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Utah Jazz at Sacramento Kings Game Preview: Don't go to sleep, I know it's a late game

Game #19: Jazz (9-9) @ Kings (7-15)
Location: Sleep Train Arena • Sacramento, CA
Time: 8:00 p.m. (MT)
TV: NBA TV, ROOT Sports • Radio: 1280 AM / 97.5 FM

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz lace them up again, in a pretty late game for East Coasters (and beyond), against the Sacramento Kings. The Kings made some off-season noise and are a team that has both stars but players in visible roles. They have a bigman who puts up a lot of big, nice, numbers. One thing they don't have are a lot of wins. All-time the Jazz are up on the Kings 98-79. In Sactown Utah is only 34-54, but it's not like they're going to be lacing it up against Chris Webber and Vlade Divac. It's DeMarcus Cousins and, uh, Kosta Koufos. Utah has won five of the last six against Sacramento, and in Cousins' career, they are 10-6. Furthermore, right now the Kings are sitting in 13th place in the Conference, are 3-7 in their last 10 games and have lost three in a row.

Sacramento isn't scary, but they are still dangerous.They play at the second fastest pace in the league, and score the fourth most points per game. It's a new remix of what George Karl usual does. His fundamentally strong defensive teams of the past do not look like this Kings team. Sacramento gives up 108.8 ppg, 29th in the NBA; while giving up 108.4 DRTG, 27th. They are last in the NBA in opponents eFG%, though part of that could just be a product of having had played the Golden State Warriors twice already this season. They don't really take care of their defensive glass, and do send teams to the line. They can be hurt.

Offensively they are kind of sloppy with the ball, but do get a lot of offensive rebounds. They are also 5th best in the NBA at making the threes they take, 22.9 attempts (14th), and .369 3PT% (5th). They also have some pretty big weapons in Cousins, Rudy Gay (18.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg), Rajon Rondo (nearly averaging a triple double at 12.3 ppg, 10.9 apg, and 6.8 rpg), and Darren Collison (13.4 ppg, 4.1 apg). Cousins is the straw that stirs the drink, and is having a monster season of 25.2 ppg, 10.5 rpg, and 2.7 apg. He's getting to the free throw line 10.1 times a game and has expanded his range out to the three point line where he hoists up 4.4 bombs a game. (Why aren't our bigs doing this?) He's only making .311 from outside, and it's had an affect upon his FG% (only .408), but he's an inside outside threat. So much so that he's freeling up good looks for Omri Casspi (11.3 ppg) and Marco Belinelli (11.6 ppg).

They like to run. They do run. They shoot a lot of threes. But really, they aren't that great. After all, it's December and they only have seven wins.They are also a little banged up, DeMarcus Cousins has a back injury but is expected to play tonight. Rookie bigman defender Willie Cauley-Stein is out for tonight, and many nights after, with a dislocated right index finger. Of course, it's not like the Jazz aren't the walking wounded right now. They will be playing without two starters, Dante Exum and Rudy Gobert.

Of course, we're more than just two guys. Gordon Hayward seems to always torch Rudy Gay. Derrick Favors is playing like a mad-man. And, well, the Sacramento Kings are the Sacramento Kings. Also, who gonna stop Trey Burke and Alec Burks? Well, maybe Collison and Ben McLemore. We'll see.