Basketball has returned to the 916 as the Sacramento Kings will host the Denver Nuggets in their first contest following All-Star Weekend. This is the first of two consecutive match-ups between these teams as they visit the Mile High City on Saturday for their regular season series finale.
The push for the play-in starts now, as time is ticking for the 10th seed that Sacramento currently sits 3.5 games outside of. The schedule doesn’t let up off the bat, as the Kings will take on the league’s reigning MVP who is looking to retain his title (and certainly at the table) in Nikola Jokic, who has carried Denver through the season despite the absence of key players in Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray.
Frankly, their absence didn’t change anything when Sacramento saw Denver in their first two match-ups this season, falling both times to the short-handed Nuggets. What Jokic has been able to consistently provide to Michael Malone’s team night-in and night-out this season is special, and Sacramento will have to rise to the challenge of snuffing out his elite perimeter play as well as inside the paint.
Sacramento looks entirely different since the last time they played Denver, now boasting nearly half of a new roster led at the helm of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. How the Fox and the Ox will handle the Joker and company will be a testament to the ‘good chemistry’ Fox described in their two practices since the All-Star break earlier this week.
Alvin Gentry announced yesterday that Davion Mitchell will return to the hardwood in tonight’s contest, sitting out one game before the break and missing his debut at the Rising Stars Challenge over the weekend in Cleveland. Mitchell’s defense and on-court energy was missed greatly in the Kings’ outing vs. the Chicago Bulls.
Twenty-two games left to see what this team is made of. Buckle in for the finale, Kings fans, because things should get interesting.
How to Watch/Listen: NBC Sports California, Sports 1140 KHTK
Opposing Perspective: Denver Stiffs
SAC injuries/absences: Terence Davis - Out (Wrist)
DEN injuries/absences: Jamal Murray - Out (Knee), Michael Porter Jr. - Out (Spine), Vlatko Cancar - Out (Foot)