March 29, 2017, 9:52 am
The Sacramento Kings will play their fourth straight game against a Western Conference playoff team Wednesday night when they welcome the Utah Jazz to the Golden 1 Center. While many would expect the young Kings to struggle with these matchups, the team has gone 2-1 to this point.
While wins do hurt the team’s ultimate draft position, the young players on the roster still benefit tremendously from the experience. Close wins against the Grizzlies and Clippers were great examples of how to compete against top-level teams, and getting that experience now can help speed up the team’s rebuild moving forward.
Utah entered the season with high expectations, and have not disappointed. The Jazz are currently fourth in the West, and will spend the remainder of the season fighting off the Clippers and Thunder. Sacramento does not have the talent that Utah does on it’s roster, so the Jazz will look to use this game to separate themselves in the playoff race.
Here are some notes heading into the matchup:
- Rudy Gobert is an incredibly tough matchup for any big man in the league because of his ability to play high-level defense and control the glass on both ends of the floor. Willie Cauley-Stein has taken a step forward as a rebounder in his last couple games, but Gobert will likely be his biggest challenge yet. Winning the rebounding battle against Gobert would go a long way towards securing the win, and would also be a terrific sign for Cauley-Stein’s development.
- Gordon Hayward is likely Utah’s most dangerous offensive player, but is currently questionable to play. If he does play, Garrett Temple will likely be asked to guard him for a majority of his time on the floor. Temple has taken on tougher matchups than Hayward this season, and should be able to keep his production to a minimum.
A win would give the Kings their third-straight, with all three coming against some of the best teams in the West. Utah will be tough to beat, but Sacramento’s momentum heading in could at least keep the game competitive.