a Denver squad that’s a lot smaller than Utah.
  • In Sacramento’s recent win against Denver, Nikola Jokic was a complete non-factor. He scored just 4 points on 2 of 7 shooting. He followed that game up with another stinker against Brooklyn but has since rebounded with four strong performances (including two triple doubles). If the Kings hope to have a chance in this game, they’ll have to do their best to try to take Jokic out of the game like they did a couple weeks ago.

Prediction

Kosta Koufos takes advantage of the Mile High City’s thin atmosphere and starts launching half hooks from the three point line that nail nothing but net each and every time. Mike Malone pulls whatever hair he has left out of his head as he once again fails to beat the Sacramento Kings.

Kings win 114 to 109