Gametime: 10:00 p.m. EST
The Bobcats have now lost 6 of their last 7 games, including a current 5-game losing streak. It's been a real blast, but I'd rather it end soon.
The Bobcats beat the Kings once already this season in an 8-point win at Time Warner Cable Arena, but the Bobcats have significantly slipped on defense, especially without Jeff Taylor. Charlotte's last two games had a combined deficit of 57 points, so I'm not exactly psyched to see the Bobcats play an opponent that's scored 100+ points in each of the past eight games.
But that's not to say Sacramento's been an amazing turn-around story. They haven't. They've had some strong wins, including one against Miami in overtime and one in Houston. They also took San Antonio nearly to the brink, but couldn't execute late in the game against Time Duncan and the Spurs' defense.
Save for an unsavory game against the 76ers the other night in which the Kings' defense couldn't shut down Evan Turner, Tony Wroten and Thaddeus Young, Sacramento has strung together a nice stretch of competitive games against decent squads.
DeMarcus Cousins is the clear focal point of the offense as the most versatile offensive player. He tore up Al Jefferson for three of four quarters last time around before sputtering out in the final stanza, and I'm sure he can do the same if not more tonight with his quickness and footwork. Cousins' foul trouble can be a factor any night as well as his temper, so keep that in mind, too.
Isaiah Thomas is no small threat either. He's a speedster with a good jump shot and terrific finishing ability at the rim. And it seems Rudy Gay's moved back into more of a supporting role rather than a dominant one on offense. With his usage rating back in line with his time in Memphis, Gay's had as much scoring success in Sacramento as in Toronto but on fewer shots, which has to be encouraging for Kings fans, especially since his three-point shooting should balance out toward his career averages at some point. We shall see, I suppose.
Charlotte will undoubtedly need a much better defensive effort for an entire game than we've seen recently if they want to take down Sacramento. The Kings don't have the dynamic shooting of Portland, but they can exploit the disparity between their offense and Charlotte's defense and their defense and Charlotte's offense for a healthy differential if things go the way we've seen on this West coast trip.
The Bobcats have really struggled with offensive difficulties of Kemba Walker as of late, so if he can get back to his usual rhythm of getting to the hoop, Charlotte should have a better chance on offense.
Or so we hope. Shoot, can't be any worse than the last game, right?
Don't answer that.