March 31, 2018, 3:45 pm
The Kings welcome the Warriors into the Golden 1 Center on Saturday for what will be the final meeting between the two teams.
While the Warriors have been making headlines for the amount of injuries they’re playing with and the lack of “fire” that’s expected out of a team expected to contend for the NBA championship, the Kings have gotten very little attention for the way they’ve been playing as of late.
Although the Kings have lost three straight games, Sacramento has shown that its young lineup can compete with top talent.
Two of the three losses for the Kings came at the hands of the eastern conference’s top teams (Celtics and Pacers), but the other came from the lowly Mavericks. Heading into the fourth quarter of those games, the Kings trailed by a combined total of 7 points and although they fell to the Celtics by double digits, the other two games remained tight until the last horn.
Now, the Kings face a team they’ve competed with three times this year with the Kings taking two of the three matchups. However, the Warriors own the plus-minus from the three games at plus-six due to a 15-point blowout of Sacramento to begin February.
The Warriors, like the Kings, have lost four of their last five games and will find themselves in an odd position come playoffs; Not being the first seed of the western conference.
With Steph Curry still out of action, the Warriors will look to Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and a returning Klay Thompson to hold down the fort as the regular season winds down. Durant though, who had returned to action on Thursday, was ejected after just 17 minutes of on-court play in a lopsided loss to the Bucks.
With the headliners of Golden State dealing with their issues, a bright spot for the team has been Quinn Cook. Cook is averaging 18.2 points, 5.8 assists and 5.0 rebounds in his last five games and looks to test the Kings’ De’Aaron Fox.
Cook dropped 25 points in the Warriors’ last loss against the Kings just two weeks ago and has excelled since the team lost Curry due to an MCL sprain.
For the Kings, Fox has exemplified consistency for much of the year, but as the long 82-game season comes to a close Fox’s gas tank may be winding down.
In his last five games, Fox is averaging just 8.8 points on 40 percent shooting for Sacramento. Fox’s field goal percentage (43.4 percent) has been higher in March than much of the season, but his 3-point percentage has plummeted to just 18.5 percent, which is way off his already low 30.8 percent for the season.
This could signify that Fox’s legs have somewhat worn down from the draining season. It’s something that’s expected out of the rookies on the roster and the Kings more than likely prepared for it.
The Kings, though, will hope that the team can buckle down and finish the season out strong as they prepare for another lottery-bound offseason.
PG – De’Aaron Fox
SG – Bogdan Bogdanovic
SF – Justin Jackson
PF – Skal Labissiere
C – Willie Cauley-Stein
Garrett Temple (ankle) – DOUBTFUL
Iman Shumpert (foot) – OUT
HOW TO WATCH
Where: NBCS California
When: 7:00 p.m. PST (10:00 p.m. ET)