February 3, 2018, 3:34 pm
A competitive game last night against the Warriors should be a good source of pride for a young team still trying to develop an identity, but losses will always be somewhat disappointing for players at the highest level. Playing on back-to-back nights is far from an ideal situation, but with a lower-level opponent heading to town, the Kings should feel confident that a similar effort tonight can secure them a win.
The Mavericks and Kings currently hold the bottom two spots in the Western Conference, so while Sacramento might not hold much of an advantage, it does represent a game that the Kings should have a good chance at coming out on top. Dallas has plenty of holes on their roster, and the team hasn’t been able to fill those gaps this season.
With that said, there is some talent that the Kings will need to be aware of. Harrison Barnes has plenty of experience on winning teams after his four-year run in Golden State, and his scoring ability can propel his team to victory on his best nights. The downside with Barnes is his lack of efficiency: he’s a talented scorer in isolation, but he struggles to create for others and he doesn’t get many easy points at the free throw line.
Keeping Barnes quiet should give the Kings a good shot, but there are other players to worry about. Veterans like Dirk Nowitzki and Wes Matthews aren’t as dangerous as they used to be, but both can still have good nights, and their experience in big games does give them a decent boost. Willie Cauley-Stein and Bogdan Bogdanovic will likely start the game guarding Nowitzki and Matthews, and both figure to be good matchups for the Kings.
The battle at point guard may end up being the most intriguing part of the game. De’Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr. are two of the most talented and athletic young guards in the league, and both have an aggressive mentality that should make for some entertaining moments. The game isn’t likely to be decided on their matchup, but the two rookies figure to have plenty of big games against each other in the years to come.
The Kings would almost certainly prefer to have more rest prior to their game against Dallas, but the team should still have a decent advantage playing at home against a team that has struggled to do much this season.