After a nice little vacation from the game they so desperately love to make us hate-watch, the Sacramento Kings are back in action tonight in Denver, as they take coach Mike Malone’s 6th seeded Nuggets squad. Coming into tonight’s affair at 21-17, the Nuggets are in the midst of a hot streak, having won five of their last seven contests. If you’re a huge Paul Millsap fan, you should probably sit this out; the guy is out for at least a couple of months after surgery on his wrist. George Hill is also not expected to play this game, as he is awaiting the birth of his second child. Congratulations George! Let’s talk Kings basketball!
When: Saturday, January 6th; 7:00 pm PST
Where: Golden 1 Center; Sacramento, CA
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
Some Games Are Diamonds... Some games are stones, sometimes the hard times won’t leave the Kings alone. Lately, the Kings have had a tough go of it, and the only soft thing in their general vicinity is their defense. Having lost five of their last six games, the Kings have fallen down the two rungs of progress they’d managed to climb on their endless ladder to success, and are again on their backs on the NBA cellar floor. The Kings aren’t just losing during this stretch, they’re giving up nasty gobs of points in the process. In their five losses, Kings opponents are averaging 117.2 points while the Kings have mustered just 100.4 points in those same contests. Lest we forget, these aren’t losses to the Warriors and Rockets of the NBA world; San Antonio is the only team in that group that can even claim to have a solid lock on the playoffs. The others: Clippers, Suns, Grizzlies and Hornets. These are going to be lottery teams (don’t @ me about the Clippers). So, in walks the Denver Nuggets tonight who average 107.7 points per game. Whoa boy.
The Kings uphill battle starts with Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic. One of the most unique players in the NBA, the center is averaging 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists on 55-36-87 shooting splits, and is the cog by which the Denver Nuggets wheel revolves. The Nuggets don’t have a single player averaging twenty, but they have five that are averaging fifteen or more, and they’re all getting dimes from Jokic.
For the Kings to have a shot tonight, they’re going to need to contain the three point shooting of the Nuggets. They gave up approximately 55 three pointers to the league’s worst three point shooting team in their last outing, and tonight they’re going against a team that’s dangerously mediocre. Search: positives in the Kings defensive efforts. No results found. If the Kings can’t defend the three point line better than Tuesday night, they’re doomed to lose every game for the rest of this season.
(Which I guess I’m fine with. Doncic baby!)
Giles Watch: [Seeing as how the original timeline for Harry Giles return was January, and seeing as how we’ve all seemed to escape December, we can tentatively say that IF Harry is to play this season, it’ll be announced in the next month or so.] So, is Harry Giles playing tonight? No.
Prediction: Dave Joerger gives the kids control of the tank tonight, and De’Aaron Fox and Frank Mason drive it off a cliff and into the river of victory. Bogdan schools Jamaal Murray, Willie holds Jokic in check and Skal goes buck wild with 25 minutes played this game. Crazy stuff.
Kings: 104, Nuggets: 101