After a barn burner of a game on Monday night against Maccabi Haifa, the Kings set their sights on a rematch with the young and talented Los Angeles Lakers. Meeting up for their annual exhibition in Las Vegas, both teams have something to coming into their 7:30 match in the T-Mobile Arena. With a 2-2 record in preseason, the young Laker’s squad is out to show that their win nine days ago wasn’t just a matter of happenstance after Sacramento’s coach pulled his starters in the second half, and the Kings (especially the bench) have an opportunity to show how they adjust to being taken down by a team with young talent who showed more poise and execution down the stretch to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat. Fire up your old Sears Silvertone radio, because this game is once again being played in an arena not yet reached by Sacramento television station signal (or broadcasting rights). Let’s talk Kings basketball.
When: Thursday, October 13th, 7:30pm PT
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 am
Some Things to Consider:
Return of the Kings: When a team plays in the same fashion as the Kings did back on October 4th against the Lakers, both the highs and lows on the game seem to be taken with a grain of salt. With as many vets as Sacramento has, the final score of these preseason games come with a bit of perspective; losses aren’t so hard to take because these are essentially warm-up games, and the injuries to their pride and body just aren’t worth getting worked up over in a game against a team like the Lakers have right now. But, for the younger guys on the squad who are trying to make their mark on the NBA and an early impression on the coaching staff, a loss in the fashion of that previous game against the Lakers, smells a lot more like a locker room in Reno than it does one in Sacramento. As the regular season quickly approaches, the hope for a game like this one against Los Angeles is that again Kings coaches limit the playing time for their core rotation, and allow the young guns to go out their and show how well they’ve adjusted to a team that mopped the floor with them in the second half of their previous game. Willie Cauley-Stein, Georgios Papagiannis, Skal Labissière, Malachi Richardson and even Ben McLemore have NBA level talent that has really yet to shine in these preseason games. As the preseason draws to a close, look to have a couple of the young guys really aiming to make that impression on the staff, veteran players and coaches.
The Long Arm of the Law(son): One play who has really come in a done well for the Kings in preseason so far has been speedy back-up point guard, Ty Lawson. While just about everyone on the Kings had measures of success against Maccabi Haifa on Monday night, it was Lawson who really stood out on the stat sheet: 18 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds in all of 18 minutes out there on the court is pretty impressive even when considering the level of competition in front of him. Ty has founds some early success with the Kings and with Darren Collison suspended for the first eight games of the season, the teams playoff hopes will go the way Ty goes, a frightening thought that gets a little less so with every passing game. Half of the games that the Kings play in the opening eight games are against teams that were in the playoffs last year, and of those eight, only the Heat are objectively worse than they were at the start of this season than last. The Kings first eight point guard match ups alone are as follows: Eric Bledsoe, Tony Parker, Ricky Rubio, Dennis Schroeder, Goran Dragic, Elfrid “We All Want Him, but Lets Just Say Stauskas for the Cameras” Payton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kyle Lowry. No small task for any guard in this league, but, for one dropped by the last three teams he’s been on? It’s daunting, to say the least. Ty will have to carry the level of success he’s been having into the regular season and past the eight games that Collison is gone if the Kings are hoping to have any shot of reaching the post season; a benchmark in which just about every member of the team has sited as their goal for the season.
After Brandon Ingram skips his lunchtime meal in favor of watching the elderly play slot machines, his body becomes so thin that when he jogs over to check into Thursday night’s game, he instead slips between the cracks of space and time and disappears into the Twilight Zone forever. D’Angelo Russell gets the news from doctors before tip-off that it isn’t ice in his veins, but tiny, frozen bricks and the fear of build-up in his arteries distracts him and leads him to shoot 3-21 from the field, and 0-15 in the second half.
Kings: 107, Lakers: 94