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What to Watch For – Game 19

Sacramento Kings head coach Keith Smart told the Sacramento Bee he heard from Warriors owner Joe Lacob when he got the job with Sacramento.

SMART: “When I got this position here, Joe Lacob texted me to say, ‘Congratulations,’ and ‘I’m glad you landed on your feet.’ “

Smart’s a nice guy. A really nice guy. He’s not going to talk about seeking revenge or set out to prove anyone wrong. But you have to believe this one means something to him. Playing against the team that let him go despite the improvements he made. Playing against the team that replaced him with a rookie who’s never coached before.

The Kings are probably going to be up for this game anyway. They’ve had a couple days off. It’s a NorCal rivalry. And they rarely face opponents with a record as bad as theirs. If that’s not enough, you know they’re going to bring it for Smart.

Watch how hard they play. What how into the game they are. Watch to see if they outwork, outenergy and outhustle the Warriors. That shouldn’t even be possible, considering the Warriors hold out hopes for the playoffs. But recent history shows it is entirely possible.

SMART (to SacBee): “New ownership came in and even with Joe Lacob saying, ‘Hey, we have our own guy,’ I understood that. I didn’t like it, because I would’ve loved to continue to build, but I had that feeling that it was going to probably change. New ownership, people want their own people, and when you pay $450 million for it, you do what you need to do with it. I just focused on doing my job, knowing what I need to do to coach in the NBA and prove that I can coach in the NBA.

Here are some other things to watch for tonight.

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Curry’s willingness to attack the basket: Since returning from his ankle injury, Curry has noticeably settled for outside shots.

Curry has attempted 28 3-pointers his last four games. The last time he took that many threes over a four-game stretch was in March 2011. The last time he took at least six 3-pointers in four straight games was his rookie year, when he did it over four games bridging January and February 2010.

The obvious reason is his conditioning isn’t on point – 15 consecutive days off will do that to you.

CURRY: “You can be in shape or what you think is in decent shape to play. But when it gets to the schedule we have and being ready in the fourth, that’s a process after missing so much time. So, I’m still working on being in shape for the minutes I’m playing. But I’m doing pretty well.”

Curry said initially he didn’t feel much of a difference after sitting out so long. His ankle still hurt, was still sore after games. But he’s played in the last four games – his longest stretch without an ankle incident this season.

He said his ankle doesn’t respond well after games. Though he doesn’t think about it during games, it dominates a lot of his focus between games – daily rehab and special treatment, trying to get rid of the soreness.

CURRY: “Hopefully us staying on top of it now and me continuing to play on it will help me get through this.  So, next year when I come back it will just be a normal ankle and I can keep going and keep pushing hard.”

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Warriors defense: The Sacramento Kings have one of the worst offenses in the league. They rank 30th in field goal percentage (39.9), 24th in points per game (90.6) and 29th in scoring differential (-11.7 points per game).

The Kings have scored in triple digits twice in 20 games, both times were victories (Lakers/Bucks).

Will the Kings’ poor offense come alive Golden State’s mediocre-at-best defense? The Warriors are 21st in field goal percentage defense (45 percent) and 28th in points allowed (99.72). Or will the Warriors defense take advantage of a limited offense?

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The dominance of Jason Thompson: He usually plays well against the Warriors. For his career, he averages 12 points and 10 rebounds. The only other team he averages a double-double against for his career is Philadelphia,

Keith Smart has started Thompson the last six games. He averaged 9.5 points and 7.2 rebounds in those games. He’s the kind of hyperactive, athletic bigs who tend to give the Warriors fits (he averages better than four offensive rebounds per game against the Warriors). He’s usually inconsistent, but if he’s on, he’s what Jackson calls a “motor guy.”

Marcus Thompson

  • http://cloudyhands.com johnpfree

    on Curry – he seems ok to me in the half court, but he’s been a real sissy on breakaways. lookin over his shoulder and throwing up weak little layups that get blocked or miss. can’t say I blame him, but it’s not pretty. hope he gets it back.
    speaking of sissys :) if Andris would actually TRY to draw a foul, I would go back to respecting him, which I would really like to do.

  • Schaefdoggy

    The front office made an error not using amnisty on AB’s contract. Don’t let them fool you they would have had no Center heading into the season. We could have thrown any Big Man out there in and been 27M in better shape and still be getting the same production. They just did not want to eat that kind of money (Can’t blame them on that) but how long of a leash does this guy have?

    Solution: Trade AB and Dorell Wright for Kaman. Sign Kenyon Martin ASAP. Move Lee to SF.

    Line-up:
    Curry – Robinson – Jenkins
    Ellis – Thompson
    Lee – Rush – McGuire
    Martin – Udoh – Wright
    Kaman – Tyler – Barron

    Call me Lacob…this is just for starters……

  • Dan

    Don’t think it makes much if any difference between Smart and Jackson. Both are inexperienced but promising young coaches who will make some mistakes but relate to players pretty well.

    The real story for this game is that it is a critical one for the Ws postseason hopes. These games with Sacto will likely be the difference between the 12th and 14th spot in the Western Conference, which will likely be the difference between the 6th and 8th slot in the lottery. As we all know, if the Warriors get the 8th pick or lower, it goes to Utah in this loaded draft. With the Ws current roster and contract commitments, the most likely opportunity to improve is to land a franchise player in the draft. We need that high lottery pick. We’ve got to lose this game and the next one vs. Sacto. The next few seasons may be riding on it.

  • http://n/a pablojaime

    The best thing the Dubs can do is lose. Let’s hope the losses pile up and we get the #1. Lee would never match up well against Carmelo or Lebron or even Rudy Gay or Grant Hill!

  • Niners in 2012

    Why in the world didn’t we sign Dalembert? Nobody talks about this but he is avging more pts, rebs, and blks than Biedrins/Udoh combined. And he’s on a one year deal, next year is not guaranteed.

  • Young

    Todays game proved the warrior and kings are about equal teams.

    Mark Jackson will have to be coach of the decade or …No playoffs for this current roster…

  • Ewok

    Biedrins is regressing. By now, he should be playing like a seasoned veteran now but he still plays so lost with his role. I have to wonder.

    Mark Jackson made a big mistake in taking in Earl Barron. This guy doesn’t provide interior activity, he can’t defend, he can’t hold the big guyd, can’t rebound and most of all, he can’t create plays… We should have taken Chris Hunter instead who contributed real quality plays for us tw years ago. He has the size to bang and defend, he can clog the middle and rebound and that’s the vacum hole kwame brown left us with his injury… Earl Barron just doesn’t make sense!

    Curry should be rested more. Should be adjusted as a sixth man.