After a last second bailout win against the worst team in the West, the Sacramento Kings are home again for a back-to-back against the new look Mavericks. Kyrie Irving is out to prove his next pitstop won’t fall flat, Luka Doncic is out to prove he can defer to the best teammate of his career and Jason Kidd… well Jason Kidd is just along for the ride. Can the newly named All-Star De’Aaron Fox keep Kyrie in his sights, and out of the statsheet? Can Domantas Sabonis keep up his All-NBA level play? Will Keegan Murray ever miss from three again??
Let’s talk Kings basketball!
When: Friday, February 10th, 7:00 PM PT
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
TV: NBC Sports California
Radio: Sactown Sports 1140
For Your Consideration
Global Implications: First off, lets just acknowledge the moment before us: in a season that some (myself included) felt would be a tweener year between the garbage of last season and whatever hope we could imagine in the years to come, the Kings have absolutely blown through reasonable expectations, eclipsing their entirety of their wins last season with games still left to go before the All-Star Break. Within the emergence of this currently third-seed Kings squad was the development of not one, but, as of this morning, TWO All-Stars. A squad that couldn’t muster much better than courtside upchucking last season, sits at eight games above .500, with two guys headed to Salt Lake City to participate in the big game. They’ve got the presumptive Coach of the Year, a record-breaking rookie with his ceiling a country mile above his head, and maybe my favorite part of all this hubub… an arena packed with fans and loud as ever. Sure, they punted the trade deadline while the rest of the league rearmed themselves. Sure, they’re apt to drop while some of these teams find themselves before the playoffs. But make no mistake, the Kings have arrived.
There’s 28 games between tonight and the end if the season and I literally cannot remember being this nervous, this antsy, this excited for the sprint to the finish.
Tonight’s game features one of those reloaded squads: with Luka Doncic being joined in the backcourt by one one of the best, and most annoying, Robin level talents in NBA history in Kyrie Irving (althought Luka’s status for tonight remains up in the air at this moment). Tied for 4th in the West with the Clippers, the Mavs are just two games back of the Kings, and with Doncic coming back from a few games worth of rest with a heel injury, ready to go into this All-Star Break on a win streak.
Trading boring stability in Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith with electric volatility in Irving leaves the Mavs both more talented than before and less deep. They are, in my opinion, the most top heavy team currently in the Top-8 in West, and without heavy, HEAVY staggering of their two ball handlers from coach Jason Kidd, the Mavs will be vulnerable to a run as soon as they need a rest. Can Christian Wood go off against an unprepared Kings squad? Sure. Can Tim Hardaway Jr. get hot? Absolutely. But take away each team’s top 2 and the Kings can match or beat these Mavs player-for-player. The Mavs are better, but certainly not invincible.
Prior to the trade for Irving, the Mavs ran at the second slowest pace in the league. The Nets prior to trading their star guard, ran in the bottom third in pace at 20th in the league. With Luka coming off a wonky foot injury, the Kings advantage should be in their speed up and down the court. With Kidd having to adjust for the first time with both guards healthy, Sacramento has as good a chance as any to steal both games at home while they figure each other out on the opposing bench. Out of the frying pan and into the flames, as they say. Here’s to hoping the Kings come to Golden 1 Center with their cooking gear on.
Sure as the world is round, the Kings find a way to contain Luka Doncic while Kyrie Irving Tasmanian Devil’s himself into 10 gloriously globular turnovers. Newly named All-Star Fox goes for 30, Sabonis serves up a bit of Lithuanian Lasagna and Keegan Murray continues his record setting pace with 5 more triples.
Kings: 124, Mavs: 113