Detroit Pistons (5-2) at Sacramento Kings (1-7)
When: 10 p.m.
Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, Calif.
Looking to avoid a seventh consecutive defeat, the lowly Kings also try to end their lengthy struggles against the visiting Pistons on Wednesday night
The Sacramento Kings have lost seven of eight to start the season, understandable given the team’s cruel schedule and injury woes.
What’s also understandable is the sense of panic that sets in when, knowing you need about 45 wins to break a nearly decade-long playoff drought, knowing that you’ve already spotted the Western Conference seven losses. The Kings know the trend needs fixing, they just can’t actually do anything about it.
The Kings can start by improving on the defensive end, where they rank near the bottom of the league in points allowed (110.6 per game) and are last in defensive field-goal percentage (49.3). The Spurs shot 52.9 percent from the field and broke open a tie game with an 11-0 third-quarter run.
“I’ve been in positions where you have bad starts. I’ve had everything in my life, from six straight to nine straight,” said Sacramento coach George Karl, who has used seven different starting lineups. “We just have to play more 48 minutes of basketball, more solid basketball and more together basketball.”
That’s rarely seemed the case while the Kings have dropped 12 of 14 against Detroit (5-2). They’ve averaged 92.2 points and shot 40.4 percent during a five-game series slide that dates to a 105-103 home victory Nov. 7, 2012. Cousins has totaled 47 points and 24 rebounds in his last two at home against the Pistons, but last faced them there Nov. 15, 2013.
Detroit is off to a solid start but needs to bounce back after it fell to 3-1 on the road with Monday’s 109-95 loss at undefeated Golden State. Reggie Jackson and rookie Stanley Johnson each scored 20 and Andre Drummondadded 14 with 15 boards for his seventh double-double in as many games, but the Pistons committed 20 turnovers and allowed 35 fast-break points.
- Paint wars:Detroit center Andre Drummond is averaging 19.4 points and a league-best 19.6 rebounds. It should be fun to see how he and DeMarcus Cousins clash in pursuit of rebounds.
- Find the flow:The Kings need to pass the ball better to set up efficient scoring chances. Their attempts to go one-on-one into crowds won’t work with Drummond lurking in the paint.
- Defensive effort:The Kings have held an opponent below 46 percent shooting only once in eight games. Sacramento is last in the NBA entering Tuesday, allowing teams to shoot 49.3 percent.