Here we go again. The Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers meet in the second game of a four-game season series Friday night at Sleep Train Arena. It’s a game Sacramento knows it needs as it’s currently in the midst of a five-game losing streak. The Lakers took the last meeting 100-86 behind Xavier Henry‘s 21 points — he led all scorers — while Pau Gasol added 20. Sacramento gets the added benefit of having Kobe Bryant remain out, so what can Sacramento do to reverse the outcome?
Well for one, they can finally catch a break and win a game at home. Sacramento is just 3-7 at home. The Kings are also 3-10 against the Western Conference. That’s a figure that will only improve when this team learns to make stops when it counts and take care of the ball. But it’s not all bad. It’s actually promising in a variety of ways. Sacramento has lost six of its last seven by seven points or fewer. The Kings also have a record of 4-12, but have the toughest schedule in the league according to ESPN. Meanwhile, Isaiah Thomas leads all scorers in the NBA off the bench, perhaps cementing his lock on the Sixth Man Award.
The Kings will need to come out rolling like they did against the Oklahoma City Thunder as the Kings are 3-0 when leading at the half, but 1-12 when they fail to do that. The Lakers feature a deep bench and you have to get the feeling this team is improving with Kobe rejoining them in practices. The Kings will need to play disciplined on both ends in order to come out on top Friday. But it’s not all personal in this game.
It will also be a reunion of sorts as there are connections aplenty between these two teams. Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni was drafted 20th overall by the Kings in 1973 while DeMarcus Cousins and Jodie Meeks played basketball at Kentucky. Henry and Western Conference Rookie of the Month Ben McLemore also played together at Kansas. But reunion time can wait until after the game — unless Cousins objects to that too — but in all seriousness, this is a game Sacramento must have.
- Greivis Vasquez
- Ben McLemore
- Derrick Williams
- Jason Thompson
- DeMarcus Cousins
Bold Prediction: 103-92, Kings win behind Cousins’ strong play.