After dropping Monday night’s game to the Atlanta Hawks to start their five-game road trip, the Sacramento Kings travel to Miami to take on a new-look Heat team. The big three of LeBron James Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are gone, but the Heat are loaded with young talent and the Kings haven’t come away with a win in South Beach since Nov. 2001.
Veteran Goran Dragic is surrounded by youth, including former Kings draft pick Hassan Whiteside, who re-signed with Miami this summer for 4-years at $98 million. Tyler Johnson, Justise Winslow and Dion Waiters form a young and exciting core with plenty of upside.
Sacramento is licking its wounds after falling 106-95 in Atlanta. Both Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins found themselves in early foul trouble, which limited the team’s ability to compete down the stretch. They haven’t fared well in South Beach in their history, but this is a winnable game for the Kings.
Heat by 3.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
DeMarcus Cousins vs. Hassan Whiteside -- Drafted together by Sacramento in the 2010 NBA Draft, Cousins and Whiteside know each other well. Cousins missed both games against Miami last season due to suspension, but after a subpar contest against Dwight Howard and the Heat, Cousins should come into the game motivated. Whiteside is a dominant defensive player and he’s finding success this season as an offensive centerpiece in coach Erik Spoelstra’s system. He comes in averaging an impressive 21.7 points, 14.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks through three games.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 2-2, third place in Pacific
Heat: 1-2, third place in Southeast
Kings: PG Darren Collison (suspension) out, SF Omri Casspi is a late scratch (illness).
Heat: F Chris Bosh (blood clots) out, SG Josh Richards (knee) out, Wayne Ellington (quad) questionable.
Sacramento has lost four straight overall and 14 straight on the road in Miami. The Heat hold a 38-17 advantage all-time over the Kings.
“Whiteside’s a tremendous player. He started from nothing and he’s made a lot of success for himself. I’m very happy for him.” - Kosta Koufos on Hassan Whiteside