Programming note: Nuggets-Kings coverage starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California with Kings Pregame Live (territorial restrictions apply)
After the Kings' 110-105 victory in Denver on Monday night, the home-and-home series moves to California’s capital city.
Although it’s early, Sacramento’s 3-1 start is changing expectations. Wednesday's game versus the Nuggets (1-2) looks more winnable and an opportunity to protect home court before a tough four-game road trip through Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Memphis.
Both teams were 6-for-23 from the floor in the first quarter Monday night, reflecting their poor shooting percentages thus far this season: Sacramento ranks 27th and Denver ranks 29th in the NBA.
Defense, controlling the paint and transition will be big factors at Sleep Train Arena.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Darren Collison vs Ty Lawson. Collison -- as well as Ramon Sessions and Ray McCallum -- must employ good on-ball defense to prevent Lawson’s ability to wreak havoc in transition and get into the paint in half court scenarios.
Jason Thompson vs Kenneth Faried. Thompson must keep Faried from roaming unabated in the paint and attacking the offensive glass.
KEYS TO VICTORY:
1. Dominate the paint: Sacramento must keep Denver out of the paint and make the Nuggets a half court, jump-shooting team. Denver is 29th in the league in both 3-point field goal and overall field goal percentage.
2. Rebound: Sacramento must minimize second-chance opportunities by matching the physicality of Faried and JaVale McGee-, who had 16 points in 14 minutes on Monday night.
The Kings are leading the NBA in defensive rebounds and that trend needs to continue versus Denver.
3. Transition defense: Lawson must be stopped in transition, ideally at the Kings half court logo diminishing fast break points and the athleticism of Faried, McGhee, and Wilson Chandler.
Sacramento – No significant injuries to report.
Denver – F J.J. Hickson (9/17, five-game suspension/right knee surgery) will be eligible to return for Sunday's game against Portland. G Ty Lawson (Left Ankle Soreness) - Questionable. G Randy Foye (Right Wrist Sprain) – Probable. G Gary Harris (Back) – Probable
Sacramento defeated the Nuggets on Monday night 110-105. Last season, the Kings took two of three games from Denver including the season opener, 90-88 on Oct. 30, which was Kings coach Michael Malone’s first career victory.