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Struggling Nets come home to face Kings

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NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Six straight. The Nets went into Indiana on a five game losing streak to face a Pacers team that was without Paul George. Brooklyn was unable to take advantage and wound up losing by 21 points on Friday night. Things have gone south in a hurry and with the injuries starting to pile up, it might get worse from here.

The opponent this evening will be the Sacramento Kings. They got off to a slow start against the Rockets on Friday night and were unable to come all the way back, losing 117-104. This is the first night of a back-to-back, and more importantly, the start of a six game road trip. After this game, they play the: Wizards, 76ers, Celtics, Knicks, and Mavericks.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV, WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip off after 6 PM.

Injuries

Jeremy Lin is still out. Rondae Hollis Jefferson is questionable with an ankle injury.

Nothing doing for the Kings.

The game

We’re a few weeks away from the start of trade season, and the Kings might be busy from then until the February trading deadline. If Sacramento finds themselves out of the playoff race again, I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to move players like Rudy Gay, Omri Casspi or even 2015 lottery pick Willie Cauley Stein.

Both of these teams are awful defensively, so this figures to be a high scoring affair. They're tied for third worst defensive rating in the league as both squads allow 108.6 points per 100 possessions. The Kings tend to allow a lot of free throw attempts, so the Nets should look to take a lot of shots near the rim.

Darren Collison was suspended the first eight games of the season after he pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge. He returned to the team on November eighth and has started the last three games. Collison has always been a capable point guard and the Kings need him to find good looks for his teammates. The Nets are still running short at PG and will have to count on their two rookies for the foreseeable future. Even though there will be plenty of ugly moments, this can be a great learning opportunity for Isaiah Whitehead and Yogi Ferrell. If they're able to exceed expectations and play well, it'll boost their confidence going forward.

The Nets are going to need more from Bojan Bogdanovic. Although he's been averaging 16 points on 56 percent shooting during the six game losing streak, with Lin out, the Nets could use around 20 a game.

Assuming RHJ is out again, Sean Kilpatrick will have to check Rudy Gay. Gay has never been an exceptional three point shooter, but he's shot 39.1 percent from deep this year. Assuming he gets his wish and is traded, that can come in handy for teams looking to space the floor come playoff time.

Player to watch: Demarcus Cousins

It feels like he hasn't been in the league that long, but this is Boogie's seventh season in the league. He's been getting better each year and it looks like he's starting to put it all together. Boogie is averaging a career high 27.8 points a game, but that doesn't really tell the whole story. Cousins is turning the ball over at a career low rate and has developed into a respectable three point shooting big man. He still commits too many fouls and is seconds away from putting hands on you, but as long as he's on the court, he's a force to be reckoned with.

As far as I can tell, Brook Lopez isn't on a minutes restriction. He's averaging a career low 26.5 minutes a game and while some of that is due to the Nets being blown out five times, there's still room for Kenny Atkinson to stretch the big guy out. Like Cousins, Lopez has successfully expanded his game out to the three point line. However, unlike Cousins, he hasn't gotten as many shots close to the rim as he should. If the Nets can force Boogie to the bench, Lopez should be able to go to work against Kosta Koufos

The Long Island Nets play Sunday as well, going up against the Grand Rapids Drive at 12 noon.

From the Vault

Last Friday was Jason Williams’ birthday, so it’s only right we watch some of his best highlights.

We’re not done yet. Kevin Martin announced his retirement a few days ago after a productive 12 year career. Take a trip back to 2006 and watch him on the last Kings team to make the playoffs. Fun fact: Metta World Peace the remaining NBA player from that team.

More reading: Sactown Royalty