The Kings will be happy to be done with December.
It’s not that the month has been bad in terms of their record. Sacramento is 7-7 in December and can post a winning month Saturday afternoon with a home win against the Memphis Grizzlies.
It’s just that the Kings have spent a lot of time in hotels and planes, cutting into rest and practice time. Since Nov. 27, the Kings have played 12 of 16 games on the road.
So the Kings will gladly welcome 2017, at least the first two-plus weeks of January, as a chance to improve without the grind of traveling.
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“We’ve been on the road a lot,” said Kings coach Dave Joerger. “(Saturday will) be the cherry on top of the month, and then from there I think we’re home for two weeks.”
The Kings play eight of their next nine games at Golden 1 Center before beginning their season-long eight-game trip beginning Jan. 20. That means the Kings can work more intently on getting healthy and working on aspects of the game that can only be covered in practices.
The Kings used Thursday as a maintenance day for players to receive treatment or perhaps get in some extra work. The team will practice Friday, something that has been rare.
Joerger wants to see if guard Arron Afflalo (right elbow strain) can make it through a practice before he plays against the Grizzlies. Afflalo has missed the past two games.
Joerger will also need to see if Rudy Gay (strained right hip flexor) is healthy enough to participate. Gay has missed seven of the past eight games. He scored 17 points against Philadelphia on Monday when he reaggravated the injury.
Still, Joerger is looking forward to getting his players back on the practice court.
“It’s been three weeks since we’ve had a practice, let alone a good one,” he said.