It's Friday the 13th and the Kings are at home for the last of a five game homestand and facing off against a very familiar foe - yes, those kid Rockets are yet again at the front door and asking for another lesson in the art of basketball. Can the Kings hold Alperen Sengun under a triple-double this time around? Can Keegan Murray go get a poster of his own on Jabari Smith Jr., strictly for karma's sake? Will someone please throw something at Rafael Stone for Eric Gordon and get him off of a team that his face already says he's not a part of? Please??
Let's talk Kings basketball!
When: Friday, January 13th, 7:00 PM PT
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
TV: NBC Sports California
Radio: Sactown Sports 1140
For Your Consideration
Five over .500? : Tonight's the night, baby. The Kings are sitting at four games over .500 and every single person that writes, talks, interpretive dances about the Kings, media interns at Bleacher Report, stat freaks, dudes on Twitter with a username that ends with "Muse"... they've all got their finger on the button that will send out THAT stat across Al Gore's world wide web that will cleanse this city, turn back the storms, heal our collective traumas. You know the stat. We all know that stat. With the win tonight, the Kings will be FIVE whole games above .500, something that hasn't been done since... well... shit I didn't really look it up but it is CRUCIAL we get there and after being denied the satisfaction four-ish times this year already... James Naismith, god on high of all things basketball, will walk forth from that beam tonight and we as a collective will all finally get to see it those tweets about that magical, all-powerful benchmark.
Unless, the Kings spend three quarters fiddle-farting around again.
Yeah, Wednesday night's game was a weird one right? I can admit, begrudgingly, that the Kings are a good enough team right now that they can play with their food for awhile and still win a decent percentage of games in the fourth. Fox and Domas and the supporting cast are gelled and good enough to do that. Wednesday night's first three quarters felt like I was watching a guy faking like he was choking on something, only to start actually choking on it. Like they went into the fourth down a point and I had to actually sit there and consider how the Kings were letting it happen. How the hell were they going to let this game stay close against the worst team in the NBA.
Enter Trey Lyles, our hero of the Heimlich Maneuver, going off in the 4th for 15 points on perfect shooting. Guy was hitting threes, hitting funky runners in the lane going away from the bucket, pulling out everything in his arsenal and letting them rip. Suddenly, without much warning, the Kings were in COMPLETE control of that game. It felt over as soon as the Kings got up to ten with multiple Rockets just standing there during dead balls looking like they'd been told their house burned down. Hell, Lyles even grabbed six of his seven boards in the fourth. The guy just spent a quarter channeling Keven Durant and the Kings were all the luckier for it.
Would they have won that game without Trey going bananas? Eh, probably. It'd have been close enough to require Fox to do what he does best. The Rockets have a ton of young talent but, they don't have a closer yet like Fox. But the fact that they needed a pressure valve like Lyles is indicative that the Kings are still struggling a bit. The final score may show a good team beating a bad team by 20, but the story tells it differently. That's a little spooky for me going forward.
Tonight's game should be a bit easier. I don't think the Rockets shoot nearly as well this time around, I don't think the Kings spot the Rockets the lead they did early in the first quarter and I don't think the Kings come out taking the Rockets as lightly as they did. If the Nuggets home-and-home situation is indicative of anything, the Kings should come out better prepped for this Rockets team.
Five-Over-.500 is the name of the 30 for 30 doc made about tonight. 10 million tweets will all say the same thing and you'll think Twitter is permanently broken. It is, but, you'll think it's because of this event. Domas with a triple double, Fox with 30.
Kings: 141, Rockets: 117