Pacers vs. Kings Game Preview
Indiana is aiming for their fourth consecutive victory tonight as they face the Sacramento Kings. Indiana stands at 9-3 coming off a victory over the Boston Celtics, but the team will be without Jeff Foster for the next two weeks due to his back injury. With that, look to see Lou Amundson getting more minutes tonight along with Jeff Pendergraph if he is able to play today. He currently stands as a day-to-day after his concussion.
As for the Kings, things haven’t been looking so bright. They fired former head coach Paul Westphal earlier this season, and the whole DeMarcus Cousins situation had to have been quite a distraction for a team that was supposedly on the rise this season. Cousins did respond well in the first few games after Keith Smart took the helm, notching three straight double-doubles — one being a 19-rebound outing. But he hasn’t scored much since, averaging just 8.7 points over his last three games. Indiana should then make it a point to contain DeMarcus, who has so far been a beast against Indiana as he averages 19 points and eleven rebounds per game versus Indiana so far in his young career.
Fortunately, Frank Vogel oversees a strong defensive unit that holds teams to just 41.5%, good for fourth best in the NBA. I think Indiana is able to put up to the likes of this young Kings team, which often struggles to score even with players like Tyreke Evans, Jimmer Fredette, Cousins, and Marcus Thornton. For the year, the Kings are the worst shooting team in the league at a stunningly low 39.6%.
On the other hand, Indiana isn’t so great offensively themselves. I mean, their shooting percentage (41.3%) is not pretty to look at either. In their win over Boston last Saturday, they shot just 37.2%, but they had been showing signs of improvement before that bump in the road. They actually looked capable of running an effective offense in the two previous games against Toronto (45.5% shooting) and Atlanta (45.9%)
The team’s leading scorer, Danny Granger, has been on a similar trajectory. Against Boston and Atlanta, he looked to be the complete opposite of the guy who had the dismal performances we saw when he got ejected or his nightmare in Miami. But tonight, and the next few games, fans should remain on “Granger Watch.” He hasn’t been shooting well this season and is so far at a low 15.3 points per game right now. He has been in a slump all year and isn’t playing like that the guy he was for the past two or three seasons. Against a weak defensive team in Sacramento, fans should look forward to seeing what he can do. It would be no surprise to see another strong night.
The last time Indiana played Sacramento was in November 2010, where Granger went out for a 37-point outburst. The Kings don’t look like they will be too pleased to see him after he pummeled them from their last outing.
And let’s hope they didn’t see his tweet from yesterday.