SACRAMENTO -- After three days of practice and soul searching, the struggling Sacramento Kings return to their homecourt Saturday with the hopes of snapping their three-game skid. Standing in the Kings’ way are the Denver Nuggets, who find themselves in the thick of a Western Conference playoff chase 38 games into the 2017-18 season.
Sacramento hasn’t played since Tuesday’s 131-111 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Zach Randolph and Skal Labissiere both finished with double-doubles, but the Kings turned the ball over and allowed the Hornets to shoot 57.3 percent from the field.
Denver is coming off a big win Friday evening in Utah, but they’ll have to face a well rested Kings team on the second night of a back-to-back. Jamal Murray and Trey Liles each finished with 26 points in the Nuggets win victory over the Jazz to help the team improve to 21-17 on the season..
Nuggets by 4
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Bogdan Bogdanovic vs. Gary Harris -- Bogdanovic is quickly adjusting to the NBA world. There is a versatility to his game that the Kings sorely need, especially on the defensive end. In his fourth season in the league, Harris is developing into a bigtime scorer. He can hit the three ball or break you down off the dribble. Whether Bogdanovic starts or comes off the bench, he’ll have his hands full with Haris.
WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 12-25, fourth place in Pacific
Nuggets: 21-17, third place in Northwest
Kings: PG Frank Mason (heel) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out, PF Zach Randolph (oral surgery) out, G George Hill (personal) out. Small forward Justin Jackson and big man Georgios Papagiannis are currently with the Reno Bighorns of the G-League. Two-way players JaKarr Sampson and Jack Cooley will suit up for Sacramento.
Nuggets: PF Paul Millsap (left wrist) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
Guard the Arc -- The Nuggets love to shoot the 3-pointer, attempting 30.6 triples per game. They hit on 36.5 percent of those shots, which ranks 15th in the league. On the flip side, the Kings rank 29th in the league in 3-point attempts by an opponent and opponent 3-point percentage. Sacramento’s had three days of practice to sure up their defense and prepare for the Nuggets.
Guarding Wilson Chandler -- Chandler isn’t an NBA All-Star, but you would think so if you watch him play against Sacramento. The Kings typically don’t have a player to throw out against the 6-foot-8, 225-pound Chandler. If the veteran forward gets going, don’t be shocked to see JaKarr Sampson get a few minutes.
Do Right by the Home Crowd -- After starting the homestand with huge win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Kings haven’t been competitive over the last three games at Golden 1 Center. The boo birds have come out in all three lopsided losses. Fans understand the rebuild process, but they want to see energy and effort every game.
Denver leads the season series 2-0, with wins coming at both the Pepsi Center and Golden 1. The Nuggets hold a slim 90-88 lead the all-time series and the series is all tied up at 65-65 during the Sacramento-era 88-47.
“We’ve just been getting after it. The spirits been good here in practice and we’ve just been getting better, making each other better. It’s been fun, it’s been good.” -Skal Labissiere on the three day break in the Kings’ schedule.