Kings at Nuggets preview: Denver must take care of business

Ezra Shaw

The Sacramento Kings come to Pepsi Center a team who's long, slow walk to purgatory has haunted them since it was announced that the Maloof brothers sold the team to Seattle investors. Against this backdrop the team waits and plays with uncertainty.

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2012/2013 NBA Regular Season: Game 45


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16-28 (4-16 on the road)

1-0

26-18 (16-3 at home)
January 18, 2013 - 6:00 PM (MT)
Pepsi Center - Denver, Colorado
TV Altitude / 950 AM / 104.3 FM The Fan
Probable Starters
Isaiah Thomas PG Ty Lawson
Tyreke Evans SG Andre Iguodala
John Salmons SF Danilo Gallinari
Jason Thompson PF Kenneth Faried
DeMarcus Cousins C Kosta Koufos
Notes
Sactown Royalty Blogs Denver Stiffs
None Injuries None
The Kings have lost three an a row, and lost to the OKC Thunder last night
Stat Nuggets have won two in a row, and are on the first game of a six game homestand.

The Sacramento Kings are coming to town. I can't help but feel the same thing I felt when the Seattle Supersonics were coming to Denver in 07-08. Kind of this Walking Dead presence of inevitability. So rather than focusing on the circumstances of their management ... let us focus on the players...

First off, this is the dreaded "team on second night of back to back" that the Nuggets have occasionally had trouble with this season (inexplicably). DeMarcus Cousins is THE feature player on the team. Despite having a personality better suited for a poorly written episode of Law and Order, the talent Cousins possesses is undeniable and is always a primary player for the Nuggets to worry about. Despite being the desired target for Nuggets fans trade machine dreams, the Kings have shown very little inclination to move him.

Meanwhile, Cousins is surrounded by some competent players. John Salmons seems to struggle guarding Danilo Gallinari but is serviceable as a small forward. I can see the potential in Jason Thompson as a long term power forward in this league. Isaiah Thomas is quite small, but very fast ... but I'm not entirely sure on his potential as a starting point guard in the NBA.

Tyreke Evans is a strange case. After a great rookie season in 2009, he looks to have severely regressed with both his shooting form and his consistency. Some injuries have definitely played a part in this, but it's discouraging to see a player with so much potential not live up to it (as of yet)

Of note: The greatest player in Nuggets history, Alex English, is one of Sacramento's assistant coaches. And Lafayette "Fat" Lever does some color for Kings radio broadcasts and acts as their director of player personnel.

Nuggets of Wisdom

The Nuggets played their best half of basketball in their last game against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. Smothering defense and fast-break transition offense led to the Nuggets winning with relative ease on the road. The job tonight will be to take care of business as they should tonight. The Kings are coming off a late night loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Sacramento last night. The dreaded "west coast to mountain time zone" back to back that the Nuggets have taken advantage of so often in the past must be employed here.

Wilson Chandler has come in and made a difference. Nate Timmons' boy has been providing an offensive spark off the bench (shot selection is still somewhat questionable - but that's a minor quibble), but most importantly Chandler has been scratching and clawing on defense. As pointed out by Mr. Timmons, a lineup featuring Andre Iguodala, Chandler and Gallo was quite effective at perimeter defense. In fact, for the fourth quarter Chandler was playing the power forward position instead of Kenneth Faried.

All in all, you want the Nuggets' to just have focus. Games such as these can be dangerous only if you let them be as such. Cousins is still a great player and the Kings do have shooters who can get hot. Don't let those things become an issue and we can all relax for a game.

We all can hope anyway.

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