SACRAMENTO -- After dropping two straight, the Sacramento Kings return to Golden 1 Center Wednesday evening to face the team with the NBA’s worst record. The Brooklyn Nets are 9-49 on the season and in a dramatic tailspin with just over 20 games remaining in the season.
Sacramento is struggling to find their way in the post DeMarcus Cousins era. They are 1-2 since the blockbuster trade that sent Cousins to New Orleans Pelicans and they have lost each of the last two contests by 14 points. They are using stripped down offensive sets as they acclimate multiple new players into the rotation late in the season.
Brooklyn has lost 16 straight and 27 of their previous 28 games. They are a team without a clear path for the future. To compound matters, their 2017 first round pick, slated as fourth overall at worst, will go to the Boston Celtics in a pick swap for the trade that brought in Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry in June of 2013. The Nets’ 2018 first round pick is also property of the Celtics from the same deal.
Kings by 1.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Kosta Koufos/Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Brook Lopez -- After dealing Bojan Bogdanovic to the Washington Wizards at the deadline, Brooklyn has very few scoring threats. Lopez will see plenty of Koufos early and if he gets loose, Cauley-Stein will move over to help against the 7-footer. On the offensive end, both Koufos and Cauley-Stein found success against the Timberwolves on Monday, combining to score 28 points, grab 17 rebounds and hand out six assists.
WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 25-35, third place in Pacific
Nets: 9-49, last place in Atlantic
Kings: SG Arron Afflalo (hamstring) probable, PG Ty Lawson (gastroenteritis) questionable, SG Malachi Richardson (right hamstring partial tear) out, G/F Garrett Temple (left hamstring partial tear) out, F Rudy Gay (torn left Achilles) out for season.
Nets: PF Quincy Acy (knee) doubtful.
The Kings hold a 1-0 advantage in the seasons series after beating the Nets 122-105 back in November at the Barclays Center. Sacramento carries a 47-37 all-time franchise lead into Wednesday’s contest, but trail the Nets 31-29 during the Sacramento-era.
“Our problem right now is trying to figure out the best way to move forward on a consistent basis and have more continuity. There’s nothing you can do about that. We’ve just got to continue to help each other, figure out how we’re going to play together.” -Darren Collison