Sacramento Kings 2012-13 Schedule: Monthly Breakdown and W-L Predictions

Branden FitzPatrickCorrespondent IJuly 30, 2012

Sacramento Kings 2012-13 Schedule: Monthly Breakdown and W-L Predictions

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    The 2012-13 Sacramento Kings will try to earn a spot in the NBA postseason for the first time since 2005-06. 

    The Kings roster is much improved over recent years past, but as always, teams don't make the playoffs because they look good on paper. 

    To open the season, the Kings will find themselves in Chicago, facing the Derrick Rose-less Bulls. The Kings acquired Aaron Brooks, James Johnson and Thomas Robinson in the offseason. They will look to start the new NBA season on a high note.

    If the team can survive a tough January and February schedule, Kings fans may have a chance to root for their team in the playoffs for the first time in what seems like forever. The third spot in the Pacific Division is up for grabs. Will the Kings take advantage of this opportunity? 

October/November Schedule

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    - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 @ Chicago Bulls

    - Friday, November 2, 2012 @ Minnesota Timberwolves 

    - Saturday, November 3, 2012 @ Indiana Pacers

    - Monday, November 5, 2012 vs. Golden State Warriors

    - Wednesday, November 7, 2012 vs. Detroit Pistons

    - Friday, November 9, 2012 vs. San Antonio Spurs

    - Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ Los Angeles Lakers

    - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 vs. Portland Trail Blazers

    - Friday, November 16, 2012 vs. Atlanta Hawks

    - Sunday, November 18, 2012 vs. Brooklyn Nets

    - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 vs. Los Angeles Lakers

    - Friday, November 23, 2012 @ Utah Jazz

    - Saturday, November 24, 2012 vs. Utah Jazz

    - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

    - Friday, November 30, 2012 vs. Indiana Pacers

October/November Key Games

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    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 @ Chicago Bulls

    The season opener is always an important game. The Kings want to start the season off on the right foot by upsetting the Derrick Rose-less Bulls on the road.

    Monday, November 5, 2012 vs. Golden State Warriors

    The Kings face the division rival Warriors in their home opener. It will also be the Kings first look at rookie Harrison Barnes, who they could have drafted but instead chose Thomas Robinson.

    Sunday, November 11, 2012 @ Los Angeles Lakers

    The Kings get their first shot at the new Steve Nash Lakers on a Sunday, when they will be wearing their alternative white uniforms. This will be a test for the Kings frontcourt, facing off against Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. 

    Sunday, November 18, 2012 vs. Brooklyn Nets

    This will be the first time Kings fans will get a look at the newly refurbished Nets franchise. The Nets are a much-improved team. The backcourt of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson will arguably be the toughest the Kings face all season. 

    October/November W-L Prediction: 8-7

    Wins: Bulls, Warriors, Pistons, Trail Blazers, Hawks, Lakers, Jazz, Pacers

    Losses: Timberwolves (2), Pacers, Spurs, Lakers, Nets, Jazz

October/November Intriguing Storylines

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    Best one-on-one matchup of October/November:

    Unless the Lakers trade for Dwight Howard, Bynum will be Cousins toughest one-on-one matchup early in the season. The Kings play the Lakers twice in November—home and away. In his only game against the Kings last season, Bynum finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks in a win. The same game, Cousins played only 22 minutes while shooting 31 percent from the field.

    If Cousins is going to consider himself among the best centers in the NBA, he will need to play well against Bynum.

    Sacramento has the best-case scenario in October/November if...

    If they start the season winning at least one of their three road games to start the season. The Kings have back-to-backs twice in November. If they split at least both of them, they will avoid digging themselves in a serious hole early in the season. 

    The Kings have home games against the Lakers, Spurs, Hawks, Nets, Jazz, and Pacers. If the Kings can go at least .500 against these playoff contenders, it will be a great confidence booster heading into December.

    Sacramento has the worst-case scenario in October/November if...

    If they lose their first three road games to open the season against the Bulls, Timberwolves and Pacers. The Kings are a young squad. Starting the season off on a sour note is a quick way to lose your season before it even begins. 

    The Kings also cannot afford to lose both of their games against the Timberwolves, Lakers and Jazz. Those are three teams they will likely battle for a spot in the postseason with. 

December Schedule

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    - Saturday, December 1, 2012 @ Los Angeles Clippers

    - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 vs. Toronto Raptors

    - Friday, December 7, 2012 vs. Orlando Magic

    - Saturday, December 8, 2012 @ Portland Trail Blazers

    - Monday, December 10, 2012 @ Dallas Mavericks

    - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 @ Milwaukee Bucks

    - Friday, December 14, 2012 @ Oklahoma City Thunder

    - Sunday, December 16, 2012 vs. Denver Nuggets

    - Monday, December 17, 2012 @ Phoenix Suns

    - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 vs. Golden State Warriors

    - Friday, December 21, 2012 @ Los Angeles Clippers

    - Sunday, December 23, 2012 vs. Portland Trail Blazers

    - Wednesday, December 26, 2012 @ Portland Trail Blazers

    - Friday, December 28, 2012 vs. New York Knicks

    - Sunday, December 30, 2012 vs. Boston Celtics

December Key Games

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    Saturday, December 1, 2012 @ Los Angeles Clippers

    It will be interesting to see how loud Clipper fans boo DeMarcus Cousins after calling Blake Griffin an "actor" last season. Cousins and Griffin are two of the best young frontcourt players in the NBA. This is a can't miss matchup early in the season.

    Friday, December 14, 2012 @ Oklahoma City Thunder

    If the Kings are going to contend for a spot in the postseason, they will need to win some big games against the NBA's elite competition. At the moment, there's no team more elite than the Thunder. If the Kings are going to turn any heads, they will need to make a statement against the Thunder. 

    Sunday, December 16, 2012 vs. Denver Nuggets—Monday, December 17, 2012 @ Phoenix Suns

    A crucial back-to-back for the Kings. The team can't afford to lose both of these games coming off a tough matchup against the Thunder on Friday night.

    The Nuggets had the Kings upper hand last season, winning all three matchups. The Kings need to view this game as redemption. Against the Suns, the Kings will be facing a new look divisional rival. This will be a great opportunity to send a message to the post Nash-era Suns.

    Wednesday, December 26, 2012 @ Portland Trail Blazers

    This will be the third time the Kings face off against the Blazers in December. This game will feature two superb matchups Isaiah Thomas vs. rookie Damian Lillard and Cousins vs. LaMarcus Aldridge.

    December W-L Prediction: 8-7

    Wins: Raptors, Magic, Trail Blazers (2), Bucks, Suns, Warriors, Celtics

    LossesClippers (2), Mavericks, Thunder, Nuggets, Trail Blazers, Knicks

December Intriguing Storylines

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    Best one-on-one matchup of December:

    Cousins and Blake Griffin may not guard each other, but the two do have a history together. Last season, Cousins told SI's Sam Amick following a loss to the Clippers:

    "He's (Griffin) babied," Cousins told SI.com after the Kings fell to the Clippers 93-85. "He's the poster child of the league. He sells tickets, but he's babied. Bottom line."

    Babied by whom, Cousins was asked.

    "The refs, the league -- period," he continued. "He gets away with [everything]. He taunts players. Nothing is done. He's babied."

    Griffin and the Clippers got the upper hand in the wins column last season, but this will be a better Kings team than the one they beat three times. The Kings play the Clippers twice in December, giving Cousins two opportunities for reparation. 

    Sacramento has the best-case scenario in December if...

    If they win at least three of their four games against division rivals. The Kings play the Trail Blazers three times. Winning all three will put the Trail Blazers in a hole of their own. To end the month of December, the Kings have home games against the Knicks and the Celtics. Winning both will turn some heads and build a foundation heading into the New Year. 

    Sacramento has the worst case scenario in December if...

    If they lose all four of their games against teams in the Pacific Division. The Kings cannot afford to bury themselves in their own division this early.

    The game against the Thunder is scary. If the Kings lose big, it could detonate a series of unfortunate events amidst a tough holiday stretch. 

January Schedule

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    - Tuesday, January 1, 2013 @ Detroit Pistons

    - Wednesday, January 2, 2013 @ Cleveland Cavaliers

    - Friday, January 4, 2013 @ Toronto Raptors

    - Saturday, January 5, 2013 @ Brooklyn Nets

    - Monday, January 7, 2013 vs. Memphis Grizzlies

    - Thursday, January 10, 2013 vs. Dallas Mavericks

    - Saturday, January 12, 2013 vs. Miami Heat

    - Monday, January 14, 2013 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

    - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 vs. Washington Wizards

    - Friday, January 18, 2013 @ Memphis Grizzlies

    - Saturday, January 19, 2013 @ Charlotte Bobcats

    - Monday, January 21, 2013 @ New Orleans Hornets

    - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 vs. Phoenix Suns

    - Friday, January 25, 2013 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

    - Saturday, January 26, 2013 @ Denver Nuggets

    - Monday, January 28, 2013 @ Washington Wizards

    - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 @ Boston Celtics

January Key Games

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    Tuesday, January 1, 2013 @ Detroit Pistons

    This won't be the first time the Kings play the Pistons, but it is their first game of the New Year. Cousins vs. Greg Monroe is a compelling matchup. Monroe was picked two spots after Cousins in the 2010 NBA draft. You could make an argument that Monroe is a better low-post prospect than Cousins. Monroe has put up similar numbers, without the attitude involved.  

    Saturday, January 12, 2013 vs. Miami Heat

    Any game against the Heat is a big game. This will be another opportunity for the Kings to see how they matchup against the NBA's elite. The Heat are the defending NBA champions and the Kings will have to bring their A game to have a prayer.

    Side note: The building formerly known as Arco Arena is the place LeBron James played his first NBA game.

    Saturday, January 19, 2013 @ Charlotte Bobcats—Monday, January 21, 2013 @ New Orleans Hornets

    Two away games in a row, the Kings will play the No. 1 pick and the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NBA draft. First against the Bobcats, the Kings will face Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Kidd-Gilchrist was impressive in his summer league debut against the Kings, scoring 18 points in stylish fashion. 

    Two nights later, the Kings will fly to New Orleans, where they will get their first look at No. 1 pick Anthony Davis. Cousins vs. Davis is an intriguing matchup. Davis was picked for the USA Olympic basketball team, while Cousins is a member of the Select Team. That gives Cousins a reason to make this matchup personal.

    January W-L Prediction: 7-10

    Wins: Raptors, Mavericks, Cavaliers, Wizards, Bobcats, Hornets, Suns

    Losses: Pistons, Cavaliers, Nets, Grizzlies (2), Heat, Thunder, Nuggets, Wizards, Celtics 


January Intriguing Storylines

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    Best one-on-one matchup of January:

    It will take a team effort to slow down LeBron James, but Evans is the Kings best option to try to guard him one-on-one. Evans is big and strong enough to keep up with James. The question is: Will Evans be able to force James into playing out of his comfort zone? There aren't many players in the league that can say they have successfully guarded James. 

    Sacramento has the best-case scenario in January if...

    If they go at least .500 on their four game road trip to start the New Year. The icing on the cake would be winning all of their games on their five-game home stand following the road trip.

    January will be a tough month for the Kings, so the best case scenario would be surviving without damaging their record too badly. 

    Sacramento has the worst-case scenario in January if...

    If they lose their first seven games in January, which is possible. The four game road trip to start the New Year features two separate back-to-backs. The Kings five game home stand isn't a cakewalk either. Once they get back from Brooklyn, the Kings will host the Grizzlies, Mavericks and Heat in consecutive games. This has the potential to get ugly in arguably the toughest month of the Kings schedule. 

February Schedule

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    - Friday, February 1, 2013 @ Philadelphia 76ers

    - Saturday, February 2, 2013 @ New York Knicks

    - Monday, February 4, 2013 @ Utah Jazz

    - Saturday, February 9, 2013 vs. Utah Jazz

    - Sunday, February 10, 2013 vs. Houston Rockets

    - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 @ Memphis Grizzlies

    - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ Dallas Mavericks

    - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 vs. San Antonio Spurs

    - Friday, February 22, 2013 @ Atlanta Hawks

    - Sunday, February 24, 2013 @ New Orleans Hornets

    - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 @ Miami Heat

    - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 @ Orlando Magic

February Key Games

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    Saturday, February 2, 2013 @ New York Knicks

    This will be the Kings fifth road game in a row. Long road trips are where a young team like the Kings can get in trouble. Against the Knicks, the Kings will need to act as if they are playing in any old arena, not Madison Square Garden. The Garden is one of the toughest buildings to play in. 

    Saturday, February 9, 2013 vs. Utah Jazz

    The first home game for the Kings in over a week. The Kings will have a few days to rest before their rematch with the Jazz. The Kings need to pull this game out, coming off a long road trip with a lot of games on the East Coast. 

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013 @ Memphis Grizzlies

    After two home games, the Kings will be back on the road to face the Grizzlies. Nine of the Kings' 12 February games are on the road. This will be the toughest month of the season for the Kings. Making a statement against the Grizzlies will be a great start before the Kings go on the road for the next six of seven games. 

    Tuesday, February 19, 2013 vs. San Antonio Spurs

    The Kings will have five days off before they face the Spurs in their third home game of the month. The Spurs are among the leagues best and this will be another opportunity to see how the Kings measure up to the NBA's elite. 

    February W-L Prediction: 7-5

    Wins: Jazz, Rockets, Grizzlies, Spurs, Hawks, Hornets, Magic

    Losses: 76ers, Knicks, Jazz, Mavericks, Heat


February Intriguing Storylines

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    Best one-on-one matchup of February:

    The second back-to-back series against the Jazz this season will be Cousins last chance to go head-to-head with Derrick Favors. After being drafted fifth by the Kings in the 2010 NBA draft, Cousins told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports: 

    ”I believe everything happens for a reason,” Cousins said. ”But I can’t wait to play them because I’m going at their necks, especially the big that got picked before me.”

    Favors, of course, was drafted third by the Nets in the 2010 NBA draft. Cousins took that personally, and the two games against the Jazz in February will be his last chance to show what a mistake it was.

    Sacramento has the best-case scenario in February if...

    If they finish the month above .500. Nine of their 12 games are on the road, including matchups against the 76ers, Knicks and Heat. To suffice the large amount of road games, the Kings must win all three of their home games.

    Sacramento has the worst-case scenario in February if...

    If the Kings lose more than half of their nine road games. Along with January, February will be among the Kings tough stretch of the season. This will be the make-or-break stretch of the Kings season. If they finish under .500 for the month, they might as well kiss they playoff hopes goodbye.  

March Schedule

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    - Friday, March 1, 2013 @ San Antonio Spurs

    - Sunday, March 3, 2013 vs. Charlotte Bobcats

    - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 vs. Denver Nuggets

    - Wednesday, March 6, 2013 @ Golden State Warriors

    - Friday, March 8, 2013 vs. Phoenix Suns

    - Sunday, March 10, 2013 vs. Milwaukee Bucks

    - Wednesday, March 13, 2013 vs. Chicago Bulls

    - Sunday, March 17, 2013 @ Los Angeles Lakers

    - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 vs. Los Angeles Clippers

    - Thursday, March 21, 2013 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

    - Saturday, March 23, 2013 @ Denver Nuggets

    - Sunday, March 24, 2013 vs. Philadelphia 76ers

    - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 @ Golden State Warriors

    - Thursday, March 28, 2013 @ Phoenix Suns

    - Saturday, March 30, 2013 vs. Los Angeles Lakers

March Key Games

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    Wednesday, March 6, 2013 @ Golden State Warriors

    The first of many against teams in their own division. The Kings face teams in their own division seven times in March. The first game is away against the Warriors.

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013 vs. Chicago Bulls

    A week later, the Kings will host the team they opened the season against, the Bulls. Rose should be back in the lineup, so this will be a completely different Bulls team than the one the Kings faced at the start of the season.

    Thursday, March 28, 2013 @ Phoenix Suns—Saturday, March 30, 2013 vs. Los Angeles Lakers

    After once again facing the Warriors in Oakland, the Kings will travel to Phoenix the next day to play the Suns. Two days later, the Kings will be back in Sacramento hosting the Lakers. The Kings need to take at least one of these games against their division rivals. They can't afford to have a losing streak to teams in their own division. 

    March W-L Prediction: 6-9

    Wins: Bobcats, Suns, Bucks, Timberwolves, 76ers, Warriors

    Losses: Spurs, Nuggets (2), Warriors, Bulls, Lakers (2), Clippers, Suns


March Intriguing Storylines

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    Best one-on-one matchup of March:

    According to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee, Cousins had the ultimate compliment for Tim Duncan, following a loss to the Spurs last season.

    "(Expletive) you're good," Cousins said to Duncan. 

    March 1 will be the third time the Kings play the Spurs. Cousins vs. Duncan will be a fantastic matchup, with the Big Fundamental's career coming to a close and Cousins just beginning to reach his potential. 

    Sacramento has the best-case scenario in March if...

    March is another month where the Kings have a bunch of games against teams in the Pacific Division. If the Kings win at least four of their six games against their division rivals, they could have a real shot at sneaking into the playoffs.  

    Sacramento has the worst-case scenario in March if...

    If they lose more than four of their six games against their divisional rivals. Eleven of the Kings 15 games in March are against teams in the Western Conference. Obviously, losing more than half of those games will be a death sentence for the Kings' season. 

April Schedule

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    - Wednesday, April 3, 2013 vs. Houston Rockets

    - Friday, April 5, 2013 vs. Dallas Mavericks

    - Sunday, April 7, 2013 vs. Memphis Grizzlies

    - Wednesday, April 10, 2013 vs. New Orleans Hornets

    - Friday, April 12, 2013 @ San Antonio Spurs

    - Sunday, April 14, 2013 @ Houston Rockets

    - Monday, April 15, 2013 @ Oklahoma City Thunder

    - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 vs. Los Angeles Clippers

April Key Games

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    Friday, April 5, 2013 vs. Dallas Mavericks

    In the middle of a five-game home stand, the Kings will host the Mavericks. The Kings could be battling the Mavericks for a postseason spot, so this Friday night game is crucial. With three of the Kings last four games of the season on the road, it's important the Kings take care of business at home.

    Monday, April 15, 2013 @ Oklahoma City Thunder

    The importance of the last away game of the year for the Kings will depend on the team's record. If the Kings are in the playoff hunt, this will be a can't miss game. If the Kings are already out of the chase, then this game will be for momentum for the 2013-14 NBA season.

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 vs. Los Angeles Clippers

    The Kings face the division rival Clippers in the last game of the season. If the Kings are out of the playoffs, they could play spoilers for the Clippers. The Clippers will battle for a high postseason spot. Losing to the Kings in the last game of the year could cost the Clippers a higher seed in the playoffs. 

    April W-L Prediction: 5-3

    Wins: Rockets, Mavericks, Hornets, Thunder, Clippers

    Losses: Grizzlies, Spurs, Rockets


April Intriguing Storylines

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    Best one-on-one matchup of April:

    The third-to-last game of the season will be newly acquired point guard Aaron Brooks' last chance to play his old team, the Houston Rockets. Brooks could be the starting point guard at this point in the season, and will go head-to-head against Jeremy Lin. 

    Sacramento has the best-case scenario in April if...

    If the Kings wrap up a successful season and earn their first spot in the postseason since 2005-06.

    Sacramento has the worst-case scenario in April if...

    If the Kings have nothing to play for and end the season on a multiple game losing streak. 

Full Season Record

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    Final Record: 41-41

    Although the Kings will be much improved, they are still a year away from reaching the NBA postseason. 

    Finishing .500 should be a great accomplishment for such a young team. It will mean that the guys on the team are actually developing into real players. The Kings have been in a rebuilding standstill since 2006-07. If the team doesn't show improvement this season, it might be time to blow the situation up and start from scratch. 

    Kings fans should be optimistic though. The team may not have enough to make the playoffs, but at least they will finally get a chance to watch some competitive basketball again.