With the Los Angeles Lakers set to face off against the Sacramento Kings on Friday, November 15th, here’s everything you need to know.
The Los Angeles Lakers are coming into this game sporting a 9-2 record, good for 1st in the Western Conference standings. The team is rolling and their most recent blowout victory against the Golden State Warriors came without Anthony Davis on the floor, although given the state of this Warriors team, that isn’t saying much.
The Sacramento Kings on the other hand, have gotten out to a rocky start, losing their first five games in humiliating fashion. But the team has rebounded since then, winning four out of their last five games, with an overall record of 4-6, and 10th overall in the Western Conference.
In addition, the Lakers will be facing a familiar face on the Sacramento sideline, former head coach Luke Walton, who took the job with the Kings in the past offseason.
The Kings have been dealing with a number of injuries to key players in the rotation. Starting point guard De’Aaron Fox suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain during practice and is projected to miss up four weeks. In addition, the team will also be without former No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III, who fractured his thumb earlier in the season and has yet to return. Forward Trevor Ariza is also questionable for this game after injuring his groin in their victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday.
On the Lakers end, Anthony Davis is expected to return to the starting lineup after sitting out Wednesday’s game against the Warriors. However, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope suffered an ankle injury during that same game, and will be re-evaluated prior to Friday’s game. If he can’t go, then expect a healthy dose of Quinn Cook, and Alex Caruso to soak up those minutes.
The Kings run an offense heavily predicated on getting out in transition and scoring quickly. A lot of this attack was spearheaded by De’Aaron Fox, but even with him sidelined, expect the Kings to run. Although the Lakers are currently sporting the No. 1 defense in the league, their transition defense has been less than stellar, so the team will need to tighten things up on that end.
The Kings also have skilled scorers in Bogdan Bogdanović and Buddy Hield who can score in a variety of ways, so Danny Green and Avery Bradley will need to step up and limit these two as much as possible.
The Lakers will have a huge size advantage in the paint, as the Kings only two big man options are Dewayne Dedmon and Richaun Holmes, both of which are hopelessly outmatched against the trio of Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and JaVale McGee. The outcome should be similar to Wednesday’s game against the Warriors, where these three absolutely feasted on their undersized big man rotation.
With LeBron James currently in a groove offensively, the perimeter defense more than capable of shutting down the King’s best wing scorers, and the three-headed monster of Davis, Howard, and McGee demolishing anything within three feet of the basket, the Lakers should easily cruise to a victory against the Kings.