Preview: Sabonis, Kings set to clash with Bridges, new-look Nets

Mar 16, 2023, 9:32 AM | Updated: 10:38 am
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 15: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings shoots over Nic ...
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Hopefully, you got a good night’s rest following last night’s nail-biter because the Sacramento Kings are back in action tonight.

The Kings (41-27) will play the second game of a back-to-back in Brooklyn against a new-look Nets team that has remained in a top-six position in the Eastern Conference standings even after dealing away stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline.

Brooklyn (39-30) has posted an 8-10 record since trading away Durant and Irving, but they have treaded water in the competitive East thanks to the recent addition of Mikal Bridges, who is averaging 26.2 points per game over 14 appearances since being acquired from Phoenix.

Sacramento will have the misfortune of playing on short rest after traveling from Chicago to Brooklyn following Wednesday night’s thrilling 117-114 win over the Bulls–a game that ended at the hands of another clutch performance from De’Aaron Fox.

Can the Kings, the lone team in the Western Conference with a winning road record, improve to 2-0 on the four-game road trip?

Each winning effort brings Sacramento closer to clinching its first NBA Playoffs berth in 16 years, but Thursday’s matchup will be challenging for the red-hot Kings.

Sacramento Kings vs. Brooklyn Nets Game Info

When: 4:30 PM PST

Where: Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Pregame coverage starts at 3:00 PM PST on Game Night

Line: Nets -2.5, O/U: 238

Forwards on Forwards

It seems like the Nets were able to acquire nearly every enticing forward option that was on the market during the trade deadline.

Brooklyn brought in Mikal Bridges (6’6), Cam Johnson (6’8), and Dorian Finney-Smith (6’7) to bolster its post-Durant frontline, and that could prove problematic for a Kings team that has struggled against lengthy lineups this season.

Adding in 6’5 guard Spencer Dinwiddie, the Nets have a starting lineup that can create discomfort for opposing teams–especially on the defensive end.

Over eight games in the month of March, Brooklyn has posted the fourth-best defensive rating in the league (111.0) while holding opponents to 113.9 points per game.

While the Nets have had some recent success on the defensive end, the Chicago Bulls also entered play against Sacramento with a positive defensive track record. This Kings offense is unforgiving, and even on the second night of a back-to-back, they have enough in the tank to break through Brooklyn’s extensive frontline of forwards.

Take Advantage of the Glass

Domantas Sabonis should be rubbing his hands together like Birdman in that one GIF as he enters a matchup against a Nets team that struggles to rebound the basketball.

Brooklyn enters play on Thursday averaging 40.3 rebounds and 7.8 offensive rebounds per game (both 29th in the NBA), something that could act as a point of emphasis for Sacramento–another team that has struggled on the boards this season.

The Kings have especially struggled to keep teams from corralling offensive rebounds, as the Bulls pulled down 13 second-chance opportunities on Wednesday night. Nic Claxton (9.1 rebounds per game) is the lone threat (on paper) that can give Sabonis trouble in the battle of the boards, meaning it could be a busy night for the All-Star center.

Sabonis is playing his best basketball of the season as the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week is averaging 20.8 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 8.9 assists per game while shooting 60 percent from the field over his past eight appearances.

The three-time All-Star has posted a triple-double in four of his past five games while adding to his league-leading total of 55 double-doubles.

According to the Kings, Sabonis is the fifth player to average 19/13/10 over a 5-game span since the NBA/ABA merger, joining Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Nikola Jokic, and Russell Westbrook.

Another big night for Sabonis could be in the cards against a Nets team that has allowed 50.6 rebounds per game since February 24th (for reference, the Kings average 42.1 boards per game).

Quick Hits

  • After shooting 31% from beyond the three-point line from January 15th to February 26th, Kevin Huerter has been a flamethrower in March. ‘Red Velvet’ is averaging 19.8 points on 56% shooting from beyond the arc (7.1 attempts/G) over the past eight games.
  • Trey Lyles is set to return from a one-game absence that was due to a league suspension. Lyles was suspended one game without pay for his role in Monday’s scuffle with Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez.

Injury Report


  • Richaun Holmes – QUESTIONABLE (non-COVID illness)
  • Keon Ellis – OUT (G-League)


  • Ben Simmons – OUT (left knee/back soreness)
  • David Duke Jr. – OUT (G-League)
  • Dru Smith – OUT (G-League)

Recent History

  • Sacramento holds a 2-7 record against Brooklyn since the beginning of the 2018-19 season
  • The Kings are on a four-game losing streak at Barclays Center, with their last win coming on December 20, 2017.

Be sure to get all of your Kings vs. Nets coverage right here on Sactown Sports 1140 beginning at 3:00 PM PST on Game Night with Scott Marsh and Henry ‘The High Flyer’ Turner before a 4:30 PM PST tip-off from Brooklyn.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

Thursday, March 16th – Sacramento Kings @ Brooklyn Nets – 4:30 PM PST

Saturday, March 18th – Sacramento Kings @ Washington Wizards – 5:00 PM PST

Monday, March 20th – Sacramento Kings @ Utah Jazz – 6:00 PM PST

Tuesday, March 21st – Sacramento Kings vs. Boston Celtics – 7:00 PM PST

Friday, March 24th – Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST

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