Sacramento at Boston
7:30 P.M. ET
Boston: 105.7 points/100 possessions (10th)
Sacramento: 102.7 points/100 possessions (24th)
Boston: 97.5 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Sacramento 108.9 points allowed/100 possessions (23rd)
Probable Sacramento starters: Beno Udrih (PG), Tyreke Evans (doubtful) (SG), Francisco Garcia (SF), Jason Carlton Thompson (PF), DeMarcus Cousins (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: Cowbell Kingdom
Thumbnail: Tonight the league schedulers essentially demand that the Celtics end their losing streak by offering up the Kings, the league’s worst team outside of Cleveland. And Washington. And, eh, maybe New Jersey. Definitely the worst team that will pretty soon play in an arena named after a worthless strip of metal.
In any case, this is not the awesome team of insane people you rooted to beat the Lakers in the early 2000s. Vlade Divac is not walking through that door. Doug Christie is not walking through that door. Scot Pollard is not…oh, hey Scot. What’s that? You need someone to fill in on trombone for your ska-punk revival band’s gig tonight? Okay, sure. Please knock in the future.
WHAT THE KINGS DO WELL
Offensive rebound. What is it with pulling down a lot of offensive boards and being a below-average basketball team? The Clippers are awesome at it, the Tim-Wolves are league best, the Raptors are way up there, and the Kings are fourth. The Warriors and Wizards are also in the top ten, and the ORR differentials for all of these teams are pretty spiffy, too. What’s the deal, offensive rebounding? I thought you were one of the Four Factors of Basketball Success!
Wait. Could it have something to do with all of these teams being around the bottom third in the league in defensive efficiency? Are we thinking it might be okay to avoid building your game on offensive boards if it means you can get back to the other end of the court before your opponent does? It’s worth considering. Maybe one day we’ll start referring to the Four Factors as “The Three Factors featuring Offensive Rebounding.”
WHAT THE KINGS DO POORLY
Shoot. They’re decent from around the rim (6th highest conversion rate), but 29th, 30th, and 27th from the three midrange zones and 22nd from three. Guess where they take virtually all of their shots? They’re only 17th in the league in rim attempts, but 4th from inside ten feet, 8th from 10-15, and 5th from 16-23. This is a team that knows how to play to its strengths!
Assist. As might be expected from a team that settles for midrange jumpers on 75% of its possessions, the Kings are holding down the league’s second-worst assist rate. This is because they have two point guards, Beno Udrih and Tyreke Evans, one of whom kind of wishes he was a shooting guard and the other who absolutely is a shooting guard. The highest AR on the team goes to Luther Head, an actual shooting guard. Evans is 93rd in the league in assist rate, one spot behind Jeff Foster and three spots ahead of Reggie Evans, two exemplars of ball distribution. Anyway, the Kings need a point guard. They’re a long way from when this guy was my favorite player and I knew how to use devil sticks:
Great foul there, James Posey! Way to take the rookie game really seriously! Go Sophomores!
PLAYERS THAT MAKE ME WORRY
I’ll say DeMarcus Cousins. He’s kind of went off in six games in a row, of which the Kings won an uncharacteristic three. During that stretch he averaged about 22 points and ten boards, and shouldered most of the offensive load for his team. That is, until his last game, when he put up a 4-19 against Washington, that team that the Celtics shot 63% against. Still, I could definitely see him taking advantage of the size discrepancy against Glen Davis and the mobility gap against Shaq. Too bad KG isn’t on the floor, because he would put Cousins in a psychological darkness zone.
PLAYERS THAT DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY
Carl Landry. I was a big fan of his in Houston, because 6’7″ PFs that can score are always fun (he’s listed at 6’9″ but let’s be reasonable here). This year in Sacto, however, Landry’s scoring has gone way down: he’s completely sunk his long two percentage, and he’s taking about half as many attempts at the rim. Meanwhile, he’s rebounding a shade worse than Francisco Garcia. Things could get weird tonight will all the Celtics bigs still out, but I don’t really expect them to.
Tyreke Evans. This is more of a hope than an actual claim. Last year Evans got to the rim pretty much whenever he wanted to, and the C’s are building a little streak here of point guards putting up a huge number of points against then. So here’s hoping that Evans (who, again, is not a point guard) is contained this evening.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE TONIGHT
A WIN. WIN THE BASKETBALL GAME. SCORE POINTS AND MAKE IT SO THE OTHER TEAM HAS LESS POINTS. Shut down Evans, make Cousins pout and quit playing, DESTROY OMRI CASSPI’S DREAM.
Okay, don’t do that. Casspi is awesome. Destroy everyone else’s dream.
C’s 98, Kings 87.