With 21 of 41 home games set for weekend dates during the 2012-13 season, fans will have even more opportunities to catch the upstart Kings battle many of the League’s top teams.
With only a few weekends remaining during the offseason, check out the following preview of some of the most exciting Friday, Saturday and Sunday home matchups scheduled for Sacramento’s upcoming season, including contests against the defending-champion Miami Heat, NBA finalist Oklahoma City Thunder and Pacific Division rival L.A. Lakers. Plus, Kings.com revisits notable Kings accomplishments against its competition.
Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 – Kings host Spurs
Key Matchup of the Game: Isaiah Thomas vs. Tony Parker
Notable Recent Meetings: In the pair’s first battle of 2011-12, Tyreke Evans led Sacramento to an impressive 88-86 road victory on January 20, posting 23 points, a career-high-tying 11 rebounds and seven assists, while DeMarcus Cousins chipped in 17 points, to go along with 13 rebounds and four steals. Impressively, No. 15 has grabbed double-digit boards in five out of six career tilts against San Antonio while battling perennial All-Star Tim Duncan.
At home on March 28, Isaiah Thomas outplayed his point guard counterpart, Tony Parker, notching his third double-double of the year with a season-high 28 points and 10 assists.
Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 – Kings host Nets
Key Matchup of the Game: Marcus Thornton vs. Joe Johnson
Notable Recent Meetings: While Sacramento’s trio of standout guards – Evans, Thomas and Marcus Thornton – will have their work cut out for them against the new-look Brooklyn backcourt of Deron Williams and Johnson, No. 13 has scored at least 20 points in three out of four previous games against the Nets, while Thomas held his own with 11 points, six assists and three rebounds against multi-time All-Star Williams in their lone matchup of 2011-12 on March 31.
Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 and Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 – Kings host Jazz
Key Matchup of the Game: DeMarcus Cousins vs. Derrick Favors
Notable Recent Meetings: Making his highly-anticipated return to Utah, where he shined at BYU, Jimmer Fredette scored 14 points and connected on three-out-of-five three-pointers, the last one coming up just short from sending the game to overtime on January 28, 2012. Evans, meanwhile, filled up the box score, notching a season-high 31 points, to go along with nine assists, six rebounds and a pair of steals.
On March 30, the two teams squared off in another thrilling contest that went down to the wire, in which Cousins posted 27 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and two blocks, Thornton sizzled from the field, notching 26 points, and Thomas added 19 points and six assists in a 104-103 Sacramento road victory.
Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 – Kings host Knicks
Key Matchup of the Game: Tyreke Evans vs. Carmelo Anthony
Notable Recent Meetings: Showcasing his defensive and rebounding ability, Chuck Hayes has grabbed at least nine rebounds – including a 2011-12 season-high 13 boards on Dec. 31, 2011 – in three of his last four contests against the Knicks, while continuously shutting down All-Star forward Amare Stoudemire.
Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 – Kings host Celtics
Key Matchup of the Game: DeMarcus Cousins vs. Kevin Garnett
Notable Recent Meetings: In one of the team’s best all-around performances of 2011-12, the Kings set season-highs in points (120) and assists (29) in a blowout, 120-95, win over Boston in front of a packed home crowd on March 16, 2012.
Thornton poured in 36 points and Jason Thompson recorded a strong double-double with 21 points and 15 rebounds, while Cousins added 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Thomas once again forced his opponent, All-Star Rajon Rondo, into a tough shooting night, holding him to four points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field.
Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 – Kings host Heat
Key Matchup of the Game: Tyreke Evans vs. LeBron James
Notable Recent Meetings: Sacramento nearly pulled off a hard-fought road victory over the Heat on February 21, 2012, in which three Kings players – Thomas, Thornton and Evans – scored at least 20 points. No. 13, matched-up with James, put up a stellar stat-line with 21 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.
Helping to keep the score close throughout, Thomas caught fire in the third quarter, scoring 20 points – the most by a Kings rookie since the 2000-01 season – and tied the franchise record for three-pointers in a period with five, later drawing high-praise from the reigning MVP and Dwyane Wade at 2012 All-Star Weekend in Orlando.
Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 – Kings host Thunder
Key Matchup of the Game: Tyreke Evans vs. Kevin Durant
Notable Recent Meetings: In a nationally-televised game on TNT, the Kings showed the country that Sacramento is a young team on the rise, stunning the Western Conference Champions with a 106-101 victory on February 9, 2012, to the delight of a raucous home crowd on Black Thursday. Evans and Cousins led the high-powered Sacramento attack, scoring 22 and 19 points, respectively, while Thompson recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards.
“I don’t even want to talk about that game,” said Thunder forward Kevin Durant during last year’s All-Star Weekend. “They kind of took it to us. “
Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 – Kings host Rockets
Key Matchup of the Game: Marcus Thornton vs. Kevin Martin
Notable Recent Meetings: Cousins, showcasing every tool in his offensive arsenal, scored a then-career-high 38 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a tight overtime loss on March 26, 2012.
Thompson has similarly feasted on Rockets big men, averaging 13.9 points on 52.1 percent shooting and 8.0 rebounds per contest in seven starts against Houston, scoring a career-high 27 points to go along with 11 boards in a Kings win on Nov. 11, 2009.
Saturday, March 30, 2013 – Kings host Lakers
Key Matchup of the Game: DeMarcus Cousins vs. Dwight Howard
Notable Recent Meetings: Sacramento opened the 2011-12 campaign in spectacular fashion with an exhilarating 100-91 home victory over the long-time division rival to non-stop “Beat L.A.” chants from the stands on Dec. 26, 2011. The Kings went on to win the season-series against the Lakers, during which Cousins notched double-doubles in all three contests, Thornton averaged 21.0 points on 58.3 percent shooting from the field and 54.5 percent from long-range and veteran Francisco Garcia scored a season-high 18 points on March 2.
Friday, April 5, 2013 – Kings host Mavericks
Key Matchup of the Game: Jason Thompson vs. Dirk Nowitzki
Notable Recent Meetings: The Kings came out firing on all cylinders at home against the Mavericks on March 9, 2012, taking a commanding first quarter lead and going on to secure a 110-97 victory over the 2011 NBA Champions. Six Sacramento players scored in double-figures, led by 17 points apiece from Evans and Thornton, as the Kings shot 50.6 percent from the field and went 13-of-13 at the foul line.
In a rematch at Dallas on April 10, Cousins racked up 25 points, 18 rebounds and a career-high six steals, while Sacramento’s front court held Nowitzki to only 15 points on 4-of-14 shooting from the field.
Which Kings games are you looking forward to most this season? We’d love to hear your favorite matchups in the below comments or on Twitter @SacramentoKings.