The Fantasy Football Doctors Podcast Gets Real: Who will win the Championship games on Sunday?

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Rams vs. Saints in the early game Photo: @NFL

Your hosts: Dr. Vasu Vaddiparty & Dr. Charlie O

  • Is it unusual to have teams that met in the regular season face each other in the Conference Championship games?
  • How will those previous meetings affect the games on Sunday?
  • New England will not have home field advantage on Sunday — How will that play into that outcome of their game?
  • What effect will the “Full Blood Wolf Moon” have on the games?
  • How much influence will Special Teams have in these games?
  • What effect will the weather in Kansas City have in that game?
  • Will offense or defense win the games?
  • Vegas is being very conservative with these games – do you agree?
  • We go on the record picking who we think is going to the Super Bowl!

Come on and join the fun … Push play now!

Kings should start the “young guns” again tonight in D.C.

by Charlie O. Mallonee

wiz beal drives on hield
Bradley Beal drives on Buddy Hield Photo USA Today Sports

The Kings and Wizards met in Sacramento on October 29th. Washington opened the game by going on a 13-0 run and the Wizards never trailed in the game as they went on to win 110-83.

The Kings went with a “youth movement” lineup of Bogdan Bogdanovic, Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox. That may well be the starting lineup next season or two years from now, but it might be a bit premature to expect those five to carry the load of being the starting five right now.

In his postgame comments, Dave Joerger talked about his young players giving up 10 to 30 pounds and 5-7 years of experience to the starters for the Wizards. Enthusiasm and talent usually cannot overcome talent, size and experience.

Joerger also explained that his young starting five became “shell shocked”  and a bit disoriented after they fell behind by 13 points in less than five minutes to the Wizards.

What should the Kings do tonight?

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In my opinion, Dave Joerger should run the same starting five he used versus the Wizards in Sacramento out on the floor to open the game on Monday night in Washington. My theory is based on learning to ride a bike. The first few times you attempt to ride you fall down. If you stop, you will never learn to ride. If you keep trying, you learn how to ride the bike with confidence.

Bogdanovic, Labissiere, Cauley-Stein, Hield and Fox need to get back up on “the bike” and face the Wizards from the start of the game to show themselves that they can compete with an experienced team. Even if they only play the opening five minutes, showing they can compete with the Wizards could be a real confidence builder for the young guns.

It’s all about player development

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The Kings as an organization have not made it a secret that this season is all about player development. When you have team full of young players, that has to be your commitment, but that approach can also demoralize your fan base who only understand wins and loses.

I have said before that the Kings need to go the wins at home and play for development on the road. If a game becomes a runaway on the road, the home team’s crowd will go wild as their stars go into “showtime” mode or the second unit has a chance to come out and make big plays. In the meantime, the Kings can work on developing players.

Handling the development in that manner might not thrill the television and radio people, but it would be considerably easier on the fans.

Big key for the Kings versus the Wizards – Start Fast!

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The Kings cannot afford to let Washington go on an opening run like they did in Sacramento. The Wizards simply shoot to well in the paint, from mid-range and beyond the arc to let them grab a quick lead.

It is going to be an uphill battle for the Kings. FiveThirtyEight.com gives Sacramento only a 15-percent chance of beating the Wizards and makes them a 10.5-point underdog for the game. That is not good news for a team that is 1-6 on the road.

This will be the final time the Kings will see the the Wizards this season.

Kings news & notes Monday 11-28-16

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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Cousins passes Webber on the scoring list

DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 37 points in win over the Nets on Sunday night. Those 37 points allowed Cousins to pass Chris Webber for third on the all-time Sacramento Kings scoring list.

Cousins now has 8847 career points for Sacramento. Webber accumulated 8843 points during his six-plus years with Sacramento.

Peja Stojakovic is currently in second-place with 9498 points and the great Mitch Richmond holds down the number one spot with 12,070 points. The all-time franchise (Royals/Kings) points leader is Hall of Famer Oscar Robinson.

Based on his current scoring projections, Cousins could pass Stojakovic for second-place on the scoring list later this season.

It was a night of technical fouls plus a flagrant two ejection

DeMarcus Cousins picked up his fifth technical foul in the third quarter of the game for contact with Luis Scola’s face. It was incorrectly reported as his fourth technical foul in last night’s story. Cousins is now tied for the league lead in that category with DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers.

The Kings Kosta Koufos was charged with a technical foul in the fourth quarter for arguing with the officials. Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson picked up a “T” in the fourth out of frustration with the officials and his team. Nets guard Randy Foye was also a recipient of a technical late in the final period.

Matt Barnes received his flagrant two foul (which was a flagrant one all the way) and ejection from the officiating crew on Sunday night in Brooklyn.

Four technicals and a flagrant two ejection begins to sound like an officiating crew that might have lost control of a game. This would be a good game for the chief of officials to review.

The Kings went back to the big starting lineup on Sunday in Brooklyn

After using the the “small ball” starting lineup for the past three games, Sacramento head coach Dave Joerger went back to the “big lineup” versus the big Nets. That means Koufos started at center, Cousins slid back to power forward, Rudy Gay played the three, Arron Afflalo was at shooting guard and Darren Collison started as the Kings point guard.

Three Kings return to Reno

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Center Georgios Papagiannis, Forward Skal Labissiere and Guard Malachi Richardson ended few days with the parent club and returned to the D-League on Sunday. The Bighorns hosted the Warriors D-League entry the Santa Cruz Warriors.

The Bighorns used a runaway second quarter to establish a solid lead over Santa Cruz and won their second game of the season 100-84.

Malachi Richardson led the Bighorns scoring attack with 24 points and made it a double-double with 11 rebounds. He shot 8-for-18 from the floor, 3-for-6 from 3-point range and hit 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

Skal Labissiere recorded 18 points and grabbed four rebounds. He went 6-for-11 shooting from the field and was 6-for-8 from foul line.

Papagiannis did not play which was listed as a coach’s decision. Kings head coach Dave Joerger had told us that having all three players in a game really limited the number of touches each player received and they want to maximize that number to speed up player development.

The Bighorns will host the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston) on Thursday.

Don’t let this guy get to close to you on the court in D.C.

For entertainment purposes only

FiveThirtyEight.com says the Wizards have a 68-percent chance of beating the Kings tonight in Washington (remember: this is the second game of a back-to-back set on the road). FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO system predicts the Wizards are the favorites minus 4.5 points.

CARMELO also predicts the Wizards will finish with a record of 34-48 and have a 31-percent chance of making the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

The fellows who make those predictions for the owners of those big resorts say go with the Wizards minus 4.5 points. They call the over/under as 210 to 210.5.

Looking ahead to game six of the road trip in Dallas

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As reported by HoopsHype via Dallas Morning News on the Dirk Nowitzki injury: He’s only played five of 16 games. “We have every expectation that it’s not serious,” owner Mark Cuban said. “It’s dramatically better. That’s why he played the other night (in Cleveland). He just felt it again, so there’s no reason to take a chance. We’re just being cautious.” Said Carlisle: “The important thing is that we’re doing the right things to get him to a full recovery. He’s come a long way in a four-plus week period. But it’s an Achilles strain and it’s taking time. My hope is that it can be complete sometime in December, sooner than later. But we just got to be patient with it. He’s too important to us. If we have to play without him, we’ll play without him.”

Kings host the Rockets in the final game of the homestand

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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The Kings wrap up their five-game homestand on Friday night when they host the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are 9-6 on the season and are in fifth place in the Western Conference.

The Rockets continue being road warriors tonight

  • Tonight’s game kicks off a five-game road trip for Houston
  • By the end of this trip the Rockets will have played 14 of their 20 games on the road
  • Houston is 5-4 on the road to date; they were 18-23 on the road last season
  • Toronto stopped the Rockets three-game winning streak on Wednesday night with a 115-102 win in Houston
  • WARNING: the Rockets are 5-0 in the first game following a loss this season

It’s still James Harden’s world

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game Seven
James Harden NBA.com
  • Harden is averaging 28.7 points, 12.5 assists,  and 7.7 rebounds per game
  • He has scored or assisted on 53.7-percent of the Rockets field goals this year
  • Harden has 12 double-doubles (points/assists) so far this season
  • He has recorded 15+ assists five times this season

New additions since last year

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Ryan Anderson NBA.com
  • First, there is the a new head coach in Mike D’Antoni. This is his fifth head coaching job in the NBA. He has been the head man at Denver, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles Lakers and now Houston
  • Local product Ryan Anderson formerly of New Orleans – the 3-point bomber who loves to take on the Kings – is now a member of the Rockets. He is averaging 12.3 points per game and shooting 38.4-percent from 3-point range
  • Houston also signed Eric Gordon as a sixth man away from New Orleans. He is averaging 15.4 points per game off the bench for the Rockets

Kings – the final game of the homestand

  • Sacramento is 2-2 on this homestand. A win tonight would give them a winning record on this home tilt
  • This is the first of four meetings between the Kings and Rockets this season
  • The Rockets won 3-of-4 games last season
  • The Kings are looking to build on their wins over Toronto and Oklahoma City
  • This will be another test for the new “small ball” line up that has been put in place by head coach Dave Joerger

For Sacramento it’s still about Boogie

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
Cousins celebrates versus Thunder (Rocky Widner/NBAE)
  • As Cousins goes so goes the Kings. The big man scored 36 points and grabbed 13 rebounds against OKC. They will need big numbers from him again tonight
  • Rudy Gay is always important to the Kings success on the court. He put up 17 points versus the Thunder just below his season average of 20.2 ppg. With a scoring machine like Ryan Anderson at forward for the opposition, Gay’s production will be key
  • Point guard Darren Collison exploded on offense in his first start of the season. He scored 21 points and dished out six assists in the Wednesday game
  • Sacramento also received good support from the bench on Wednesday night. Ty Lawson, Kosta Koufos, Ben McLemore and Garrett Temple all played productive minutes in the game
  • Coach Joerger went with a short bench against OKC. He used just nine players in that contest. Will that be the case again tonight?

The trade rumors just will not go away

More trade rumors were flying around on the internet today claiming that DeMarcus Cousins is about to be traded soon. The rumors have indicated that a trade would happen in early December to as late as February 2017.

The good news for Kings fans is their star player seems to be immune to the trade talk at this point is career. He has been the subject of trade rumors so often Cousins might only be concerned if he was left out of the rumor mill.

The concern is affect the trade talk might have on his teammates. It does not take much to distract a team and take them off their focus of trying play winning basketball. They need to follow the lead of their star player and focus on the game and not the talk off the court.

Back on the road again

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Barclay Center home of the Nets NBA.com

The Kings will head back out on the road for six games in 12 days with all but one game to be played in the Eastern time zone. It is a long trip but the good news is there is only one back-to-back set of games on the trip.

The trip opens on Sunday night in Brooklyn with the Nets. The Kings will then get the back-to-back out of the way early as they play the Wizards in D.C. on Monday night. They will also visit Philadelphia, Boston, Manhattan, and Dallas before returning home on December 9th to host the Knicks.

For entertainment purposes only

The good folks at FiveThirtyEight.com have the Rockets as the favorites in the game minus 0.5 points. They give the Rockets a 52-percent chance to win the game.

The FiveThirtyEight CARMELO system projects the Rockets to have an 85-percent chance of making the playoffs but just a one-percent chance of winning the NBA Championship.

The fine folks in Nevada say the Rockets are the favorites minus 3.0 to 3.5 points. They believe the over/under will be 215 to 216 points.

Game Preview: Kings go back at it in Portland on Friday night

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by Charlie O. Mallonee

Kings have no time to rest as it’s time to finish a back-to-back

The NBA schedule can be a very cruel mistress when comes to needing to respond to a devastating loss like the Kings had at the hands of the upstart LA Lakers on Thursday night in Sacramento. In this case, they have to head out on the road to Portland to finish a back-to-back schedule with Trail Blazers (5-4).

Percentages on back-to-backs aren’t good

  • About 32-percent of the back-to-back games in the NBA are home/road sets like the Kings have with the Lakers last night in Sacramento and the Trail Blazers in Portland tonight.
  • The average winning percentages for the visiting team in the second game on the road is 37.3-percent. The visiting team is usually given about a 40-percent chance of winning on the road in the NBA, so the chances of winning are lower. Of course, there are many variables that play into those figures.
  • FiveThirtyEight.com (I use them because they have no gambling establishment interest to please) projects the Kings have only an 18-percent chance of pulling off a win tonight over the Blazers. The fact that it is the back end of a back-to-back set on the road versus a team that has a 74-percent chance of making the playoffs  has a lot do with the prediction

Blazers are coming off a loss

Portland lost to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Wednesday night 111-80. LAC led by 20 after the first quarter and led by as many as 48 points in the second half. Damian Lillard was held to eight points shooting just 1-for-10 and hitting no 3-pointers in the game. If Lillard has a bad game, the Blazers are going to have a bad game.

This is a Tier 3 team visiting a Tier 2 team

Sacramento is a Tier 3 team – they will not make the playoffs and will be in the 2017 Draft Lottery. The Trail Blazers are a Tier 2 team – there is a high probability they will make the playoffs and may possibly go to the second round.

Who to watch in tonight’s game

For the Kings, you have to focus on DeMarcus Cousins. The big man scored no points in the third quarter of last night’s game with the Lakers and that is when the contest got away from the Kings. Sacramento needs Cousins to come out energized and ready to be productive in all four quarters if they are to have any chance against the Blazers.

It is really a one-man watch for Portland. Damian Lillard needs to comeback and take charge in this game versus the Kings. He averages 30 points per game. The Blazers must have that scoring production from their star guard or it could be a long night.

For entertainment purposes only

The prognosticators have made the Trail Blazers the favorites in this game minus 6.5 to 9 points (FiveThirtyEight.com calls the -9 & remember they are not tied to a book). The over/under ranges from 208 to 208.5. The Kings need that number to be at 196 to 200 to really be competitive in this game.

Youth was served in Sacramento: Lakers surprise Kings 101-91

 

lat-lakers-kings-wre0044530517-20161110Photo Credit: Rich Pedrocelli AP Photo

by Charlie O. Mallonee

This should have been a Kings win

All of the prognosticators predicted that the Kings would beat the Lakers in Sacramento on Thursday night. FiveThirtyEight.com said the Kings had a 70-percent chance of winning the game on their home court. The Kings had won two consecutive games playing strong defense in both games. The win on Sunday in Toronto was one of the best wins the Kings had experienced in some time.

Momentum did seem to be on the side of the Kings. Not only were they playing well but their opponent was a young team that in the opinion of most has been playing  above their heads most of the season. Everyone expected new head coach Luke Walton to make a difference with the Lakers. No one expected him to make this much of a difference.

The game the Kings (4-6) should have won they lost 101-91 to upstart Los Angeles Lakers (5-4).

The Kings were in control in the first half

Sacramento came out the gate on fire. The Kings hit on 4-of-7 three -point opportunities. DeMarcus Cousins scored 10 points while Rudy Gay added six. The team outscored the Lakers 30-16 in the first quarter and Sacramento looked to be in full control of the game.

In the second quarter, the Kings extended their lead to 19 and appeared ready to turn the nationally televised contest into a “laugher”. The problem for the Kings was the Lakers forgot to rollover and play dead. Los Angeles stepped up and shot 61.1-percent (11-for-18) from the floor and outscored the Sacramento 29-25 in the period behind the solid play of Julius Randle and Lou Williams scoring punch coming off the bench.

At the half, the Kings held a 10-point lead over the Lakers 55-45.

In the third quarter things just got weird 

The Lakers came out of halftime and played with determination. They kept chipping away at the Kings lead cutting it to as little as five points before the Kings opened it back up to a 10 point lead again, but the Lakers went on a 7-0 run to tighten up the game. When the horn sounded to end the third period, Los Angeles trailed the Kings by just three points, 73-70.

Now here comes the weird part. I glanced over to the stats monitor and looked at the line for DeMarcus Cousins and it showed he had 18 points in the game. I then looked again and checked my notes. Everything was correct. Cousins had spent 10 minutes on the floor, shot 0-for-4 from the field and had scored zero points. A struggling team like the Kings cannot have its number one scorer held scoreless for entire quarter and expect to win a game.

Everything just fell apart in the fourth quarter

The Lakers sensed that victory was theirs if they attacked hard right from the beginning of the fourth quarter and attack they did. Lou Williams led the way scoring 13 points in period. The Lakers outscored the Kings 31-18 in the final quarter even with Cousins returning to form and putting up 10 points.

The Lakers shot 62.5-percent (10-for-16) from the floor in the fourth quarter. The went 9-for-11 from free throw line. LA out-rebounded Sacramento 14-9 in the last period.

The Kings shot just 22.7-percent (5-for-22) from the field in the fourth. The went 2-for-8 from beyond the 3-point arc. The Kings were just unable to find a final burst of energy to will themselves back into the game.

Take me to your leader

The Lakers had five players (four starters) finish scoring in double figures. Lou Williams was their leading scorers with 21 points. Julius Randle was their top rebounder with eight. Randle and Clarkson tied for the lead in assist with five each.

DeMarcus Cousins finished with 28 points and nine rebounds to lead the Kings in both categories. Darren Collison led the team with nine assists.

Luke Walton on why the Lakers defense improved in the second half

“We competed. The first half, we give them credit, they were making shots, but we were letting them swing the ball side-to-side. It happens every time we play defense like that. It happened in the Dallas game. We let people get comfortable at this level, they’re going to make shots. In the second half, I felt like we did a much better job of being physical, not letting them move the ball freely, making plays, being aggressive and that’s when we’re at our best.”

Kings head coach Dave Joerger’s views on the game

“Well tonight was a tough night. I thought it was a good first half. We didn’t finish as strong as we needed to. We had a chance to keep the lead at 14-15 and didn’t go into the locker room feeling great at halftime.”

“We did a lot of positive things in the first half. Second half we didn’t make any shots. Our defense was just on the run the whole night and they made shots. I think at the end of the day it came down to who made the shots.”

“I thought we got a ton of looks. Rudy (Gay), DeMarcus (Cousins) – everybody played hard. They had some tougher nights offensively and we’ve got to be able to find some scoring from other places on nights that sometimes the ball goes in, sometimes it doesn’t.

What’s up next on the schedule

The Kings will have no time to lick their wounds and reflect on this loss as they must jump back into action on Friday night in Portland against the Trail Blazers (5-4) for the second game of a back-to-back, home and on-the-road schedule.

The Lakers head to New Orleans where they will play the 1-8 Pelicans on Saturday night.

Game Preview: Kings vs the Lakers tonight 11/10/16 in Sacramento

 

slamsonby Charlie O. Mallonee

TRIVIA QUESTIONJames Harden leads the NBA in assists (12.3 apg) and ranks fourth in scoring (31.5 ppg). Who is the only player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring and assists in a single season?

Los Angeles Lakers

This is not Kobe’s Lakers team

This is the actually “the team” Mitch Kupchak  has been trying to put together for the past three seasons. No longer are the Lakers centered around an aging “star” who would not accept a reduced role for the betterment of the team.

D’Angelo Russell – the number two-overall draft pick in 2015 – is leading the team in scoring with an average of 15.4 points per game. Third-year forward Julius Randle out of Kentucky is beginning to be an impact player in the starting line up averaging 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He has two double-doubles so far this season. Guard Jordan Clarkson is adding 15.1 points per start for LA. The “youngsters” are starting to make their mark on the team.

New coach – new attitude

Luke Walton is in his first year as head coach of the Lakers. He was the “hottest” coaching prospect on the market during the off-season after the job he did filling in for Steve Kerr at Golden State. Walton is the eighth person to have played for and coach the Lakers. He is also the youngest head coach in the NBA at 36 years old.

Lakers come into the game tonight with 4-4 record

The Lakers have won three of their last four games. They are coming off a 109-97 loss at home to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night. It was the first time LA had not scored at least 100 points in their last five games. They also suffered a defensive lapse as Dallas shot 52.4-percent from the field.

The Lakers biggest win of the season came on November 4 when they downed the Golden State Warriors 117-97 on national television.

One of the most improved teams

The Lakers are considered by some to be one the most improved teams in “the association”.

Sacramento Kings

Trying to keep the winning streak alive

After winning big in in Toronto last Sunday to close out the road trip and handling the winless Pelicans at home on Tuesday night, the Kings are anxious to up their winning streak to three in-a-row.

DeMarcus Cousins is still leading the way on offense for the Kings with 25.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. He scored 28 against the Pels. Rudy Gay continues to be hot averaging 22.4 points per game. Darren Collison will play in his second game since returning from suspension and should have some significant impact on the second unit against the Lakers.

Defense is the key

The key to the back-to-back victories for the Kings has been holding their opponent to under 100 points. They are still averaging giving up 101.9 points per game which is too high but is coming down from the 102.5 that is was at the beginning of the road trip.

The Lakers have scored 108 points or more in each of their four wins.

Going for the sweep

The Kings swept the Lakers in the four-game series last season for the first time in their history. Sacramento would like to send a message in this game that they have every intention of repeating that feat again this season.

The Kings have won seven games in-a-row against the Lakers and five in-a-row in Sacramento.

Tough back-to-back

The Kings host the Lakers in Sacramento tonight and then have to travel to Portland to play the always tough Trail Blazers on Friday night. They face a reduced chance to win on the road because of the back-to-back scenario in Portland.

For entertainment purposes only

FiveThirtyEight.com using their CARM-elo system gives the Kings a 70-percent chance of winning tonight’s game with the Lakers. They say take the Kings minus 5.5 points.

Some of the other well-known entertainment sites also have the Kings as the favorites at minus 5.5 points with an over/under of 209 to 209.5.

Nationally televised game

Tonight’s game is being televised across the nation by TNT. That means their is no local play-by-play cable coverage on Comcast California.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Nate Archibald of the Kansas City-Omaha Kings led the NBA in scoring (34.0 ppg) and assists (11.4 apg) in 1972-73.