The Kings host the Pistons Thursday night in the second and final meeting between these teams this season. The Kings won the previous matchup on February 26th 110-107 in Detroit.
The Kings won five straight games from March 22nd to March 29th, but since then, they have lost four straight after losing to the lowly Timberwolves 116-106 on Monday. The Pistons have won three of their last six games but are coming off of a 134-119 loss to the Nuggets in Denver on Tuesday as they are 5.5-point underdogs heading into Sacramento.
Pistons Need Scorers to Step UpIf the Pistons cover or pull the upset as road underdogs, they will need Josh Jackson and new acquisitions Hamidou Diallo and Cory Joseph to step up offensively because leading scorer Jerami Grant is out due to right knee soreness. Rodney McGruder (elbow) is also out while Jahlil Okafor (knee) is questionable.
The Pistons will also need secondary scorers to step up for their 25th-rated offense (108.4) without their only player averaging more than 15 points to keep up with a Kings offense that ranks 11th in offensive efficiency (114.9). Josh Jackson will need to catch fire for the Pistons to compete with the Kings. Jackson has been an inefficient volume scorer again this season, but he is streaky and has had solid performances in two of the last four games as he scored a season-high 31 points in last Thursday’s win over the Wizards. While Jackson ranks in the 99th percentile in usage among wings, he ranks in just the 21st percentile with 103.1 points per 100 shot attempts.
While Josh Jackson has been inefficient, new acquisitions Cory Joseph and Hamidou Diallo (who have played eight and six games for the Pistons, respectively) have scored very efficiently as they each rank in at least the 94th percentile in points per 100 shots (albeit on a very small sample size). These two will need to continue scoring efficiently for the Pistons’ offense to have a chance to keep up with the Kings, but Joseph, who was traded from the Kings, should have a good idea of how to score against the Sacramento defense that has the worst defensive rating (119.0) in the history of the NBA.
The Pistons will also need players like Mason Plumlee and Isaiah Stewart to step up on the glass to help generate extra shots. Players like Cory Joseph, Killian Hayes, and Plumlee will need to limit turnovers and make smart decisions as distributors. Saddiq Bey and Sekou Doumbouya making shots will also be important for the Pistons. Bey is coming off of a great scoring performance in the loss to the Nuggets where he tallied 25 points on just 15 shots as he made six of 12 threes.
Fox Force 5 Finishing at the RimIf the Kings cover or pull the upset, they will need De’Aaron Fox to continue playing his best basketball while they play with a higher level of intensity than they have lately. Marvin Bagley III remains out with a fractured left hand on Thursday after suffering the injury on March 15th.
After the frustrating loss to the Timberwolves, De’Aaron Fox noted, “Sometimes with a team that’s not as high up in the standings, we play worse in those games sometimes. For us, we have to find a better level of consistency.” This is certainly an opportunity for the Kings to show that they can come out and beat an overmatched team as the Pistons have the third-worst record in the NBA and will be without their leading scorer.
“You get down too many games, the margins start to widen and you’re not going to be able to make up that difference. For us, if we don’t come out with a sense of urgency, then it doesn’t mean that much to us.”— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) April 6, 2021
De’Aaron Fox has been the Kings’ rock on offense as he is averaging a team-leading 24.6 points and 7.1 assists per game. Fox has been playing great basketball as he is averaging 28.3 points over the last 15 games while using his elite speed to get into the lane and finish at the rim. Fox is attempting 32% of his shots at the rim this season (which ranks in the 68th percentile among point guards), but he is also converting 70% of his shots at the rim into buckets, which ranks in the 100th percentile among point guards, per Cleaning The Glass.
The Kings have several consistent players on offense. Rookie Tyrese Haliburton has been incredibly efficient as his 122.5 points per 100 shots ranks in the 83rd percentile among wings and his 22.9% assist rate ranks in the 95th percentile. Haliburton’s 43% accuracy on threes ranks in the 90th percentile among wings, per Cleaning The Glass.
Richaun Holmes ranks in the 92nd percentile among bigs with 134.8 points per 100 shots as he is nearly an automatic bucket when dunking or using his signature push shot in the lane. Harrison Barnes has also been consistent as his 123.1 points per 100 shots rank in the 84th percentile among forwards. If Buddy Hield can contribute with an efficient night from beyond the arc, the Kings should have more than enough firepower to cover.
- Pistons are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Pistons are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog.
- Kings are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS loss.
- Kings are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 Thursday games.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Pistons’ offense has been bad this season as they rank 25th in offensive rating (excluding garbage time), and they will struggle to score consistently without leading scorer Jerami Grant, even against the Kings’ horrific defense. The Pistons are scoring 6.7 fewer points offensively per 100 possessions without Grant, and his +7.8 net rating leads the Pistons by 4.8 points among players who have played more than 20 games for them this season (per Cleaning The Glass). Expect De’Aaron Fox to continue playing elite basketball as the Kings’ offense runs away and hides while Sacramento plays with more defensive intensity after an ugly loss to the Timberwolves.
Full-Game Total Pick
While Kings games are normally a good bet on the over, take the under in this rare matchup where they face one of the worst offenses in the league without their only player averaging more than 15 points per game. Despite their poor defense, Kings games have gone under the total in six consecutive contests against teams with a winning percentage of .400 or worse. Expect this trend to continue on Thursday.