Take two on this one: DeMarcus Cousins and Dwight Howard highlight the Kings' Wednesday game against the Lakers. It remains to be seen what Keith Smart will do with the starting lineup, but Cousins isn't moving. The thing that'll be most interesting to watch, win or lose, will be whether Cousins can continue his good play. Boogie had his best game of the season by far on Sunday, scoring 29 points on 24 shooting possessions. (That included a three.) He didn't rebound much, but the Kings overall did a good job on the defensive glass, holding the Nets to seven offensive rebounds overall.
The question is whether the Kings turned a corner on Sunday but simply ran into a much better team, or whether the Kings are still playing too poorly to win more than 20 or so games. (They're on pace for 16, not adjusting for their home-heavy early schedule.) Seeing Cousins and Tyreke Evans play well against good opponents (Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson, respectively) gives me hope. The rest of the club shooting 17-45 does not. The box score on Wednesday might not reflect sustained quality -- Howard is a beast on both ends -- but what we see could tell us if clear skies are coming.
On the other end, expect lots of Jason Thompson and Chuck Hayes on Howard just to prevent foul trouble for Cousins. Howard has been awful as usual from the line this season (he airballed one on Tuesday, which is hilarious), so fouling shouldn't necessarily be avoided. But the Kings can hardly afford seeing Cousins hit the bench early.