October 5, 2018, 3:42 pm
The Kings will be looking to upset the defending champs Friday night when they take on the Warriors in Seattle.
While a game against the Warriors presents its own challenges, Sacramento will also be dealing with their first back-to-back set of the season. The team has placed an emphasis on pushing the pace this preseason, so the players will need to keep extra focus on running the floor and maintaining a high level of energy.
Playing in Seattle will also add an interesting wrinkle to the exhibition. Kings fans surely haven’t forgotten the relocation saga, but they won’t be the only team with a Seattle connection. Kevin Durant will also be returning to the city that he started his career in.
With the interesting location and a tough opponent, there should be plenty to watch for. Below are some of the Kings things to keep in mind heading into the matchup:
The Warriors have some of the top scorers in the league at four positions, making them one of the most difficult teams to defend. Any mistake that the Kings make defensively will be exploited.
Playing effective team defense is the only answer against a team as talented as the Warriors. That should be difficult to do with so many young players on the Kings, but it should also be a great test to see how they respond.
Playing on consecutive nights can be hard for any team, but it’s especially difficult for a team this young so early in the year. Golden state will be pushing the pace, so the Kings will need to find a way to keep up the energy to keep this game close.
Plenty of players received rest last night, but it will still be interesting to see if the team can continue to push the pace. If they’re able to bring the same energy that they did in Los Angeles, it would be a great sign that this team should be more than ready to push the pace in the regular season.
While it’s only been two games, the Kings have struggled to find a consistent contributor at small forward. With Justin Jackson struggling mightily and a general lack of size on the perimeter, it may be time to give Gabriel a shot to earn a spot in the rotation.
The sample is small, but Gabriel was impressive in his 16 minutes against the Lakers. He finished the night with 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting while also contributing two steals and a block. Jackson should still have a shot to earn the starting spot, but Gabriel should also be given a chance. A strong outing against the Warriors would surely help his case as well.
PG – De’Aaron Fox
SG – Buddy Hield
SF – Justin Jackson
PF – Skal Labissiere
C – Willie Cauley-Stein
Kosta Koufos (hamstring) – OUT
Bogdan Bogdanovic (Knee) – OUT
HOW TO WATCH
When: 7:30 p.m. PST (10:30 p.m. ET)
October 15, 2018, 3:43 pmRussell Westbrook - G - Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook is listed as out on the Thunder game notes, but his status can still change.
Westbrook was expected to miss the opener from his original prognosis and still isn't cleared for contact, so we are not expecting him to play. A game against Kevin Durant may be enough to motivate him to play, but the Thunder don't have any reason to risk their superstar in game one. Keep an eye on his status.
Source: Royce Young on Twitter
October 15, 2018, 3:37 pmSteven Adams - C - Oklahoma City Thunder
Steven Adams is listed as questionable for Tuesday's opener with lower back stiffness, according to Royce Young of ESPN.
This is a new injury for Adams and is not encouraging a day before the season starts. We would still expect him to play as of right now, but his status needs to be monitored. If Adams misses, Nerlens Noel would likely draw the start with Patrick Patterson and Jerami Grant seeing increased minutes.
Source: Royce Young on Twitter
October 15, 2018, 3:27 pmWesley Johnson - F/G - Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers have traded Wesley Johnson to the Pelicans for Alexis Ajinca, who will be waived along with Juwan Evans.
The Clippers needed to waive two players and it is cheaper to waive Ajinca than it is to waive Johnson. Evans was buried on the depth chart but should be able to surface somewhere with at least a G-league contract.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
October 15, 2018, 3:16 pmTaurean Prince - F - Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks have picked up the team options for Taurean Prince, John Collins and DeAndre Bembry.
There is no surprise here. Between Prince, Collins and Bembry, the Hawks have seemed to hit on all three despite them being drafted 12th, 19th and 21st respectively. Between these three, the three first round picks from June's draft (Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Omari Spellman) and another year of tanking, the Hawks may have something brewing with their young talent.
Source: Chris Vivlamore on Twitter
October 15, 2018, 3:09 pmRussell Westbrook - G - Oklahoma City Thunder
Thunder coach Billy Donavan said the team has prepared both having and not having Russell Westbrook as they are still unsure if he will play in Tuesday's opener.
Donavan also said Westbrook has been doing more everyday, but still needs to be evaluated after workouts. We still have not heard anything about Westbrook being cleared for contact, which is not a good sign one day before the game. If there was a player who would play the same day he was cleared for contact, it'd be Russ, but the Thunder have no reason to push him for the first game of the season. Either way Dennis Schroeder should see extended run in what projects to be a high scoring game against the Warriors.
Source: Erik Horne on Twitter
October 15, 2018, 2:55 pmDwight Howard - C - Washington Wizards
Dwight Howard (buttocks) was a full participant in practice Monday.
With the Dwight Howard butt jokes out of the way, this is actually very good news for the big man. The Wizards were planning on starting the season without Howard, but he may be recovering quicker than originally planned. Ian Mahinmi would likely start in his place if he were to miss time. Keep an eye on his status as the season approaches.
Source: Ben Standig on Twitter
October 15, 2018, 2:45 pmGordon Hayward - F - Boston Celtics
Brad Stevens said Monday Gordon Hayward will have a minutes restriction of 25-to-30 minutes for the first few weeks of the season.
This is as expected, given how horrific Hayward's injury was. Hayward may need some meaningful game-reps to shake off any potential mental barriers of returning. Once he gets going he should be a good bet for early-mid round value.
Source: Brian Robb on Twitter
October 15, 2018, 2:40 pmEmmanuel Mudiay - G - New York Knicks
Emmanuel Mudiay did not practice Monday due to a sprained right ankle.
Mudiay has been terrible so far this preseason and has potentially played himself out of the rotation. Whoever ends up starting for the Knicks will likely be in an ugly timeshare that will have trouble producing fantasy value.
Source: Ian Begley on Twitter
October 15, 2018, 2:38 pmLance Thomas - F - New York Knicks
Lance Thomas (hip soreness) sat out Monday's practice.
Thomas also missed Sunday's practice due to a sore knee. Two injuries in two days so close to the start of the season is not an encouraging sign. Thomas' status is one to monitor. If he is out, Mario Hezonja is likely next in line to start at power forward.
Source: Ian Begley on Twitter
October 15, 2018, 2:30 pmDennis Smith Jr. - G - Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks have picked up the option on Dennis Smith Jr.'s contract for the 2019-2020 season.
Not surprising to anyone. DSJ has shown improvement off-the-ball in the preseason along with his elite athleticism. He has a chance to form a dangerous tandem with Luka Doncic for a long time. He's got mid-round potential if his improvements carry into the regular season.
Source: Dwain Price on Twitter