Nets-Kings Preview: Can the Nets Win Three in a Row?


Tonight, the Nets will head east to face the Kings in Sacramento. The Kings are definitely having a bad year and are only 18-33, which means that this is another important game for draft lottery implications. The Nets currently hold a 1.5 game “lead” over the Kings for the top pick, but if the Nets lose this game, their lead will be down to a half game. Sacramento is coming off a one-point win at Utah last night in one of their better victories of the season, and will have a longer trip back to Sacramento than the Nets will have tonight.

Injuries will be a factor in this game, with both teams having some key guys out. For the Nets, Anthony Morrow returned last night and had a bad game, scoring only 1 point. Shelden Williams and Jordan Farmar will definitely be out, and Jordan Williams is unlikely to play. For Sacramento, Tyreke Evans missed last night’s game with back spasms (a very Mehmet Okur injury). He is questionable for tonight’s game. The Kings will also be without John Salmons, a player who is not very important.

Key matchups:

Deron Williams vs. Isaiah Thomas. Advantage: Williams

Last night, Deron was guarding Nate Robinson, and he will have a very similar matchup tonight in Thomas. Thomas was drafted with the very last pick in the NBA draft last year and he has actually had a pretty good season averaging over 10 ppg. However, he should be no match for Deron on paper. But when young players have went up against Deron this year looking to prove themselves (Kyrie Irving, John Wall, even Charles Jenkins last night), the young players have sometimes outplayed D-Will.  Hopefully he won’t let that happen again tonight.

Tyreke Evans vs. Marshon Brooks. Advantage: Evans

Tyreke Evans is one of the young stars in the NBA. He won rookie of the year a few years ago, but really hasn’t improved too much since then. He may have a big game tonight against Marshon’s weak defense and slumping. However, Tyreke missed his last game with back spasms, and may not play in this one. This could mean a start from Travis Outlaw. Oh no.

Marcus Thornton vs. Gerald Wallace. Advantage: Wallace

When you hear Marcus Thornton, you think of a very random player who probably isn’t very good. But Thornton has averaged 19 ppg this year and is proving to be one of the better players in the NBA. However, he may be a similar type of player to Danny Granger, who Gerald Wallace shut down a few days ago. I expect Crash to limit Thornton as well. If Crash plays with the same energy and hustle as he did in the Warriors game, the Nets will win.

Kris Humphries vs. Jason Thompson. Advantage: Humphries

Jason Thompson is not very good and The Hump should be able to dominate him to some extent. The Hump might have another big game here because Thompson is not a great rebounder. The Hump may have more problems with DeMarcus Cousins, though.

DeMarcus Cousins vs. Johan Petro. Advantage: Cousins

Oh boy. This matchup is going to be such a joke. Unless Jordan Williams makes a surprise return to this game, Cousins could score 30 or maybe more. If the Nets can only put Petro on him, he is going to have a huge game. He is averaging 18 ppg and 11 rpg and will devour Petro when Petro is guarding him. To put this in perspective, Petro gave up 10 points to a second-round draft pick rookie last night. Just imagine what Cousins is going to do to him. It is possible Cousins will have a 30-20 game.

Last night, the Nets reunited with Richard Jefferson, one of the more beloved players in Nets history. Tonight, they will reunite with one of the most hated players in Nets history, Travis Outlaw. Before last season, the Nets gave Travis a 5-year, 35 million dollar deal and it went down as one of the worst in NBA history. He averaged only 9 ppg and shot under 38% last season for the Nets, who amnestied him in the offseason. He signed with the Kings and has become a benchwarmer, where he belongs. I hope he plays tonight, because then the one or two Nets fans who may be watching this game in Sacramento can boo him. The Nets will also be reunited with Terrence Williams in this game, one of my personal favorites while with the Nets.

My bold prediction is not too bold tonight, and I already stated it above. DeMarcus Cousins is going to have a huge game. I’m predicting a 30 point, 20 rebound performance and Johan Petro is going to just be embarrassed. The Hump won’t be able to stop him either, though Kris should get at least 10 rebounds. Both teams had emotional victories last night, and the Kings’ momentum will carry over into tonight as they will pick up a relatively easy, 106-92 win, led by DeMarcus Cousins.