Having already beaten Sacramento this season and lying comfortably inside the Western Conference play-offs don’t expect this game to go any way apart from GSW.
Golden State have been fairly consistent throughout the season, and ran out 98-87 in the first leg back on November 3. Since then Sacramento have managed three wins in 10, whilst their Californian rivals have claimed seven victories including mauling’s of the 76ers, Pistons and a hard-fought final quarter to edge out Kevin Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder.
It’s been a long old season so far for the Kings but they will believe Derrick Williams, who they recently traded for Luc Mbah a Moute will go some way to reversing their fortunes. Williams, who was once regarded as one of the most promising young talents in the NBA has been brought in from Minnesota, where he failed to get any real game time under Rick Adelman this season.
Williams will add some much needed youth to the Kings and will add more depth into the squad as they try to forget about defeats to the Los Angeles sides and focus on their impressive back-to-back victories over the Suns little over a week ago. DeMarcus Cousins starred in that game, and in fact has all season. The Center is averaging 21.3 points per game as well as carrying the Kings with 10.5 assists each run out.
It has however been a controversial week for the 23-year-old. He’s been criticised heavily in the media after pulling teammate Isaiah Thomas’ hand away from Clippers Point Guard Chris Paul during a post-match handshake, and could affect the youngster’s game as the spotlight will be focused firmly on him in the coming games.
Not such a problem in the Warriors camp. Despite defeat at the hands of Dallas on Wednesday, Mark Jackson’s men are enjoying the early season so far and their $24 million signing of Andre Iguodala seems to be a perfect fit. The former Nuggets Small Forward is currently out with a hamstring injury but has given Golden State an early advantage as they head towards the middle stages of the season. The Warriors’ offense averages 14.7 more points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court, and collectively the team experiences 29.7 plus/minus swing with him on the floor.
And it could end up being the glimmer of hope Sacramento are looking for. If there is one thing the Kings and Cousins can take advantage of it’s the loss of Iguodala, but with Klay Thompson averaging over 21 himself and GSW topping 100 points most games, it will be an uphill battle all the way for the team bottom of the Pacific Division.
It’s expected GSW will run away with this game, and after the previous weekend it’s probable captain DeMarcus Cousins will too when he’s confronted with an obligatory handshake post-game.