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Pistons vs Kings preview: No letdown in Sacramento, please

Detroit continues their road trip with winnable game in Sacramento.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Winning three of the past four games saved Pistons fans from having a complete meltdown but at 18-21 there is still little room for error moving forward. Detroit started their five-game west coast trip with a double-overtime win in Portland but must follow that up with a strong showing in Sacramento.

The Kings - and their Ka - are struggling again this year (I know, hard to believe) and asking the Pistons to make it four wins out of five isn’t exactly a reach. The problem with the request, though, is that it requires consistency, something that has escaped this squad all season.

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Game Vitals

When: January 10th @ 10:30 p.m. EST
Where: Golden 1 Center; Sacramento, CA
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Analysis

The Kings go as DeMarcus Cousins’ goes - his 37 usage rate is second in the NBA only to Russell Westbrook’s 41 percent. Cousins is a monster on the offensive end and has really developed his passing skills and not just empty assists - he can actually pass the rock:

Those are playmaking passes from the center who averages a shade under four dimes a game.

To take full use of Cousins’ skill set, the Kings like to initiate their offense by feeding Boogie the ball at the either elbow. From there, he can utilize his passing abilities and he’s only one power dribble away from the hoop. Option No. 3 from the elbow might give the Pistons - specifically Andre Drummond - the most fits: the shooter’s gonna shoot.

On the year and throughout his career, Drummond has been reluctant to chase fellow bigs outside the paint, let alone beyond the arc (Cousins is a 37 percent 3-point shooter at nearly five attempts per game). If the Pistons want to leave Sacramento with a win, doing so is non-negotiable.

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The Kings acquired Matt Barnes over the summer. You remember Barnes, right?

That Memphis team was coached by Dave Joerger who is now the Kings’ head coach. Say what you want about Barnes - and you could say a lot of things - he’s made a career out of doing the things no one else wants to do, and, on some level, that’s respectable. Joerger obviously like him.

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The Kings also employ another former Grizzly in Rudy Gay. Seriously, he’s still in the league and he’s been in Sacramento for the past three seasons. Check the internet, he’s there, I swear.

It’s odd to talk about someone with the talent of Gay in that light, but in many cases his talent no longer fits modern day NBA basketball. He can put the ball in the hoop - no doubt - but his volume-shooting, iso-heavy, ball-stopping way of doing so is largely frowned upon.

There will always be a place for him in the league but at what capacity? Is there a team that will bite on that scoring ability and make a trade?

And while we’re trading Kings, why is Kosta Koufas still on the team? He’s a legit backup big who knows his role; a contender should make a play for him.

And while we’re on the subject of backup bigs, Sacramento has a bundle including: Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere and Georgios Papagiannis.

My lord, who is running things?

The Kings’ Ka is in good hands.

Projected Lineup

Detroit

Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Andre Drummond, Tobias Harris, Marcus Morris

Stay tuned for a hopeful Jon Leuer update.

Sacramento

Darren Collison, Garrett Temple, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Tolliver, Rudy Gay

Prediction

The Pistons do-in-fact make it four wins in their last five. Reggie Jackson has been playing great as of late and should have his way with Darren Collison or Ty Lawson.

Pistons 104, Kings 92

Golden State, TNT, national audience - we’re on our way.