The season is here
Let's pull on purple and black
And make Sactown proud.
L.A. [Redacted] at Sacramento Kings
The Gymmer, Sacramento
7 p.m. Pacific on Comcast SportsNet California and NBA TV
The Sacramento Kings make their 2011-12 debut at home against the hated, 0-1, last-place, bottoming-out, hapless L.A. Lakers. The Lakers played in L.A. on Sunday afternoon, and actually led the Chicago Bulls most of the way ... until Derrick Rose led a fourth quarter comeback and sealed the game with a floater.
Lakers heartbreak is the best kind of heartbreak.
The Lakers will again be without Andrew Bynum, serving the second of a four-game suspension for maiming J.J. Barea in the playoffs last season. Bynum was originally assessed a five-game suspension, but the league dropped it to four given the shortened season. Josh McRoberts started at power forward on Sunday and should do so again; he played decent defense as Carlos Boozer was held in relative check; McBob isn't much of a scorer, though, so it'll remain the Kobe and Pau show.
Devin Ebanks has risen above Metta World Peace at small forward; neither is too good. The Lakers really do have massive issues until Bynum is back, and perhaps even then: the depth on this team is abysmal. Outside of Kobe and Pau, would you trade even Jason Thompson for a single one of the Lakers' players who will appear tonight? I wouldn't. Kobe and Pau (and eventually Bynum) are good enough to win plenty of games -- they did almost beat the Bulls, an incredible team -- but the glory days of the Lakers might be ending. This is not a great team.
The Kings aren't a great team either, but Sacramento has weapons. From Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton to DeMarcus Cousins and J.J. Hickson, from John Salmons to Jimmer Fredette -- the Kings have six players who wouldn't raise a single eyebrow by putting in 20. With Chuck Hayes thankfully back in the decks and Salmons healthy (or close enough to "healthy" to play), there are hopes for the defense, one that finished No. 20 in the league last season.
A tired and injured Kobe, a shallow team on the second game of a back-to-back, a Kings team that will try to run and run and run ... it just needs one more ingredient to set up a huge opening night upset: an insane crowd at The Gymmer.
I have a feeling we'll get that. Am I right?
Game threads will open up at 7 and 8:30. We will have a P.M. recap that will serve as a supplementary post-game thread. We'll wrap the game in the morning. Let's go Kings. Beat L.A. Here We Stayed.