SACRAMENTO -- Play it out. 24 hours ago, the Sacramento Kings were looking at a pair of scheduling losses. After a stunner at Golden State, Sacramento hosts the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday evening with nothing to lose.
The victory over the Warriors was a team win. Skal Labissiere got the scoring started early. George Hill showed up big with four 3-pointers. Garrett Temple went to work on the defensive end and the bench efforts from Willie Cauley-Stein, Frank Mason and Willie Cauley-Stein was impressive. When you compete for 48 minutes, good things can happen.
Milwaukee got off to a fast start on the season, but they've lost 3-of-4 and their lone victory came in overtime against the Phoenix Suns. They have one of the most unguardable players in the NBA in Giannis Antetokounmpo and the addition of Eric Bledsoe gives the Bucks another high-end scoring option.
Bucks by 7
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Garrett Temple vs. Khris Middleton -- With so many contributions against the Warriors, it's easy to overlook a performance by a player like Temple. The veteran wing scored 14 points, but his defense Klay Thompson likely swayed the game in the Kings favor. He's a lockdown defender worthy of NBA All-Defensive team votes and he'll face another tough challenge on Tuesday. Middleton missed most of last season due to injury, but he's putting up big numbers for Milwaukee this season. The Kings don't have an answer for Antetokounmpo, but they might for the Bucks second leading scorer.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 6-14, fifth place in Pacific
Bucks: 9-9, fourth place in Central
Kings: PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January.
Bucks: F Jabari Parker (knee) out, F Mirza Teletovic (knee) out, PG Matthew Dellavedova (knee) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
No Letdown -- The Kings got the first one, now it's time to go for broke. With three days off before another game, Sacramento has an opportunity to build some momentum heading into a four-game road trip. They need contributions from everyone and a little luck, but the Bucks on your home court is a winnable game.
48 Minutes...Again -- Sacramento just learned what a 48 minute effort can get you. Slow starts and bad quarters have hurt this team. The starting group is starting to gel and the second unit has been the best in the NBA through 20 games. If they can duplicate their effort and intensity from Monday, they have a shot.
Don't Get Caught Watching -- They don't call Giannis Antetokounmpo the "Greek Freak" for nothing. He's as gifted an athlete as any that has ever stepped on an NBA floor and the Kings will have their hands full. It will take a team effort if they hope to slow him down. The Kings have the length to bother the 22-year-old star, but they'll need to get physical with Antetokounmpo and make him work on both ends of the floor.
Milwaukee swept the season series 2-0 last year over Sacramento. The Bucks hold a 83-59 lead in the all-time series, but the Kings hold a 32-30 advantage during the Sacramento-era.
"First I said windmill, then I said reverse 360, then I said no, just make it because you don't want to be on the Not Top 10." -40-year-old Vince Carter on his breakaway dunk against the Warriors