Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Golden State Warriors had won four-straight without Stephen Curry and it welcomed its MVP back into the fold Friday night in defeating the Portland Trail Blazers. Less than 24 hours later, the Warriors travel to Sacramento to face the Kings as 8.5 point favorites for the game which will air on NBA League pass at 9 PM Central.
Klay Thompson continued his dominant play even with Curry back in tow. Thompson shot 13 of 22 and 7 of 10 from three-point range to finish with a team-high 36 points, while Curry was 8 of 18 for 26 points and four threes in his first game back. Curry had shin splints specially made and referenced Lionel Messi in choosing to opt to wear them. Draymond Green had his eighth triple-double of the season while posting a plus/minus of +30, the best of any Warrior.
The Warriors are a team legitimately in possession of three superstar talents and a heap of depth. Green earned a max-contract over the summer and now looks as though he is a first team All-NBA talent. Curry is on pace to reach nearly 400 threes this season in shattering his own record last season of 272. Thompson can carry the load when Curry needs to rest.
And the Warriors still have the likes of Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala, both key defensive cogs in helping the Warriors continually rank atop defensive rating. The pace is frantic and points are scored, but Golden State is a legitimate defensive force that sometimes gets over looked in talking about a team with so much scoring potential. The Warriors are 17-2 on the road this season, while having an undefeated mark at the Oracle.
The Kings have won three of its past four games, most recently defeating the L.A. Lakers 118-115. DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in the game, while knocking down 8 of 12 from the field and 11 of 13 from the free throw line.
Cousins is averaging 25.5 points and 10.9 rebounds over his last five games while shooting 46.4 percent from the field. On the year, Cousins is just 43.6 percent from the field, but he has expanded his range to beyond the arc and knocks down 1.2 threes per game at a 32 percent clip. Cousins is a franchise player but the Kings have never been a good franchise, so where does that leave things?
Rajon Rondo finally seems to have found his groove in the NBA again, and the point guard is averaging 11.6 assists per game while scoring 11.9 in 35.4 minutes per game. Rudy Gay is still a swiss-army knife of offense at small forward and Darren Collison is a unique player to feature right next to Rondo.
The Kings do not lack talent, but it has not got a lot from first round pick Willie Cauley-Stein either. The Kings were hoping Ben McLemore would develop into more than a mediocre 2-guard, and Marco Belinelli is a better answer for Sacramento at shooting guard thus far. Omri Casspi has flourished this season, but he is a somewhat one-dimensional forward and the Kings are a team that lives and dies as Cousins goes.
The Kings felt confident in letting Nik Stauskas go, but McLemore has hardly proven that choice to be a wise one. Stauskas is playing reasonably well for a horrible Philadelphia 76ers team and McLemore is posting a PER of just over 9.
Expect the Kings to have a world of trouble with a much bigger and more talented Warriors’ backcourt. Rondo will relish the chance to play against Stephen Curry, but the Kings do not really have an answer for Draymond Green at the 4-spot either. This game could easily end up being a double-digit defeat despite the Kings being just 8.5 point underdogs.