Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
When: Tuesday, December 15 at 7 p.m. PT
How to watch/listen: TNT, NBC Sports California, KHTK Sports 1140 AM
Projected Starting Lineups:
Kings: De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Nemanja Bjelica, Richaun Holmes
Warriors: Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre Jr., Eric Paschall, Kevon Looney
Kings: Marvin Bagley III, DaQuan Jeffries, Cory Joseph, Jabari Parker, Hassan Whiteside — DAY-TO-DAY
Warriors: Draymond Green, James Wiseman (excused absence) — OUT; Marquese Chriss, Eric Paschall, Alen Smailagić (sore right knees) — QUESTIONABLE
There were two main similarities for the Kings in their first two preseason games: they ran after makes and misses, but more often misses; and they shot a lot of threes, even if they didn’t make many. That one game was a win and one a loss isn’t as important as the commitment to a new style of play. Building a new identity and culture is the goal of these first four games regardless of the results.
Even so, it was fun to see Sacramento play well in the second game after a humbling opener, though Damian Lillard’s limited minutes may have contributed to that outcome. Tyrese Haliburton and Kyle Guy were the highlights, but there were a couple of other players who shined in smaller roles. Glenn Robinson III seemed to have a better idea of where to be in transition to receive his teammates’ passes; it felt like he was single-handedly responsible for 11 of the Kings’ 27 fast break points. Buddy Hield also was remarkably effective despite not making any shots as he tied for the team lead with seven minutes. Hield’s general demeanor over the first two games has been a breath of fresh air after an offseason filled with uncertainty.
The Kings now take on a team that is also still finding itself in the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors’ perimeter rotation is essentially intact, but their frontcourt hasn’t been able to play yet, which means they’re just trying to get by until James Wiseman and Draymond Green are back. This will be a good opportunity for Sacramento to continue to push the pace against a lesser defensive outfit, and also a team that will be happy to run with the Kings.
Some things to watch for in this game include the pace, as Jas touched on earlier today, the volume of 3-pointers, the cohesion of the switching defense, and which rotation players come in off the bench with the starting lineup essentially set. The Kings have some injuries to monitor as well heading into the start of the season.
This will be the first game at the Golden 1 Center since March 11, when the Kings were supposed to play the Pelicans before the league suspended play. It should be a fun one.