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Kings vs. Warriors Preview: A rare meaningful matchup

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With the Warriors and Kings both posting winning records, this is a matchup that matters for once.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In the 30+ years that the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors have co-existed in Northern California, 2018 is the first time that both teams meet in the regular season while actually being good. There have been plenty of games where both teams were awful, or where one team was great and the other bad, but even though they’re still not on even footing (The Warriors are still the favorites to win another title while the Kings remain upstarts at best), this is now a matchup that matters.

Let’s talk Kings basketball!

When: Friday, December 14th, 7:00 PM PST

Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

The first time these two matched up this season, the Kings nearly got the best of the Warriors and were one wedgie away from leaving Oakland with a win. That loss stung, because for most of the game the Kings were playing better. The Warriors were without Draymond Green or Steph Curry, but they still had Kevin Durant (44 points) and Klay Thompson (31 points) to carry the load.

Both Green and Curry will be back tonight, and the Warriors are just a completely different team with those guys around. Curry is having a season for the ages, shooting 48.9% from three on 10.6 attempts a game. You might have heard about the 50/40/90 club, but Steph is legitimately flirting with the 50/50/90 club and on an incredible volume. He is the best shooter the NBA has ever seen, and it isn’t even close.

While the Kings will be hyped up for this game due in part to the bitterness of the last defeat, the Warriors will also be looking to get back on the right track after suffering an embarrassing 20 point loss on Wednesday to a Toronto Raptors squad that didn’t even play Kawhi Leonard. The Warriors had one of their worst shooting games of the season, going just 6 for 26. Curry himself was just 2-8 from distance and 3-12 overall, scoring 10 points.

The Kings aren’t nearly as good defensively as the Raptors and they’ll have a tough time withstanding the multiple threats Golden State possesses. Pace has been Sacramento’s strength, but even though the Warriors are only 15th in the league in pace this year, they have plenty of experience running up and down the court.

The Kings are coming off one of their best shooting performances ever, setting a franchise record 19 three pointers against the Timberwolves on Wednesday. They won’t need to match that effort to keep it close with the Warriors, but they should still embrace the long ball. The Kings are currently the best three point shooting team in the NBA in terms of accuracy, and the volume has gone up as well, as they’ve shot just over 30 threes a game over their last 7 games.

Yogi Ferrell was key to Sacramento’s victory against the Timberwolves, scoring 17 points off the bench on 5-6 shooting. He has claimed the backup point guard spot for now, and it will be interesting to see if he can keep that production up after spending so much of the season on the bench. Sacramento will need strong performances from its supporting cast in order to beat a team like the Warriors.

Prediction

Kings down 2. Five seconds left. Ball gets thrown in to De’Aaron Fox. Curry is guarding him. Fox dribbles, dribbles, pulls up for three... and starts moonwalking back to the halfcourt line as the buzzer sounds and the shot goes through the net for the win.

Kings 126, Warriors 125