Of course, the Lakers have perhaps an even bigger disadvantage, as they are without superstar LeBron James, who strained his groin in a Christmas day blowout of the Golden State Warriors. James did not travel with the team today and is unlikely to play when these two teams face off again on Sunday in Los Angeles. This is a very important double header for the Kings and it is imperative they take care of business at home against a hobbling Lakers squad.
Let’s talk Kings basketball!
When: Thursday, December 27th, 7:00 PM PST
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
Tonight will be the first game all season that the Lakers will be without LeBron James, and they’ll also be without Rajon Rondo and Javale McGee as well, making this more of a matchup with last year’s Lakers squad. That team still managed to win 35 games in a competitive Western Conference and shouldn’t just be considered a pushover. Los Angeles has been a top 10 defensive team in the league this year, and they’ll have fresh legs tonight.
The most important thing the Kings can do tonight is to get off to a strong start and to not fall behind early. The Kings have faced 19 point deficits in their last five games in a row thanks to terrible starts. While they managed to rally for victories in two of those games, that’s untenable over the long run. The Kings need to come out and set the tone.
With McGee out, the Lakers will be relying on Ivica Zubac and Tyson Chandler. This is a matchup where Willie Cauley-Stein should take advantage. Of course, the question with Willie is always if he will show up or not. It’s unfortunate that the Kings remain without Marvin Bagley III, and in his absence maybe we see some increased minutes from Harry Giles.
Buddy Hield had one of his worst shooting performances of the year yesterday against the Clippers. In fact, he has yet to hit a three against the Clippers at all. He also didn’t have a great game earlier in the year against the Lakers. Hield is Sacramento’s most dangerous scorer, and they’ll need him and De’Aaron Fox to be firing on all cylinders tonight.
Kings 1,000,000 Lakers 0