SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings return home licking their wounds after a meltdown at Oracle Arena on Monday night. They go from facing a 29-1 Warriors team one game to the 2-31 Philadelphia 76ers the next in a strange NBA scheduling anomaly.
The Kings may have to play without star big man DeMarcus Cousins who was tossed from Monday’s game for an outburst aimed at official Monty McCutchen. The league did not pass down a suspension on Tuesday, but the door remains open for a possible penalty.
Philadelphia looks energized after bringing in point guard Ish Smith two games ago. The speedie Smith is averaging 18 points and eight assists as the 76ers starter after 27 games coming off the bench for the Pelicans. Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison with have their hands full with one of the league’s quickest players.
Kings by 8.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Ben McLemore vs. Nik Stauskas -- These two players fought for minutes at the Kings shooting guard position last season and now they will get to go at each other in a real game. Stauskas has struggled with his shot, hitting just 29.1 percent from long range this season. McLemore has failed to score in double-figures in four straight games and seven of his last eight games. Both players could use a breakout performance.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 12-19, third place in Pacific
76ers: 2-31, last place in Atlantic
Kings: F-C Willie Cauley-Stein (index finger) out, Eric Moreland (left foot) out.
76ers: C Jahlil Okafor (knee) game-day decision, Joel Embiid (foot) out.
This is the first of two matchups this season between these two teams. Philadelphia holds a 161-123 advantage all-time over the Kings and a 30-28 lead during the Sacramento-era.
“I think we’re playing pretty good basketball. Losses have reasons. We’ve just got to be at a stage of getting better and learning and I think we are.” - George Karl following team’s loss to the Warriors