The Kings have packed their bags and set out on the road for the next six games, seeking adventure, camaraderie and a creepy former Hobbit who was given long and unnatural life by a powerful ring to show them the way into Los Angeles by the end of the month. But before that wretched place, Sacramento has some unfinished business. For the second time in a week the Kings and the Charlotte Hornets will square up, and as each one positions themselves for a playoff push, each winnable game becomes a near must-win game. Short preview today due to power outages, and my battle with the flu and the casual hallucinations that have cropped up since taking that expired Theraflu! Let’s talk Kings basketball and to that beautiful hummingbird sitting on my dresser!
When: Thursday, January 17th, 4:00 PM PST
Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
Extra Zeal Against the Teal: It was my hope in the last contest against the Hornets that three things happened: Sacramento limits their turnovers after a mighty bout of struggling to value the basketball in the previous two games, the bigs take advantage of the Hornets weak big man rotation by rebounding the hell out of the ball (specifically the money man himself, Willie Cauley-Stein) and the Kings contain Kemba. The Kings had 11 turnovers in that game on Saturday. That’s a check; they valued the ball on their end and forced 18 turnovers from the the team that is #1 in the NBA in not turning the ball over. Success. The second point is a bit more muddled; they lost the rebounding battle by six or seven boards. Not inconsequential, but not entirely unexpected either. What I will call some attention to is that I asked Willie to go make some money grabbing boards that game, and he came back with 12 boards. Golf claps for thee. Lastly, I put out that the Kings should attempt to contain Kemba Walker and the man had 31. He had six turnovers and shot 3 of 12 from behind the arc, so hey, little successes. OH and the Kings beat the Hornets, so, big successes as well.
This stretch of games for the Kings to close out January has a decidedly dire feel to it if you stare at the schedule long enough. With an unfortunate but timely injury to Lebron, the Kings have control over their own destiny in getting to their first playoff appearance since 2006. Sidebar: If you conceived a child after the Kings last playoff loss at the hands of the Spurs in 2006, that kid would be 11 years, 11 months, 1 week and 4 days old. That kid is firmly in middle school trying to find a better diss in the cafeteria at lunch than “Well...Curry Sucks!” That kid is firmly planning out how bad high school is going to be in his head and if the Kings can find a way 5-1 or 4-2 on this road trip, they’re that much closer to setting up that little 2006 playoff lovechild to be the “liked them before they were cool” kid, which as you know, has always been the ultimate in cool. The Kings are legitimately in a playoff race, and this game against Charlotte should be played as such. Turnovers on Thursday night must be kept in check. Willie Cauley-Stein and Marvin Bagley should each grab double digit boards, especially with the lack of big man depth that Charlotte is working with. The Kings cannot get blocked ELEVEN times again, especially with the the lack of big man depth that Charlotte is working with. The Kings aren’t ever going to stop 2019 Kemba Walker, but they can contain him. Harass that man into six-ish turnovers and have him shoot over ten threes while only making a couple. It’s possible. The playoffs are possible. But they aren’t probable yet, and until they are, the Kings have got to play like they aren’t.
ep. 95 • Batum? I Hardly Knew ‘Em!
I blow through my bottle of Emergen-C and 12 bottles of water. De’Aaron Fox goes for 25 and 10 assists, Buddy goes for 40 points. Willie and Marv both grab double digits boards. The hummingbird at the foot of my bed goes away... for now.
Kings 122, Hornets 112