If the Sacramento Kings want to turn things around, they need to focus on being better defensively when they host the Indiana Pacers.
The Kings have lost five out of their previous six games, and their 121.2 defensive rating is the worst in the NBA over that stretch. Head coach Luke Walton needs to get his team protecting the paint better than it has over the last two weeks.
Sacramento allows easy penetration from the perimeter, which has resulted in slow rotations and easy buckets for its opponents. The team is giving up 52.3 points in the paint over the last six games.
Things haven’t been going well on the offensive end during this rough patch for the Kings. The team is shooting 34 percent from beyond the arc since Dec. 30, a 3.3 percent drop from their percentage over the first four games of the season.
Center Richaun Holmes was a late scratch against the Portland Trail Blazers. He’s dealing with an ankle injury and is questionable to go against the Pacers.
Indiana is coming off a 125-117 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday to fall to 6-3. The Pacers are led by Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis, with the pair combining to average 45 points per game.
The Pacers are the seventh-highest scoring team in the NBA at 115 points per outing. They do a great job of sharing the ball with seven players averaging 10-plus points per game.
The Kings will need a better all-around effort defensively if they want to beat a deep Indiana squad. If they don’t, it could be another long night at the Golden 1 Center.
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
When: Monday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. PT
How to watch/listen: NBC Sports California, KHTK Sports 1140 AM
Projected Starting Lineups:
Kings (4-6): De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley III, Richaun Holmes
Pacers (6-3): Aaron Holiday, Victor Oladipo, Malcolm Brogdon, Damontis Sabonis, Myles Turner
Kings: Richaun Holmes (ankle) — QUESTIONABLE; DaQuan Jeffries (ankle), Jabari Parker (health and safety protocols) — OUT
Pacers: T.J. McConnell (personal) — QUESTIONABLE; T.J. Warren (foot), Jeremy Lamb (knee) — OUT
What are you looking for from the Kings in this game?