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Kings vs. Pistons Preview: A must-win, again

No excuses. Sacramento needs to get back in the win column tonight.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings’ road trip continues in Motor City Monday night as they take on the Detroit Pistons for the first time this season. The Kings are coming off another ridiculous loss, falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder despite having a double-digit lead at one point.

Now with four Ls in a row, the Kings look at the “softer” spot in their schedule as not so soft, facing only three more teams below .500 this week before they see some heavy-hitters next week. It feels premature to be less than 15 games into a season and call a contest a “must-win,” but tonight’s matchup is exactly that, especially with Luke Walton’s future seemingly riding on it.

Sacramento needs to come out with authority tonight and can’t garner any lead thinking they are safe. Playing a full four quarters of winning basketball seems like the bare minimum at this point, but seeing flashes from a comeback or losing a big lead don’t add up to moral victories anymore. This period of “easier” competition has highlighted Sacramento’s flaws, and in order to see a true competitor out of this squad, they’ll need this game to be easily handled by De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes a returning Tyrese Haliburton.

Off the court, there is an interesting storyline between the Kings and Pistons. The Pistons are rumored to have interest in trading for Bagley, with the front office reportedly “tracking” his status. We’ll get a good sense of whether or not those talks are serious if Walton gives Bagley the option to see any minutes.

A more light-hearted storyline to follow in tonight’s contest is the debut of No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham vs. No. 9 overall pick Davion Mitchell. They’ll likely take the court at the same time, so watching their Rookie of the Year campaigns continue will be interesting as both names continue to be thrown in the ring on the young season.

How to Watch/Listen: NBC Sports California, Sports 1140 KHTK

Opposing Perspective: Detroit Bad Boys

Spread: Kings -4

Moneyline: Kings -180, Pistons +155

SAC injuries/absences: Louis King — Out (G League), Neemias Queta — Out (G League), Robert Woodard — Out (G League)

DET injuries/absences: Kelly Olynyk — Out (Knee), Saben Lee — Out (G League), Isaiah Livers (G League), Jamorko Picket (G League), Chris Smith (G League)