The Kings take on the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight in their 2006-07 home opener, tip-off is at 7p.m.
Tonight’s game marks the ARCO Arena debut of Head Coach Eric Musselman. The Kings have been the home opening opponent for three straight games, so Coach Musselman is excited to have Sacramento’s famous fans on his side.
"We know it's going to be a great atmosphere tonight," Musselman said. "The big thing is for our players to get the crowd involved. The way you do that is to make hustle plays and to score some points in transition."
Tonight’s game is the first of four home games the Kings will have at ARCO Arena in the next 10 days. The Kings are the last team in the NBA to have a home opener this season. The Kings are also the only team to be the opponent for three home openers.
Likely Match-Ups for the Kings Home Opener:
PG: Mike Bibby vs. Mike James: Bibby’s toughest opponent right now is his shooting hand. He’s still recovering from the right thumb injury he sustained in the preseason. Although his shooting percentage is down from the preseason he is averaging 17 points, and almost seven assists per contest. James didn’t show the Kings why he was the Wolves biggest off-season acquisition, as Troy Hudson stole the show in the fourth quarter for the Wolves last Wednesday. James is regarded as one of the hardest workers and sharpest shooters on the Wolves roster, so Bibby’s emergence on the defensive end is going to be tested tonight as well.
SG: Kevin Martin vs. Ricky Davis: Two scorers that always have a chance to change the dynamic of the game if they are shooting well. Davis has nothing but respect for the ARCO Arena crowd. “It’s one of the best places to play,” Davis said. “It’s got the best fan base and you have to ready to play when you come here.”
SF: Ron Artest vs. Trenton Hassell: Artest is crashing the boards and averaging more than nine rebounds a game. He leads the league in steals. He is second on the Kings in assists, averaging four dimes a game. The Kings hope to use his inside scoring abilities more and they should be able tonight. Hassell is regarded as one of the best defenders in the game and will have his work cut out for him tonight as Artest outweighs him by nearly 30 pounds. Hassell is not known for his scoring, but he’s efficient. His season high is 13 points and that came against Artest last Wednesday.
PF: Kenny Thomas vs. Kevin Garnett: Thomas is sure to have his hands full with Kevin Garnett on the defensive end, but he has shown that he can help contain The Big Ticket. Last year Thomas was able to hold Garnett to 11 points on three of 14 shooting in Sacramento. Garnett also turned the ball over three times.
C: Shareef Abdur-Rahim vs. Mark Blount: Blount struggled from the floor against the Kings last week shooting three of 11 from the floor on his way to scoring only seven points. Abdur-Rahim will try to hold the offensive minded Blount to a similar outing tonight. Blount is a six-year veteran who’s in his first full season with the Wolves. “The fans really enjoy coming out and supporting their guys,” Blount said of the Kings fans. “Even if you’re a visiting team, it’s great to see the fans loving (the game), it’s just exciting.”
The Kings faced the Wolves less than a week ago. The game is going to have a different feel to it for more than just the setting. The Kings will be without starting center Brad Miller, who’s out for a minimum of four weeks with a partial tear to the plantar fascia in his left foot. The Wolves MVP Kevin Garnett doesn’t think playing the Kings without Miller will make tonight’s game any easier. “It doesn’t mean anything,” Garnett said of any Wolves advantage with Miller out. “They play hard. Kenny Thomas plays hard, Reef plays hard, and Mo Taylor is going to come off the bench and score a lot of buckets. This place is going to be rockin and they are going to be excited to be home. We have to be ready.”
The Kings were noticeably upbeat about being home and having their fans behind them. John Salmons is playing in his first home opener tonight with the Kings. He is pumped up and had a few words for Kings fans.
The Kings played a great game against the Wolves for three quarters last week and know they need to play solid for four quarters to get the win tonight. One area the Kings are hoping to exploit is the Wolves interior defense. The Wolves rank second-to-last in the league in stopping their opponent in the paint. “We constantly want to take the ball to the basket and get inside the defense and get to the free-throw line,” Brooks said. “Without Brad it opens up a lot more touches for (Artest) down low.”
Kevin Martin is leading the Kings in scoring averaging more than 22 points a game. Tonight Martin faces the Wolves sharp shooter Ricky Davis who is averaging only 14 points so far this season. Last week when these two faced-off Martin bettered Davis, scoring 23 to Davis’ eight points. Davis has seen Martin continue to grow as a player in the league. “It’s going to be fun,” Davis said after today’s shoot-around. “The kid is shooting the ball great and it’s just going to be a challenge for me to come in and make him take tough shots.”
Quote of the day: “Our fans are the best in the league!” Kevin Martin fired up for the home opener.
Kings Host Timberwolves in Home Opener
By DAN BURCH, STATS Writer
Posted Nov 6 2006 12:44PM
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2006-07 Stats at a GlanceNBA.com Daily Confidential
After opening the season with three straight road games, the Sacramento Kings become the final team to play their home opener Monday when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Kings and Timberwolves are quite familiar with one another, as Minnesota beat Sacramento 92-83 on Wednesday in the regular-season opener for both teams.
Expected to miss the first two weeks of the season because of a mallet thumb, Kings point guard Mike Bibby made a dramatic recovery, scoring 16 points and nearly leading Sacramento to victory. But he was ejected from the game in the fourth quarter after receiving two technical fouls, and the Kings couldn't recover without their leader.
``We've got to learn from this, keep our cool, and make sure we execute,'' Kings center Brad Miller said.
The Timberwolves (2-1) went on to beat Denver 112-109 on Friday before losing 88-86 to Portland on Saturday. The Timberwolves wrap up their four-game road trip Tuesday at the Los Angeles Lakers.
Sacramento (1-2) has long enjoyed a home-court advantage at Arco Arena, and it'll need it after dropping two of those three road games. Only a comeback win against Chicago prevented the Kings from returning home winless.
They lost 104-91 to Milwaukee on Saturday, one day after rallying to beat the Bulls 89-88.
``They came out and kind of opened it up pretty bad,'' said Bibby, who is shooting just 30.4 percent (14-for-46). ``We weren't hitting any shots and they were. They were being aggressive, we weren't. We were playing timid and that's were it all came down to.''
Miller was forced to leave Saturday's game with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He left the locker room with a protective boot and said his injury would be evaluated before Monday's game.
``We'll see where it's at,'' he said.
The Kings went 27-14 at home last season and have posted winning records at Arco Arena for 12 consecutive seasons. Despite their good mark at home in 2005-06, it was the first time since 1999-2000 that the Kings failed to win at least 30 home games.
The Timberwolves, however, are one of the few teams to play well in Sacramento. They've won the last five meetings at Arco Arena and nine of the last 11 overall.
Minnesota also beat Sacramento in seven games in the 2004 Western Conference semifinals.
Trying to open 3-0 for the first time since going 6-0 in 2001-02, the Timberwolves were unable to get by the Trail Blazers in an 88-86 loss Saturday. Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 10 rebounds, his third double-double in as many games this season, but missed an 8-foot jumper at the buzzer that could've sent the game into overtime.
``I tried to get a foul at the end on that last shot,'' said Garnett, who is averaging 23.7 points and 12.3 rebounds. ``I should have just shot the first look.''
Minnesota was only 9-32 on the road last season.
This is the start of a four-game homestand for Sacramento, which also hosts Detroit, Toronto and Memphis. The Kings were the only team in the league to open with three consecutive road games.
Copyright 2006 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
Yeah we played a good game. The hustle/defense was really nice, the passing was good, Ron didn't play badly on offense, Kenny played well, Mike distributed the ball extremely well(8 assists), Kevin didn't play too well, but Salmons played real well. That game was awesome.
BTW more than 1 person should post on this awesome thread I made!
we played an ok all around game last night......just because kenny played well that still doesnt mean i dnt want him off our team.......he's to streaky....
i'm not worried about kev and those bricks and air balls he shoots the best on the team every night....his shots jus simply didnt go that night....we need a steven hunter or dan gaduric bad bad bad......