Sacramento Kings vs. Miami Heat: Game Preview, Predictions

Steve Mitchell – USA TODAY Sports

This team is bad. No, scratch that. This team is awful. That’s pretty much how Sacramento Kings head coach Michael Malone summed up the state of his team following a loss at home to the New Orleans Pelicans Friday. And his observation is pretty accurate. At 8-19 the Kings have shown flashes but have stumbled over themselves with poor defense. With their coach calling them out to the press, this team has to dig deep and play with more effort. That could be a tough task as the Kings take on the Miami Heat Friday night.

The Heat bring the hype and championship bling to Sleep Train Arena for their only appearance in Sacramento this season, and they should roll to an easy victory. Miami has won the last 10 meetings against the Kings including their most recent win last week as they cruised to an easy 122-103 win in Miami. Sacramento shot 58 percent in that game but lost because of their inability — or unwillingness — to defend. Miami shot 61 percent in that game as Ray Allen gamely trotted off the bench to score 18 points.

Miami won a big game against the Indiana Pacers a week ago and showcased their dominance on Christmas Day, but Sacramento will make this closer than many think. DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and eight rebounds against the Heat and should further demonstrate how Miami is at a disadvantage down low. Meanwhile, Isaiah Thomas, who scored 14 against Miami, should come closer to his average of 20 in this home game.

Sacramento needs this game following a poor effort at home and look to reverse their dismal home record. The Kings who own a 5-11 record at home need to start defending home court. But then again defending is a major problem facing this team at the moment. That could change with a solid home effort Friday night.

Prediction: 107-98, Miami gets hot again but the Kings keep it close.

Karim Akbar is a Sacramento Kings writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kuhreem , “Like” his RantSports page on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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