Schedule Breakdown: Pacific Division

Learn more about each team from the five-team Pacific Division heading into the new season.
by Kyle Ramos
Writer, Digital

The 2017-18 season continues to draw closer and with many exciting encounters just on the horizon, will be breaking down each division around the Association and take a closer look for what to watch for.

Golden State Warriors

Sactown’s Nor Cal neighbor has demonstrated their dominance across the Association in recent seasons, posting three straight trips to the NBA Finals and taking home two championships in the process.

Entering last season, Golden State also possessed a 12-game winning streak against the Kings, until it was snapped with a 109-106 Sacramento victory in overtime this past February.

The 2017-18 season could present more intriguing matchups between these squads with a fresh batch of young talent in Sacramento set to collide with the All-Stars of the Warriors. The River City’s rookies, in particular, will be faced with some of the best in the NBA – assisting in their development.

An individual matchup that could yield some entertaining results is Kings guard Buddy Hield going head-to-head with Golden State’s Klay Thompson. Both players carry an impressive scoring arsenal on offense with a shooting touch that makes them dangerous from all areas on the court. With the bumps that come along with a rookie season behind him, these contests may make for prime opportunities for Hield to establish himself as one of the top outside shooting guards in the Association.

In his lone encounter with the Dubs as a member of the Kings last season, No. 24 posted one of his best games as a rookie, notching 22 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.

2017-18 matchups vs Warriors

11/27/17 @ Golden State
2/2/18 vs Golden State
3/16/18 @ Golden State
3/31/18 vs Golden State

Los Angeles Clippers

As is the case with many teams around the NBA, the Clippers roster will be sporting a new look heading into this season.

With the departure of floor general Chris Paul, Los Angeles now rolls out summer acquisitions from Houston in the deal, including key players like Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell and Sam Dekker.

The most memorable matchup between Sacramento and L.A. last season saw a remarkable comeback by the Kings, who erased a 22-point second half deficit en route to a thrilling victory and game-winning put back by Willie Cauley-Stein.

As the rosters for both squads have shifted, there will surely be several matchups to keep an eye on, but one of the more interesting ones may be between Sacramento’s Bogdan Bogdanović and Los Angeles’ Miloš Teodosić. Both players are of Serbian descent and have built their reputations as two of the top players in the EuroLeague - Bogdanovic with Fenerbahce Istanbul and Teodosić with CSKA Moscow. Though these two have played alongside each other as teammates on Serbia’s national team, they will now be facing each other for the first time on NBA hardwood in opposing backcourts.

2017-18 matchups vs Clippers

11/25/17 vs Los Angeles
12/26/17 @ Los Angeles
1/11/18 vs Los Angeles
1/13/18 @ Los Angeles

Los Angeles Lakers

Much like the Kings, the Lakers have been busy in recent seasons acquiring and grooming talent for the future. Los Angeles will trot out the two most recent No. 2 overall picks Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, along with other crucial components Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Brook Lopez.

The rivalry between these California teams may not be the same as the early 2000s, but with new, young faces with prior history entering the mix, the competition between Sacramento and L.A. could possibly reach new levels of excitement.

With a pair of high-profile matchups on the college level already, Kings rookie De’Aaron Fox and Ball will continue to have all eyes on them as they meet four times during the regular season in 2017-18.

As of late, Sacramento seems to have L.A.’s number as the purple and black have been victorious in 10 of the last 13 games.

2017-18 matchups vs Lakers

11/22/17 vs Los Angeles
1/9/18 @ Los Angeles
2/24/18 vs Los Angeles
4/1/18 @ Los Angeles

Phoenix Suns

Much like the Lakers, Phoenix has collected youthful players full with promise. In the most recent NBA Draft, the Suns selected Josh Jackson from Kansas, a forward who contains the potential to be a franchise cornerstone.

Along with Jackson, Phoenix has sharpshooter Devin Booker and big men Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss to round out their young core. Booker enjoyed a strong showing in 2016-17, including a monster outing, becoming just the seventh player in NBA history to record 70 points in a game.

Phoenix’s Jackson could potentially make for an exciting opponent for Sactown’s fellow rookie wing Justin Jackson, who has already showed off some of his offensive versatility in the NBA Summer League this past July.

Sacramento has bested the Suns in nine of the past 12 contests and will look to continue its winning ways against Phoenix with another four matchups in 2017-18.

2017-18 matchups vs Suns

10/23/17 @ Phoenix
12/12/17 vs Phoenix
12/29/17 vs Phoenix
4/3/18 @ Phoenix

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