The Kings played what was without hyperbole the worst half of basketball in the history of western civilization during the latter part of their game against the Suns. They didn’t just blow a 21 point lead, they blew a 21 point lead in like 35 seconds versus an astronomically terrible team made up exclusively of disappointing draft picks and the players 2K generates when they can’t get all the player rights from classic teams in an arena whose name (Talking Stick Resort Arena) somehow makes me yearn for the days of Power Balance Pavilion. De’Anthony Melton hadn’t heard of De’Anthony Melton before that game, and he still managed to make us look like a G-League squad without a team affiliation. Anyways, the Pistons will come in hoping to increase the embarrassment laid forth by the lowly Suns.
When: Thursday, January 10, 7:00 PM PST
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacrament, CA
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
This is the most important stretch of the season, and if the Kings can come out of the gate and play as though they know that the playoffs are still within their grasp, they should come away with victory. The problems that they had versus Phoenix were not an albatross, but an extreme culmination of problems that have plagued them all year—their insistence on spending large portions of the game looking for that home-run play when a single will suffice, their tendency to make wrong plays at the wrong time, and Willie Cauley-Stein in general.
At 17-22, the Pistons are not far behind the Kings in term of record, so any lapses could lead to the same sloppy play that we have grown accustomed to. Despite Andre Drummond coming into the league at the exact wrong time that a player with his skill set could come in at, he is still a very good player whose dominance on the boards—he’s pulling down 15 a game coming into tonight—has been just the type of thing that’s been the team’s Achilles’ Heel on-and-off all season. The Kings’ big men (not just Willie, all of them) must be active on both the boards and on defense, or else Drummond, some made up guy I’ve never heard of, or both may dominate the glass all night and lead to the stupid second-chance buckets that we’ve grown to know and love. Blake Griffin is also out, so we can look for Drummond to take the team on his back, which old work either way for the Kings. He is not exactly Dikembe Mutombo on defense and his offense is limited, so the Kings could take advantage of this if they push the pace as well as they have shown they can. Assuming both get the minutes, tonight should be a good test for Marvin Bagley III and Harry Giles against a very solid front court.
Despite some worries with the frontcourt, the backcourt gives the Kings a clear advantage. While Buddy and De’Aaron have had good performances recently, we haven’t seen both go off during the same game in quite some time. Tonight would be a great time to see this change. I don’t need both to get to 20 points, but if both can play to their strengths and make the right decisions all game, these two, along with Bogdan Bogdanovic and Yogi Ferrell should do well against the Pistons less-than-stellar backcourt.
Kings come out at the top of their game, go up by twenty points or so, the Pistons make it a game by halftime, the Kings pull back ahead in the second half as the Pistons lose their legs.
Kings 127, Pistons 109
Last season, the Kings fell to the Pistons at home, 106-90. The silver lining of that game was that Kings legend Vince Carter surpassed Patrick Ewing on the NBA All-Time scoring list.