Sure, the Kings are off to a good start on this brutal 12 game stretch of playing just playoff teams, having beaten the Lakers and Hornets. But if anything, it simply gets tougher from here on. Both Boston and San Antonio lead their respective conferences and also are among the top road teams in the league.
Boston is coming off a big nationally-televised win against the Lakers that saw them dominate the 4th quarter with great team play and solid defense. The Big Three all were huge, led by Paul Pierce’s 32 points. Boston also had Kendrick Perkins come back from his knee injury this week, and they’re slowly but surely reintegrating him into the rotation.
Boston has had a bad habit this year of being a bit complacent when facing below .500 teams, with losses against Phoenix and Washington recently, as well as to Detroit, Toronto and Cleveland. If Sacramento hopes to win they’ll need to continue to play at their best while also hoping for some complacency by the Celtics, who easily beat the Kings in Boston a few weeks ago 119-95.
On Friday the Kings face the Spurs for the first time this season. San Antonio is off to its best start in franchise history at 40-7, on pace to win 70 games. Unlike the Celtics and Lakers, the Spurs have done a much better job at winning the games they are supposed to, only losing to one team below .500 all year (a 90-85 loss to the Clippers Dec. 1st). The Spurs are still a good defensive team as they’ve always been, anchored by Tim Duncan, but the biggest change has been how great their offense has become. San Antonio has the 3rd highest Offensive Rating in the league, the best they’ve ever done in the Popovich-era.
Even just one win this week would be an impressive feat for Sacramento. They’ll need DeMarcus Cousins to continue playing at a top level and the defense to stay as strong as it was last week to even remain competitive. But hey, like Kevin Garnett says, “Anything is Possible”