Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Lakers Preview
The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings are just about on opposite ends of the Western Conference spectrum currently as the Kings travel south from Northern California to play on the road at Staples Center tonight.
The Lakers are one of the top teams in the league with a 9-2 record as they sit atop the Western Conference. They have won their last two games and are 5-1 at home so far this season. They had to play their last game without star big man Anthony Davis, but they were still able to get the win and Davis is expected to be back tonight.
Things have not gone as smoothly for the Kings. They are 4-6 on the season and are currently 10th in the West. While they are 2-3 on the road this season, they too are coming into tonight’s game on a two-game winning streak, which is saying a lot considering the injury issues they’ve been facing lately.
Time: 10:30 PM ET
Arena: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Channel: NBCSCA, SPECSN
Kings: De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley III, Caleb Swanigan (O), Trevor Ariza, Dewayne Dedmon (Q)
Lakers: Avery Bradley (P), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Q), DeMarcus Cousins (O)
Sacramento Kings Starting Lineup
The Sacramento Kings looked like one of the more exciting teams last year that was poised to start making a breakout, but things did not go according to plan to start the season.
However’ they’ve had two big wins in a row, a 121-109 blowout of the Atlanta Hawks and a 107-99 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. The Kings got off to a bit of a slow start early against Portland while Bogdan Bogdanovic kept the team afloat, but Buddy Hield heated up in the second half to guide the Kings to the win.
“My teammates had my back when I wasn’t making shots in the first quarter. (Bogdanovic) started off well. Everybody is staying together as a group and just connecting with each other and supporting each other, and guarding, too,” Hield said.
Their last two wins and even a close loss to the Raptors are impressive, especially considering they’ve had to play without De’Aaron Fox, and Marvin Bagley III among others.
“We’re all professionals; next man up,” Hield said. “We have to find a way to win. No excuse. This is the NBA. No one is going to feel sorry for you.”
The challenge will be noticeably larger tonight against the Lakers. They’ll need Hield, Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes and Nemanja Bjelica to play big roles again to try to keep pace with the Lakers.
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
The Lakers were fortunate that they played the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night as Anthony Davis sat out. LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, and JaVale McGee led the Lakers to a 120-94 win over the injury-riddled Warriors.
With LeBron James taking on a different role as a distributor, the ball has moved well for Los Angeles and it’s been hard for teams to deal with the ball movement, especially when James is surrounded by so many capable scorers.
“When that happens, with the type of firepower that we have on this team, the game becomes easy,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “I really believe that if we commit to that mindset of sharing the basketball, truly sharing the basketball every time down, and we commit to the defensive end of the court, we’re going to reach our goals and we’ll have a terrific season.”
James had 12 assists to go along with 23 points on Wednesday night and to Vogel’s point, McGee was especially present on defense and the defensive boards. He finished the game with 18 points and 17 rebounds. Kuzma added 22 points, and Dwight Howard has continued to play well. He had 15 points and eight rebounds in just 20 minutes.
Key Player Matchups
LeBron James vs. Harrison Barnes
If Harrison Barnes was ever considered a primary offensive option, those days seem over now. While he has had some standout games against Toronto and New York, he can be inconsistent. On the other hand, James has been the picture of consistency as he’s been able to get his team going on the offensive end with his passing but has not lost any of the dominating offense and defense that he’s been known for.
Danny Green vs. Buddy Hield
Hield is probably Sacramento’s most skilled healthy offensive player. He can heat up in a hurry, so Frank Vogel will look to Danny Green to try to keep him under wraps. While the matchup leans in favor of the Kings, don’t count out Green. He has made a seamless transition to the Lakers and can contribute on offense, especially from outside, when needed.
LeBron James is the standout in tonight’s matchup. His ability to rack up points, rebounds, assists and have sold shooting figured makes him a fantasy favorite every time he plays. He is available for $10.8k on FanDuel and is projected to finish with 50.6 points.
Sacramento’s Hield is a nice value option at $6.8k for a 39.07 projection. For the Lakers, Kyle Kuzma’s projections seem way off. He is valued at $5.6k, and while he is only projected for 12.87 points, I would be very surprised if he doesn’t double that, so that’s definitely a low risk, high reward proposition.
Bet on Matchup
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