Miami Heat at Sacramento Kings Preview
The Sacramento Kings host the Miami Heat Friday night in a matchup between two teams that are desperately fighting for those last spots in the playoffs. The hometown Kings come into the game 28-26, and in 9th place in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Heat hold a 25-27 record, good for 8th place in the Eastern Conference. With around two months remaining in the regular season and both teams fighting for a playoff berth, there is no doubt that this matchup is going to be an exciting one.
The two teams played earlier in the season with the Kings taking the game 123-113. The Kings’ Willie Cauley-Stein knocked down 26 points in the win and added 13 rebounds on defense. On the other side, Josh Richardson scored 31 points and Miami center Hassan Whiteside had a whopping 24 rebounds in the loss. Look for an even closer game this time around as the two teams continue their midseason push to gain ground in their respective divisions.
Time: 10:00pm ET
Arena: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
Channel: FSSUN, NBCSCA
Miami Heat Starting Lineup
Although Miami’s season has not been the most impressive, the dominance of the top 4-5 teams in the East have made a playoff berth for the Heat quite a strong possibility. While first place is definitely out of the question, 6th, 7th, and 8th place in the division are all still in contention. This game against the Kings could mark a needed turnaround for the Heat, who have struggled recently and are 4-6 in their last 10 games.
However, they still come into the game with a bit of momentum. The Heat won their recent game against the Portland Trail Blazers by a score of 118-108 on Tuesday. Naturally, Hassan Whiteside led the team in rebounds, but he also led in scoring with 28 points. Whiteside has proven to be a defensive animal this season. He ranks in the top 10 in the NBA in rebounds per game and ranks in the top 5 in blocks per game. Yet, despite a strong defense, Miami’s year offensively thus far has been far from impressive. They rank in the bottom 5 in the NBA in points per game and come in 22nd out of 30 in overall offensive ranking.
There is no doubt that the Whiteside and the Heat defense could give the Kings some trouble, but Miami needs a good offensive performance if they are to control the game. Josh Richardson and Dwayne Wade will be pivotal in a good Heat offense and in beating this young Kings team.
Sacramento Kings Starting Lineup
It may not have been pretty at times, but the Kings season thus far is promising to say the least. An organization that has struggled throughout the 21st century, the Kings are currently in the running for their first playoff berth since 2006. The franchise has been saved by their young core, players like De’Aaron Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Marvin Bagley III.
At 28-26, the Kings are in a dogfight with the Clippers and Lakers for 8th place. They’re coming off of a recent 127-101 loss to the Rockets but have won 3 of their last 4. In fact, two of those wins came against teams with records far better than the Kings, the Philadelphia 76ers and the San Antonio Spurs. In the win against the 76ers, Buddy Hield scored 34 points and Marvin Bagley III grabbed 13 rebounds. Bagley III also added 24 points against the Spurs, a career high for the rookie.
If the Kings can continue to play as they have recently, the Heat may find themselves trailing most of the game. 3-point shooting will be key as the Heat are one of the top NBA teams in blocks and inside-the arc-defense. Look for Hield and Fox to carry the Kings offensively and Bagley to hold things down on the defensive end.
Miami Heat at Sacramento Kings Betting Odds
The Kings come into this game as the slight favorites over the Heat. ESPN predicts that the Kings have a 54% chance of winning and a spread of -2.5. The over/under for the game is currently set at 218.5. With the Kings in a tighter conference race than the Heat, there is no doubt that the young team will be doing everything it can to win.
Bet on Matchup
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DraftKings & FanDuel Fantasy Picks
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