Sacramento Kings: Game 34 Preview at Denver Nuggets

Feb 23, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) drives to the net against Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur (00) in the fourth quarter at Pepsi Center. The Kings defeated the Nuggets 114-110. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 23, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) drives to the net against Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur (00) in the fourth quarter at Pepsi Center. The Kings defeated the Nuggets 114-110. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings travel to face the Denver Nuggets on January 3, 2017.  This article provides a preview of that action.

The Sacramento Kings open their 2017 schedule with a road game in Denver against the Nuggets.  This is a single-game road trip before heading home for a seven-game homestand.

Tonight’s contest is the first meeting this season against the Denver Nuggets and the first of a back-to-back set on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Since there is no highlight video from a previous meeting between the two teams, I chose a special video for this game preview.  Here is the Sacramento Kings’ Vote Boogie to the All-Star Game campaign video.  Enjoy.

Without further ado, here is everything you need to know about tonight’s game between the Sacramento Kings and the Denver Nuggets.

Apr 2, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) drives to the net against Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) in the fourth quarter at the Pepsi Center. The Kings defeated the Nuggets 115-106. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 2, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) drives to the net against Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) in the fourth quarter at the Pepsi Center. The Kings defeated the Nuggets 115-106. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries

Sacramento Kings

The injury bug has nabbed the Kings in recent games.  Both Rudy Gay and Arron Afflalo continue to be listed as questionable.  Rudy Gay has missed the last 2 games and 8 of the last 9 contests with a hip injury.  Afflalo has missed 3 straight games with an elbow sprain.  There have been no positive signs that either player will suit up for tonight’s game as of this writing.

Last time out, Ty Lawson was injured against the Memphis Grizzlies.  Lawson suffered a maxillary sinus fracture and is also listed as questionable.  If my face was broken a mere 3 days ago, I probably would not be suiting up for an NBA game.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets played on Monday, so their injury report could change rapidly as tipoff approaches.  Both Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur missed Monday’s game.  Both injuries appear minor and could allow both players to suit up for tonight’s contest.

Stay Alert

Be sure to check twitter or watch the pregame show for all the late breaking information you need to know before tonight’s game gets underway.

Apr 2, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) guards Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the third quarter at the Pepsi Center. The Kings defeated the Nuggets 115-106. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 2, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) guards Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the third quarter at the Pepsi Center. The Kings defeated the Nuggets 115-106. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Nuggets’ Scouting Report

The Denver Nuggets enter tonight’s contest with a record of 14 wins and 20 losses.  That currently sits them 10th in the Western Conference standings, but just a half game behind the Kings for the final playoff spot.

The Nuggets have struggled at home this season.  They have won just 7 of their 16 home contests.  The Pepsi Center has been not been a generous home to the Nuggets this season.

On Monday, the Denver Nuggets traveled to Oakland to take on the Golden State Warriors.  Denver put up a great effort but ultimately fell to the Warriors 127-119 in a slugfest.  Below is a highlight video from that game to give you a peek at this year’s Nuggets squad.

The Nuggets are building a young and exciting core around talented big man Nikola Jokic.  He is one of my current favorite players to watch and a true stat stuffing monster.  Jokic is a uniquely skilled offensive player.  At age 21, Jokic is averaging 12.4 points, 0.4 three-pointers made, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game in only 24.4 minutes.  He is doing that while shooting 58.6% from the field, 31.4% from distance, and 78.5% from the free throw line.  This guy is great to watch with the ball in his hands, so tune in tonight for a little Jokic magic.

Dec 14, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Malachi Richardson (5) drives with the ball as Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) defends during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 14, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Malachi Richardson (5) drives with the ball as Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) defends during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

What to Watch for?

Boogie vs Joker

Nikola Jokic’s season has taken off since Coach Malone moved him to play center.  Tonight, the NBA’s best center comes to town in DeMarcus Cousins.  This should be a great showdown between two unique skill sets.  I am more than excited to see how Boogie handles Jokic.

If Nikola Jokic has one flaw in his game it is on the defensive end of the floor, so do not be surprised to see Boogie take full advantage tonight.  It should be a great matchup that is worth the price of admission, regardless.

The Lone Point Guard

If Ty Lawson misses tonight’s game with his facial fracture (and it is difficult to fathom him suiting up), that should mean big minutes for Darren Collison.  Collison has been struggling lately and it looked as if Lawson was overtaking him for the lion’s share of the point guard minutes.  Now, it is time for Collison to set up and prove he is a legitimate starting NBA point guard.

Do not be surprised to see the high 30s in minutes for Collison tonight and let us hope that big statistical line follows.

If you want to see the statistical line I predicted for Darren Collison or any other King’s player in tonight’s game then check out my predicting the box score column found here.  It is a fast and informative read about this game.  Thank you.

Malachi Reborn

Malachi Richardson is a rookie shooting guard from Syracuse who was picked 22nd overall in the 2016 NBA Draft.  That is pretty much all Kings’ fans know about Malachi Richardson these days.  Richardson has played a total of 32 minutes in the Kings first 33 games this season.

Now that the calendar has ticked over to 2017, Coach Joerger thinks it is time to see what Malachi can do.  In a recent article by James Ham, Joerger made comments about getting Richardson into the rotation and seeing what he could do.

The shooting guard play for the Kings this season has been lackluster, so I hope Richardson can prove himself and improve that position for the team.  Continue to monitor his playing time and production going forward.

Feb 23, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) controls the ball against Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the first quarter at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 23, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) controls the ball against Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the first quarter at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Summary

There you have it, my preview of tonight’s game between the Sacramento Kings and the Denver Nuggets.  The Mile High City plays host to tonight’s contest.  If you are in Denver tonight, head out to the Pepsi Center and enjoy the game.  If that is not possible, watch from the comfort of your favorite chair and root on the Kings.

It should be an up-tempo game with plenty of excitement.  I hope the Kings can start off 2017 right and build some momentum heading into the big homestand.

Be sure to check back to A Royal Pain for postgame content and everything you need to know about the Kings this season.  Thank you for reading.

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