God bless HighTops. -- TZ
The Lakers lead the season series 2-1. Back on Nov.3rd, Kobe put up a triple double to lift LA over the Kings 112-100. Then on Dec. 3rd, the Kings went to the Staple Center to face LA who were in their 1st four game losing streak in 4 years, but we couldn't take advantage of them. We actually ended up losing by 33, 113-80. But on Jan. 28th the Kings returned to LA and put a 100-95 whooping on LA to end an 8 game losing streak to the NBA Champions.
In the first half, both teams were content to trade baskets. The Kings played their usual defense and the Lakers were willing to match our intensity. Sacramento shot 59.1 percent to the Lakers 52.6 percent from the field in the first half. Cousins got off to a quick start, scoring 12 points on 6-for-7 shooting in the first quarter, mostly on outside jumpers with one layup. Tyreke left half way thru the quarter after his 2nd foul. JT who started but was ineffective with 0 pts and only 1 reb, left a minute later. Cousins left at the 4:30 mark with 12 pts, 1 assist and 1 foul, and the score tied 19-19. With a lineup of Dalembert, Landry, Greene, Casspi, and Udrih, the Kings turned the ball over 4 times in the last four minutes of the quarter. Bryant took advantage of our mistakes and scored 12 of LA's last 14pts to finish with 21 pts in the first quarter. So, in spite of the great shooting, the Kings were down at the end of the 1st quarter 33-30.
In the 2nd quarter, Coach Westphal went with Cousins, JT, and Landry on the front line and Evans and Pooh in the backcourt, against the Lakers reserves. When Phil Jackson brought his starters back with 4:24 left in the half, the Kings had a 47-46 lead. Behind the scoring of Cousins, Dalembert and Beno, the Kings stretched the lead to 59-55 by the end of the half.
To start the third quarter, Westphal started Samuel Dalembert in place of JT. The Kings went on a 22-6 run hitting 10-for-12 from the field to go up 81-61 midway through the third quarter. The Lakers trimmed the lead to 14 points heading into the fourth quarter, 85-71. Dalembert went 5-5 for 10 of his season-high 18 points. The Kings shot 57.1 percent from the field and outscored the Lakers 26-16 in the third period.
The Kings shot only 4-17 for 23.5 percent in the final quarter and made just 6-for-10 from the charity stripe helping the Lakers cut the lead to 3 with 2:43 to play. But Tyreke hit 2 clutch FT's, and Casspi tipped home a Tyreke miss with 1:29 left to put the Kings up 97-90. Dalembert made one of two FT's in the final minute and half, and Landry did it twice to keep the Lakers from getting any closer than 4.
The Kings frontline of Cousins, Landry, Dalembert outscored the Lakers frontline of Gasol, Bynum, Odom, 57-25. The Kings outscored the Lakers in the paint, 50-36. DeMarcus Cousins had a team high 27 points on 11-19 and had 10 rebounds. Omri Casspi was 2nd with 20 points and Carl Landry had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Tyreke Evans had 13 points on 5-13 from the field with 5 rebs and 5 assists, and Beno Udrih finished with 6pts on 3-8 shooting and a team high 7 assists.
The Kings entered that game with a record of 11-33 since then they are 13-24 (35%), but in the last month the Kings are 9-9. During the same period, LA is 10-5 and beat the Spurs last night to end a 5 game losing streak. Although it was actually the Spurs bench that they beat with Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, and McDyess sitting out the game for the Spurs. And, it took the majority of the Lakers starters and Odom playing their regular minutes to do it.
There's no doubt that the Kings are a better team than the team that beat the Lakers on their home court at the end of January. But, it's also true that the Lakers team with the 56-25 record that sits in 2nd place in the Western Conference is better than the Kings. The Kings are only playing for the chance to be a spoiler, while the Lakers only need to match what the Mav's do in their early game on Wednesday to lockup 2nd place in the West. So, the game may have little meaning by the time it gets under way should the Mav's lose, but LA will probably want to put the Upstart Kings in their place and head into the Playoffs on a two game winning streak. So, there will be no looking ahead, they will be totally focused on their possible new neighbors, and will be out for blood.
Kobe has scored 87pts and 1 triple double in our 3 games this season, and with Tyreke possibly out with a bad ankle, we have no answer for Kobe or whoever starts at the 3 (Artest or Odom). I'd love to think we have a chance to win this one, and I'll be there cheering for our boys to the very end. And, while it might truly be the very end, like the fine young players we've grown to love over the years I won't give up until it's finally over. Heart is what keeps us alive, so with all my heart I say Beat LA and while you're at it Anaheim. Forever, Sacramento Kings.