7:30 p.m. PST
Oracle Arena - Oakland, CA
TV: CSN BA | KNBR 680
Blog buddy: Sactown Royalty
Again looking down the Golden State Warriors' schedule, we see a game that most people would probably say a playoff team is "supposed to win."
The thing is that thus far this season, this matchup hasn't been easy for the Warriors at all: the Kings currently lead the season series 2-1 with tonight's game presenting an opportunity for the Warriors to close it out in a tie. And in a rather strange coincidence, each game has been decided by four points.
And the clear difference between that one Warriors win and the two losses in these meetings has been defense, specifically defending DeMarcus Cousins: in the two wins against the Warriors - the second of which Tyreke Evans missed - Cousins has averaged 23.5 points and 11 rebounds per game; in the loss, he had five points and four boards as Kings coach Keith Smart benched him during the second and fourth quarters.
Advanced statistics for DeMarcus Cousins in three previous games against the Golden State Warriors.
It might be oversimplifying things to say that Andrew Bogut is the difference maker to solve the Cousins problem, yet it's probably not a stretch either given that the win was the only game in which Bogut was cleared to play more than 20 minutes.
Of course, getting beat by teams with aggressive bigs has been a problem for the Warriors all season, whether it be losing to the Memphis Grizzlies or Orlando Magic - it's not limited to Cousins and it hasn't been entirely remedied with consistency with Bogut in the lineup.
But if we're going to look for anything tonight, keeping an eye on Cousins is probably a good start not only to get a much needed win in the thick of a playoff race, but also to show that the interior defense can hold up in the face of a threat that has been the Warriors' undoing much of this season.