Well, wouldn’t you know it, but the Kings are looking to go streaking! With wins against the Raptors and Pelicans, the Kings are poised to go on a win streak, and draw their record even at 5-5, with a win on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. While the Lakers are incredibly young, they are also dangerously talented and under the direction of first year head coach Luke Walton, have already found themselves not only beating teams like the Warriors, but also just plain playing competitive each and every game. With the next few games coming against the leagues best, the Kings do not want to underestimate this team. Let’s talk Kings basketball.
When: November 10th, 7:30pm PST
Where: Golden 1 Center, TNT, KHTK Sports 1140.
A Few Things to Consider:
Breaking Down the Lakers: Currently sitting at 4-4, the Los Angeles Lakers have started to surprise people with their continued success and while some may scoff at the idea that Luke Walton might be having them play far better than they should be, look at the teams they beat: Houston Rockets by six, Atlanta Hawks by six, Golden State Warriors by twenty, and the Phoenix Suns by eleven. Even in the games that they’ve lost, they’ve seemed to stay in each of them far longer than they should have. So what does that say about Thursday night’s game against the Kings? Well, let’s first take a look at what’s been going right for them.
The Los Angeles Lakers are a team built completely around their offense right now, and at fourth in the league in points per game at 108.6 per game, as well as third in the league in pace, the young legs of this Los Angeles squad are looking to get out and run. Currently sitting at sixth in the league in field goal percentage, the Lakers are a team that is surprisingly inept from behind the arc. While being 8th in three point attempts, they’re 22nd in percentage, shooting 32.4% from deep on the season. This is where the youth of the team is a bit exposed. A team filled with gunners, Luke Walton has seemingly given them the green light and the Kings would do well to keep those shooters out of their rhythm, or run the risk of letting a team too young to know when to stop, get hot from their favorite line on the court. Their offense from inside the arc is much more efficient, where they are fifth in the league in two point field goal percentage at 52.5% a game. Also watch to see how Los Angeles handles the ball this game, as they’re 28th in the league in turnovers, where they cough the ball up nearly 18 times a contest.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Lakers are still very much a team developing under a new head coach. The Lakers allow teams to shoot over 47% from the field against them, second worst percentage in the league, but get this; they’re currently the best team in the NBA at opponents three point percentage, where teams shoot only 29% against them from behind the arc. Now stop for a second and reconcile those two stats in your head. They allow teams to shoot the second highest field goal percentage against them, but the Lakers themselves are also the best in the league at opponents three point percentage. OH MY GOODNESS. They allow teams to shoot over 55% from inside the arc! The Los Angeles Lakers basically help you score if you decide to not take threes against them and well, wouldn’t you know it, the Kings best player happens to be a center.
Iceberg, right ahead: As fans of a team that has been generally terrible for a decade, we tend to be starving for success at any juncture. Any modicum of progress is accepted and anticipated and quite frankly, can sting that much worse when Sacramento falls on its face yet again. Last year, the Kings were one game under .500 and actually sitting in the 8th seed for a brief period of time, before the wheels exploded off of the wagon. The start of this year saw the hype around the team expand and contract in spectacular and speedy fashion and so I’ll issue a warning here. The Kings may get to .500 tonight. The Kings will, in fact, be on a three game win streak in that case, the tendency will be to celebrate all over again. Feel free to do so, but in the off chance that you’re hoping the Kings will really start flexing their muscle and decide to start their climb to a playoff spot, well, just don’t turn the TV on again till like November 27th, because the next six games could very well be a bloodbath. The next six games are: Trailblazers in Portland on Friday and then Spurs, Clippers, Raptors, Thunder and Rockets all in Sacramento. The positives are there. None of these games are back to back, save for Friday’s game in Portland! Most of them are at home and that old Arco Thunder has inspired worse teams to greater victories. Just, please temper those expectations a little. This stretch of games will say a lot about the team’s chances in a brutal Western Conference and if you find yourself wondering how you could have ever thought this team was, well, what ever you thought it was, don’t say I didn’t try warning you.
Prediction: Boogie shows up, and puts up 25 in the first half against the young Lakers squad. Los Angeles area internet service goes down, as millions of armchair GM’s head for the Trade Machine. In the second half, DeMarcus scores another 25, hitting 4 threes in the process, and the greater Los Angeles area spontaneously combusts. The Lakers will get hot, make a game of it and end up losing by less than 12, to which a million Lakers fans will exclaim at once: “Dude. DeMarcus isn’t even that good.”.
Kings 111, Lakers 104