Feel the fresh air?
There’s a new atmosphere in the Sacramento Kings organization, and for the first time in a decade there is legitimate optimism. The Kings begin their regular season at home October 30 against the Denver Nuggets, but there are five more contests the players should note as they brace for the 82-game schedule:
November 1 vs. Los Angeles Clippers
The Kings are 67-53 versus the Clippers since moving to Sacramento, owning the edge in the perennial race to avoid the division basement. DeMarcus Cousins and Blake Griffin have a brewing beef, and Los Angeles thoroughly beat down the Kings in 2012-13 (highlighted by a 35-point blowout on December 1), so the royalty can start off right by defending their home court.
November 2 at Golden State Warriors
This match is a celebration of the continuing rivalry between the Northern California clubs (thank you David Stern), but it’s also a homecoming for many ex-Warriors including Vivek Ranadive, Mike Malone and Carl Landry. Sacramento won the season series 3-1 last year against Golden State, so expect the Dubs to treat this like a Game 7.
November 24 at Los Angeles Lakers
Oh yes, Sacramento’s arch-nemesis. The Kings will travel to a land where playoff games were painfully lost, but this time Kobe Bryant may be bench-ridden. Since the Kings are here to stay, why not begin a new era by establishing who’s the real “King” of California?
December 3 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are a prototype model for building a contender through the draft, which Sacramento and many other small markets hope to emulate. If the current Kings’ core develops soon as expected, they will have to fight Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook through their primes for the foreseeable future, so it would help to get in their heads now.
December 23 vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Old pal Tyreke Evans and Sacramento native Ryan Anderson are coming back to town, so what’s not to love? There will be Eurosteps, layups, contested threes and fadeaways abound, and Cousins (with the help of Greivis Vasquez) should terrorize a New Orleans roster that inexplicably lacks a true center.
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