After the absolute punch to the gut that was Tuesday night's loss in Dallas, the Sacramento Kings look towards the comfort of home and the hopes of turning things around against the lowly Los Angeles Lakers. On the heels of having their three game win streak snapped in Los Angeles to the Warriors, the Lakers still only have eight wins on the season. The real draw to this Thursday night matchup against the Lakers drag is that they're dragging Kobe Bryant into Sleep Train Arena for what will be his final appearance in Sacramento. Kobe's swan song can be viewed on TNT at 7:30 Pacific and can be heard on KHTK 1140. Let's talk Kings basketball.
A Few Things to Consider:
Center of Attention: DeMarcus Cousins has come into 2016 with one single resolution: destroy everything that steps into his path. Whether it be NBA quality centers on the court or elderly hecklers in the stands DeMarcus has verifiably wrecked everything and everyone in the new year, and Thursday night's opponent gives DeMarcus a chance to go up against someone who's a bit of both. Roy Hibbert, who last year was certified as the slowest land mammal on Planet Earth, comes into the game averaging 6.9 points on 42% shooting, whilst grabbing 6 boards and blocking 1.7 shots a game. If DeMarcus continues the effort that was shown against Dallas last night, he could very well have the best game of his career and leave at the end of the 3rd to give Willie Cauley-Stein or Quincy Acy a chance at a tired Hibbert.
The Final Ride of #24: I contemplated not mentioning him in this preview. I really, really wanted to go the entire length of this and have my preview be just like every quantifiable statistic of basketball effieciency this season: devoid of Kobe's name. But as much as I love the Kings, a lot of the respect I have for them was earned playing against players like Kobe. If the world had no villains, it would have no heroes either, and if it hadn't been for Kobe Bryant testing my faith in the Kings during some of those all-time great games against us, I would have been a lesser fan. He made me hate him so many times over the years, and that pushed me further into my fandom for the Kings. So here it is. Kobe gets a paragraph. I believe Akis said it best Wednesday when he pointed out that while every other team was having tributes videos for him, the best send off the Sacramento could give him is 48 minutes of boos. Good bye Kobe, and good riddance.
Odds and Ends:
-This game marks the return of the artist formerly known as Ron Artest; Metta World Peace. Metta played two seasons with the Kings, averaging just under 20 points per game, and just over 40 tickets-to-the-gunshow arm flexes. He's played only 18 games for the Lakers this season, averaging under 9 minutes a game and just over 40 tickets-to-the-gunshow arm flexes.
-The last time the Sacramento Kings played the Los Angeles Lakers, they scored 132 points, 80 of those points being in the paint. EIGHTY POINTS IN THE PAINT. That was two games into the season.
-Roy Hibbert is extremely slow.
Prediction: The Kings decide they don't want to hurt us fans (and in the process not lose William's writing gig), rustle away every loose ball and ultimately kick a young Laker's squad black and blue: Kings 125, Lakers 100