Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

February 4, 2012
Kings vs. Warriors: Five things to watch

These teams met just five days ago in Oakland, with the Warriors' bench leading them to a 93-90 win. They play again tonight at 7 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the game:

1. Keith Smart feels the Kings are making strides on defense. The Kings' head coach said the team finally had "everybody on one page" defensively Thursday night against the Trail Blazers. Players were talking to each other on the court and anticipating where they needed to move in coverage.

Right now the Kings, who are still allowing an NBA-worst 101.4 points per game, need their defense to be stout. They've gone 14 consecutive games without scoring 100 points themselves.

2. Turnovers hurt last time. The Kings out-rebounded the Warriors and outscored them in the paint by 20 points on Jan. 31. But they turned the ball over 21 times, which led to 21 points for Golden State. The Kings need to take better care of the ball tonight.

3. Can John Salmons build off his best offensive game of the season? Salmons has struggled mightily with his shot but broke out against the Trail Blazers for 19 points. Consistency is now the key for Salmons, who is still shooting just 37.1 percent from the floor. Another thing to watch is whether Salmons is asked at times to guard the quicker Monta Ellis, the Warriors' shooting guard and top scorer.

4. Warriors reserve guard Brandon Rush has been the league's most consistent three-point shooter. Rush is shooting 56.9 percent from beyond the arc, slightly better than the Celtics' Ray Allen. Left open a few times in the fourth quarter on Jan. 31, Rush made the Kings pay by scoring 15 of his 20 points in the fourth. The Kings can't lose track of Rush when he is on the floor.

5. The shooting percentage is inching upward. The Kings recently cracked the 40-percent mark and are shooting 40.2 percent as a team. It's still last in the NBA, but it's an improvement over a couple of weeks ago. Now they can start working toward closing the gap between their offensive efficiency and that of their opponents, who are shooting 47.2 percent.

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