Friday, February 23 2024

Kings prepared for Draymond’s return in NBA In-Season Tournament game originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The Kings’ matchup with the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night at Golden 1 Center comes with an extra layer of intrigue as All-Star forward Draymond Green returns from a five-game suspension.

During practice on Monday, Kings center Trey Lyles explained how Green’s return could rejuvenate a Warriors team in desperate need of a spark.

“I think we saw it last year,” Lyles told reporters. “He definitely helps them out a lot with energy and just competitiveness, so I’m sure they’ll be hyped to have him back.”

Sacramento and Golden State have seen each other often over the last couple of seasons, squaring off 13 times since the start of the 2022-23 NBA season, including a riveting seven-game series in last year’s postseason.

All-NBA point guard De’Aaron Fox revealed that despite getting a close look at the Warriors during that series, it only further confirmed what he and the Kings already knew about Golden State.

“They were winning championships when I was in high school, so you got to see a lot of what makes that team go, what makes that team so much better,” Fox told reporters at Kings practice on Monday. ” When Draymond is on the court, you know that he’s bringing physicality defensively. He’s a playmaker. He does so many things for that team that doesn’t get put into the stat sheet. So playing them in a seven-game series, it didn’t change anything; it just kind of validated what you saw as a basketball fan.”

Lyles echoed a similar sentiment as Fox, sharing that Green’s impact had been well understood by the Kings long before facing the Warriors in last year’s playoffs.

“I think we all know Draymond as a player; he’s great for the Warriors and what they do,” Lyles explained. “He does his job very well, whatever you want to see that as being. So I think seeing him basically day-to-day during that series, seeing the same competitor every game, so we know what we’re getting when we go against him.”

Fox offered a lighthearted response about Green’s suspension ending just before Tuesday’s matchup with the Kings, letting out a brief chuckle before explaining that he always wants to face opponents when they are at their best.

“When I first saw the suspension, I was like, ‘Five games?’ Like, of course, we play them that sixth game, but, I mean, it is what it is,” Fox shared. “Those type of things happen. I don’t really have much to say about it. You want to play teams at their full strength so you know where you’re at regardless of who’s in [and] who’s out; we want to play teams at their best.”

Coach Mike Brown is very familiar with Green after an extended stint on Golden State’s coaching staff, and he detailed how the dynamic forward is able to provide energy for the Warriors regardless of if he is on the floor or not.

“That’s what Draymond does, one of the main things he does. He always provides juice for that team,” Brown told reporters. “So whether he is playing or he’s not, he’s going to bring those guys that juice or that energy, that physicality that not many guys in the league can do. So it’s great for them. For us, we’re going to play whoever is in front of us, whether you’ve got your whole team, half your team, missing two guys or whatever. We’re just trying to go get the win.”

Despite Sacramento’s ascension into the elite tier of teams within the NBA, the Kings have yet to overcome the hurdle their Northern California neighbors have presented.

Since the beginning of last season, the Warriors have won nine of their 13 matchups with Sacramento, including both of the two played this season.

Both teams have a chance to advance to the Semi-Finals of the NBA In-Season Tournament on Tuesday night, with Sacramento’s path being much more transparent due to the Kings controlling their destiny with a win over Golden State.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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