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Warriors vs Kings Preview: Durant returns to Seattle for exhibition

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The champs are bringing Durant back to his old stomping grounds, but Draymond Green and Steph Curry will miss a fun showdown with the NorCal rivals.

Seattle SuperSonics v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Game information

Who: Golden State Warriors (0-1) vs. Sacramento Kings (1-1)

When: 7:30pm PST - Friday, October 5th 2018

Where: Key Arena, Seattle, Washington

How to watch: ESPN

How to listen: 95.7 The Game

Best Blog in Sacramento Basketball History: Sactown Royalty

Injuries

Warriors: Draymond Green (sore left knee), Stephen Curry (personal reasons), out.

Kings: Bogdan Bogdanovic (left knee surgery), Kosta Koufos (hamstring) out. Nemanja Bjelica (sore left knee), Iman Shumpert (sore left calf), questionable

Two Northern California rivals take their squads up to the great Pacific Northwest to do battle in an abandoned NBA graveyard. Many moons ago, the glorious Seattle Supersonics were a home for the amazing hoopers of yesteryear like Gary Payton, Dale Ellis, Shawn Kemp, Rashard Lewis, and Ray Allen, to name a few. It seems like just yesterday the Seattle faithful witnessed Michael Jordan’s Bulls coming to visit during the 1996 NBA Finals.

Unfortunately, the franchise was ripped from Seattle’s fingertips under the cover of darkness. In 2008, Bill Simmons penned his largest ESPN article ever in describing, through the eyes of heartbroken Sonics fans, the anguish of the team moving to Oklahoma City. Kevin Durant, drafted by Seattle, witnessed the traumatic betrayal firsthand, before enduring several years with the OKC Thunder.

Thankfully, the Golden State Warriors liberated him, and two titles later, KD is making his return back to Seattle for tonight’s exhibition game against the Kangz!

Durant is excited about returning back to his NBA roots, and sounded very optimistic about the chances of an NBA franchise returning to the Emerald City:

“For sure,” Durant told ESPN. “Most definitely. It’s a basketball city. It’s a sports town. ... They have a good representation of basketball in the NBA from Seattle-born players, Washington state-born players. And I feel like that whole brand deserves an NBA team. Just like the Golden State Warriors deserve a team or the Los Angeles Lakers deserve a team, Seattle is that same way. [A team] has that same type of impact in the community. So [we have] a lot of time in life before this whole thing is over, and I’m sure we’ll see a team before it’s time.”

Warriors have “Bigs” Questions

The champs are looking to continue to fine tune their rotations before the regular season starts later this month. Their first preseason game was a loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves wherein the Dubs’ Big 4 dominated. For tonight’s game, only two of those four Olympians will be available as Stephen Curry and Draymond Green are out.

That opens up some playing time for rotation players, including third-year center Damian Jones getting a second straight starting nod. He appeared tentative on offense last game and confused on defense, problems that were certainly not shared by Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney, the Warriors other two options at center.

With Green out of this contest with knee soreness and DeMarcus Cousins nowhere near returning, Bell and Looney appear to be the most capable bigs the Warriors will play tonight. Jones will need to have a stronger showing against the Kings if he wants to make good on the coaching staff’s faith in him.

Speaking of bigs and Kings, it will feel surreal to have Cousins dressed in Dubs’ warmups at a Golden State/Sacramento game. The former Kings superstar has left a mighty hole in the paint for his old team, a void that will have to be filled by a hodgepodge of creaky vets and growing youths. Wily old Zach Randolph is still jab-stepping people to death for Sac, while highly touted youngsters Harry Giles and Marvin Bagley III are learning the pro game on the fly. Willie Cauley-Stein is an active body on the boards as well for Sacramento.

Tonight should be a good test for the young Warriors front line.

Keep your guards up

With greatest point guard alive Curry sidelined, Quinn Cook should get a featured role filling in for him. Behind him, Tyler Ulis and Kendrick Nunn will probably share backcourt minutes. They should have their work cut out for them against a dynamic Kings guard group.

Speed demon De’Aaron Fox has the physical tools to be a two-way terror. Former Dallas Maverick Yogi Ferrell lit up the Phoenix Suns for 26 points off of the bench in his preseason debut for the Kings. Buddy Hield has a shooter’s pedigree and can stretch the defense. They should provide a dynamic pop quiz for the Curry-less Warriors guards.

Gold-Blooded Prediction: Warriors 103, Kings 102 in a high energy, sloppy, pre-season contest. Seattle, THIS IS FOR YOU!