Kings vs. Lakers Preview: Started at the Top now we're here

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings and Lakers were once the two best teams in the NBA. Now almost a decade later they're on the opposite end of the spectrum.

The Kings take on the Lakers tonight (7:30 pm on News10 and KHTK 1140) in Los Angeles. This once mighty rivalry has all but disappeared, especially with the Crown Prince of Darkness, aka Kobe Bryant, still out with injury.  The Lakers have been devastated by injuries this year, but they've still managed to beat Sacramento in both games the two teams have played so far this year.  The Kings will also be without DeMarcus Cousins, and they're 0-9 in those games this season.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Jason Thompson vs. Pau Gasol

The Lakers don't have all that many weapons, but Pau Gasol is still incredibly skilled and able to put up big performances.  The Kings will be without their own main weapon, but shutting down Gasol will help Sacramento's chances big time.  Thompson will also be able to operate in the post more with Cousins out, and that's where he is most comfortable.

3 THINGS

1. The Kings will of course be without DeMarcus Cousins, who is out with a case of sore fist.  However, they will have the services of Rudy Gay and new signee Orlando Johnson.  The last two times the Kings played the Lakers, Gay had yet to join the team.  Theoretically, Gay should be able to have his way with Los Angeles' wing players, none of whom are premier defenders.

2. Kendall Marshall is having a bit of a career renaissance in Los Angeles, which is funny to say since he's in just his 2nd year.  Marshall is averaging a near double-double with 9.5 points and 9.4 assists in 31.5 minutes a game, and he's shooting a ridiculous 45.5% from three, somewhat surprising considering his shooting was a knock coming into the league.  Defensively though, Isaiah Thomas should be able to have his way with him, as he's slow footed.

3. As is the case with any Mike D'Antoni team, the Lakers love shooting threes, and are 3rd in the league in makes this season.  The Kings are one of the worst three point defense teams in the league.  Something has to give.

START FOUR

This is the last game of our Start Four contest, so if you've been playing, get one more good prediction in. Check out this FanPost for details!

PRE-GAME HAIKU

Oh silly Cousins,
Your fisticuffs were bad form.
Now you cannot play.

PREDICTION

Kings 143, Lakers 102 as Rudy Gay goes for 82 points in Kobe's building.

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