After a sluggish start to Sunday night's game against the Jazz gave way to a furious comeback and an eventually disappointing finish, the Sacramento Kings find themselves yet again looking for a way to fight the fatigue and disappointment that has set in. What an absolutely fantastic time to play the Los Angeles Lakers! Tuesday night's game in Los Angeles will be unlike the previous games for the Kings as Lakers coach Byron Scott has finally decided to let his young ones out of the dog house once and for all; and they've responded in force. Both D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle will look for a repeat performance of their 27 point comeback against Sacramento in Kobe Bryant's final game at Sleep Train Arena and will now look to keep the Sacramento Kings from sweeping the series against Los Angeles for the first time in their history. The game can be seen on CSN-CA, can be heard on KHTK 1140 and begins at 7:30pm. Let's talk Kings basketball!
A Few Things to Consider:
Youth Movements: With neither team in the playoff hunt, both the Kings and Lakers have moved into the point in the year where they start opening up time for rookies and bench players to evaluate the level of talent they possess. Asset management and player development is the name of the game and the final 15 or so games of the season will see players who struggled with time earlier on in the season get a lot more, while veterans may tend to be rested as to save themselves from serious injury or fatigue. For the Kings, George Karl has already flat out said that the rest of the season will be showcasing Seth Curry and Willie Cauley-Stein in a big way. For the Los Angeles Lakers, the biggest benefactor of the end-of-season minutes dump is rookie point guard, D'Angelo Russell. Russell has started 11 of the last 17 games for the Lakers, all seven in March, and has seen his minutes increase from 25 a game in January to over 32 minutes a game in March. Russell has responded by putting up averages of 21-3-4 over this month, with 5 games over 20 points including games of 39 points and 27 points. With the post season out of reach, look for each team to lean on their youth, and in the case of Los Angeles, look for rookie point guard D'Angelo Russell to come out with a Byron Scott chip on his shoulder.
Is Anybody Home?: As this season grinds to its merciful end, the Sacramento Kings are losers of five games in a row and nine of their last ten. Everyone from George Karl to Omri Casspi to Rudy Gay has acknowledged that mental fatigue has set in, and its easy to see from the way the Kings have played the last five games. In their last 20 quarters of play, the Kings have held teams to under 25 points in only 5 of those, while giving up at least 30 points in seven of those quarters. The Kings have been a terrible defensive team all season, and now without the slimmest of playoff incentives, things could seemingly get even worse.
Roy Hibbert is Slow: There's nothing really to put here. No analysis, no insight other than the title. The guy is a bizzaro world Flash villian, who was struck by a glacier and cursed with his atoms being permanently stuck in a quantum ground state. "My name is Roy Hibbert and I am the Slowest Man Alive".
Odds and Ends:
Tuesday night's game sees the boys in the nicer shade of purple taking on former Sacramento King, Metta World Peace. The game is also the last time that the Sacramento Kings will ever take on a Los Angeles Lakers team that features Kobe Bryant on the roster.
As previously mentioned, a win in Tuesday night's game would mark the very first time the Sacramento Kings ever swept a season series against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Prediction: Roy Hibbert's slowness drags the rest of his team into the realm known as the "SlowForce" and the Lakers are forced to pick fans out of the stands to finish the game. Jack Nicholson starts the second half at point guard and scores 17. Kings win; Sacramento 115, Los Angeles 107.