It’s the third game in four nights for the Kings and the Young Kings are in South Beach for a game in which they’ll have to contend with frozen iguana car wrecks, the undefeated Miami night life, and a Mose from The Office impersonator just to get in the arena. Come game time, Sacramento will be head to head and clipboard to clipboard with an Erik “Sneaky Hard Name to Spell” Spo-els-stra team and coaching staff that does more-with-less, more than any team in the league and squeezing talent out of players like a Buddy Hield - DeMarcus Cousins howdy-do. The Heat have found a way to extract talent from the most bizzare and random players, turning waiver wires and G-League players into rotation worthy players and actual bonafide stars cough Hassan Whiteside cough, and this year has been no different. Come see
Beno Udrih 2.0 Goran Dragic dip, dodge, duck, dive, and dodge his way to a 20-10 game, but stay to watch a Kings draft pick grab 25 boards tonight, cough Hassan Whiteside cough. Let’s talk Kings basketball.
When: Thursday, January 25th; 4:30 pm PST
Where: American Airlines Arena; Miami, FL
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
The Miami Connection: This Spoelstra led Miami Heat team is going to be a case of feast or famine for the Kings; just as likely to blow us out by 35 as they are to let us wiggle our way into a double overtime victory. Gone are the days of the Lebron-Wade-Bosh supernova of offense potential, and instead, anchored by nearly-superstars Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, this iteration of the Heat roots itself firmly on the defensive end. Sporting the 10th best defensive rating in the NBA, the Heat hold opponents to the fourth lowest scoring average in the NBA at 101.8 points per game. Teams that play against the Heat shoot the fourth lowest amount of field goals per game, keeping teams to the third and seventh lowest three and two point attempts, respectively. They’re also sixth in the league in blocked shots, with Whiteside smacking 1.9 shots a game just by himself. All that good stuff being said, there are still holes in the Heat’s jib. For one, they’re a fairly bad rebounding team: 27th in offensive rebounds, 16th in defensive boards and 21st in total rebounds. They also register the 7th least amount of steals in the NBA and just north of NBA average at 14th in the league in fouls.
Remember how like two minutes ago I said that the Heat root themselves firmly in defense? It’s because they’re nearly Kings level trash on the offensive end. This season has Miami in the bottom three in the league in scoring average at just a fraction over 100 points per game, while also playing at the third slowest pace in the league. Woof, its going to be one of those games. I can sense some optimism coming from inside you about the Kings chances tonight, so let me just scooch you back away from the edge of your seat for a moment: the Heat attempt the eighth most threes per game in the NBA, and hit 36.4% of them, 13th in the league. When run through my Opponent’s Hypothesis on Kings’ Related Attempts & Percentages, the Heat are estimated to hit 16+ three pointers while shooting 45% from long range. That ain’t good. The Kings luck out a bit in that Miami draws the third least amount of free throws in the league, and is in the bottom ten in terms of percentage.
Basically what we have here is a team that’s a small step up from the Kings on the offensive end, with similar weaknesses and strengths while being a massive improvement on the defensive end. They’re coached by one of the very best in the league, living in an area conducive to ... pre-game extra curriculars and have players hungry to win every single night. Again, feast or famine tonight. This could get ugly quick.
Prediction: It’s a FEAST, baby! De’Aaron Fox runs in and out of the Speed Force all night, Willie shows he can handle muscle and strength by using his speed and IQ, and Bogdan bounces back from a poor shooting night by going for 20 & 7 assists. Hassan Whiteside hides all of his beloved goldfish in a tank in his mansion after hearing there was a fox somewhere in Miami.
Kings: 97, Heat 92