Friday, November 15, 7:30 p.m. PT
You may be wondering why a game against the Detroit Pistons is worth anticipating. Well, there are a few reasons. For one, it's a chance to see a matchup between two of the most promising frontcourt players in DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe. Not to mention, Detroit also has another rising prospect in Andre Drummond.
Beyond that, what's intriguing is the individual performances we tend to get from this matchup. In last year's first tilt against Detroit, a Sacramento victory, Monroe recorded a triple-double with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. Yet his performance was eclipsed by Sacramento's teamwork in that one, as seven different players finished in double figures.
In the teams' second matchup, a Pistons win on New Year's Day, it was Cousins getting the better of Monroe, finishing with 21 points, 14 boards, three steals and two assists. But this time Detroit played a better brand of team basketball, having three different players finish with 15 or more points.
Also worth noting in line with crazy individual performances was the season before, when Rodney Stuckey dropped 36 in one meeting against the Kings and 35 points in the other.
It would seem one of the keys for Sacramento is to prevent a Pistons player from having a career-defining game.
To dig deeper, a lot of the Kings' chances will hinge on their ability to force the newly acquired Josh Smith to shoot from outside of the key. The former Hawk shot 77.1 percent within three feet of the basket last season but only 32.1 percent away from the hoop. Luckily for Sacramento, he may take the onus on himself, as Smith hoisted 674 jump shots last season, despite only hitting 30.7 percent of them.
Utilizing the home-court advantage will also be instrumental for Sacramento. The Kings were 20-21 on their own court last season and a dismal 8-33 off of it. If they have a chance to beat Detroit in one of their two meetings, odds are it will come at Sleep Train Arena.
Sacramento Kings 109, Detroit Pistons 104