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Kings vs Warriors Preview: No Curry, Durant, or Thompson? No problem

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The Warriors are missing three All-Stars, but have plenty of motivation in their clash with the still very much alive Sacramento Kings

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Game information

Who: Golden State Warriors (52-16) vs. Sacramento Kings (22-47)

When: 7:30pm PST - Friday, March 16th, 2018

Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA

How to watch: CSNBA

How to listen: 95.7 The Game

Friendly Buddy’s blog: Sactown Royalty

Injury Report

Warriors:

Kings: Ska Labissiere (left hip) questionable, Iman Shumpert (foot) out.

Playing the Lottery

The Sacramento Kings are dragging their way through the final bend of the season with a depressing mix of unproven youngsters and rusty vets. For some teams in this situation, vacation trips to luxurious locales like the Bahamas or the island of Alameda are certainly on the horizon. For their fans, their weary eyes rest hopefully on the cruel game of chance that is the Lottery Draft this summer.

Yet, this middling Sacramento team actually seems focused on getting the most out of the regular season. The Triassic Period era superstars fading into extinction like Zach Randolph and Vince Carter are providing professionalism and mentorship. Young guys like De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield are seizing the opportunity to showcase their abilities to management. Fox, in particula stands to be a large part of the answer to this question: What is the core of the Kings going to be going forward?

Here’s a note from Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee after Fox came up big in the clutch in their last victory against a playoff contending Miami Heat team:

The Kings only benefit from losing if your obsession is the NBA draft lottery and the hope that maybe they’ll land a top-three draft pick.

The players on the roster who will be around next season benefit more from figuring out how to win games rather than accepting defeat as part of the development process.

Fox said the lessons learned from a game like Wednesday matter more because they came in a close win against a team likely to make the playoffs and an All-Star point guard in Goran Dragic.

You wanna bet on whether or not that sly, young Fox and his crew would love to rip away a win in Oracle?

Meanwhile in Oakland...

The Golden State Warriors are nonchalantly prepping the cabin of the supersonic stealth-bomber that is Dubs Basketball for their sixth annual descent into Playoff City.

Funny enough, they too will be trotting out several unproven youngsters and ornery warhorses of their own on Friday night.

Except, unlike the Kings, it’s because three of the most deadly basketball assassins in the history of the game are in precautionary cryostasis, recovering from various injuries accrued in what should be another 60+ win campaign.

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant have been waiting since the very first training camp for the playoffs to begin, and with the big tournament’s shadow looming over the Golden Throne, there is no such thing as too much health in the quest for repeating.

The three of them missing this game does open up some roster intrigue. As they regenerate their immense powers, they leave room for the young-lings and the old-lings to get a taste of fresh prey. Jordan Bell, Kevon Looney, and Quinn Cook have all been eased into action sparingly throughout the season. Now, they are blessed with extended minutes to learn the Golden Way under the mysterious, soul-transforming pressure of NBA competition.

Don’t forget the wily veterans like Shaun Livingston, Omri Casspi, and Nick Young who can nowfine-tune their offensive games in preparation for the playoffs.

Gold-blooded Prediction: Draymond Green will so relish his chance to be the only reigning All-Star in the lineup that he decides to skip his “Getting T’ed Up” routine and inspires his hungry teammates to victory. Also, I bet Cook takes the Fox challenge personally and scores a career high 20!

Warriors 105, Kings 96