Sacramento makes its only visit of the season to Miami on Thursday night and south Florida hasn't been kind to the Kings as they haven't won there since 2001. Check our NBA pick first.
Sacramento In Second Of Back-To-Back
A lot of people thought the Kings' George Karl might be the first head coach fired this season, especially amid reports he and superstar DeMarcus Cousins got into last week and Karl wanted to suspend Cousins, only to be overruled by general manager Vlade Divac.
Well, Karl won't be the first to go, as Houston canned Kevin McHale on Wednesday. And the Kings (4-8) are playing better basketball, although they had a three-game winning streak snapped in Atlanta on Wednesday, 103-97. Cousins had 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Rajon Rondo had his NBA-leading fourth triple-double of the season with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists (also seven turnovers). Rondo matched Chris Webber (2004-05) for the second-most triple doubles in a season since the franchise began playing in Sacramento. Webber hold the record of five in 1999-2000.
The Kings welcomed back reserve guard Darren Collison after he had missed the previous five games due to a hamstring injury. He had seven points, five assists and two steals in 28 minutes. For some reason, Karl started Quincy Acy over rookie Willie Cauley-Stein vs. the Hawks. Acy was scoreless with one rebound in 16 minutes. Presumably he goes back to the bench where he belongs.
The Kings are 5-7 against the spread on NBA odds and 6-6 'over/under.'
Whiteside's Block Party For Heat
Miami (6-4) had a three-game winning streak end with a 103-91 home loss to Minnesota on Tuesday night. The Heat wasted a triple-double by Hassan Whiteside, who had 22 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks in becoming only the seventh player in league history with at least two triple-doubles that involved points, rebounds and blocks (his other was last season). Whiteside, a free-agent-to-be, is playing like an All-Star, averaging 15.3 points, 11.9 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game. Whiteside’s 46 blocks through 10 games are the most in franchise history. The Heat have at least five blocks in each of their first 10 games to start this season, the longest such streak to start a season in franchise history. Whiteside is looking at a max-level deal next summer. Now if only Whiteside could shoot free throws because teams have resorted to hacking him lately. He is shooting only 40 percent from the line.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were each held to just 10 points vs. the Wolves, but the Heat shot 45.6 percent from the field compared to Minnesota's 37.1 percent.
"Our defensive grittiness was good enough to get this game," Coach Erik Spoelstra said. "But our offense wasn't efficient."
Miami did turn it over a season-high 22 times and got only 13 points from its reserves. Top reserve Gerald Green, in his first game since Nov. 1 after being hospitalized and suspended, struggled. He finished with two points on 1-for-5 shooting in 12 minutes.
The Heat are 5-5 ATS on NBA picks and 1-9 O/U.
On Jan. 16 in Sacramento, Miami won 95-83 despite playing without Wade. Bosh had 30 points and Luol Deng 25. The Heat 26 assists and only 10 turnovers. Cousins had to work for his 17 points and 11 rebounds. He was 4-for-12 from the field and was limited to three second-half points and committed eight turnovers. On March 7 in Miami, the Heat won 114-109 in overtime to extend their home winning streak in the series to 13 straight. Bosh was out for the season then. Wade had 28 points and Tyler Johnson 24 as the Heat rallied from 16 points down. Cousins had 27 points and 17 rebounds before fouling out in overtime. Rudy Gay scored 27 points for the Kings, who missed two short shots that would have won it in regulation.
Give the points against the tired Kings, go 'under.' The Kings are 0-4 ATS in their past four Thursday games. Miami has covered five of its past seven vs. teams with a losing record. The Kings are 2-11 ATS in their past 13 in Miami. The 'under' has hit in the Heat's past six at home.
NBA Picks: Heat -8 & Under 200 at Pinnacle