Los Angeles Lakers - Sacramento Kings Preview

After a disheartening loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on opening night, the Los Angeles Lakers will head to the State’s capital to face off against the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings hosted another Los Angeles team on opening, losing to the Clippers, 111-104, in an entertaining battle that saw DeMarcus Cousins and Blake Griffin go head to head.

Cousins led the Kings with 32 points and 13 rebounds and even displayed his outside touch by knocking down four three-pointers, a new aspect to his game. Despite Cousins’ strong effort, his team was unable to rally back.

Rajon Rondo was rather disappointing in his Kings debut, scoring four points, dishing four assists, and corralling seven rebounds on 2 of 8 shooting in 25 minutes. His reserve, Darren Collison, was far more impressive, notching 13 points and six assists.

The Lakers dropped their first game to the Timberwolves after leading most of the way and even owning a 16-point lead early in the second quarter. Their downfall came in the fourth period where they shot 5 of 24 from the field for 16 points.

The Lakers were torched by Ricky Rubio, who recorded a career-high 28 points to go along with 14 assists. Although the Lakers’ rebounding was superb, as they out-rebounded the Wolves, 51-39, it wasn’t enough to secure a victory.

Kobe Bryant officially made his return from a shoulder injury he suffered last season and put in 24 points but shot an abysmal 8 of 24 from the floor.

Los Angeles’ bench was amusing in the first half, led by Lou Williams and Nick Young as the two combined for 35 of the 42 bench points. However, the bench was ineffective late in the second half when the Timberwolves were making their comeback.  

Brandon Bass, who is expected to be a key figure off Los Angeles’ bench, was tremendously quiet, scoring two points and nabbing six boards in his debut on 1 of 4 shooting. The Lakers will need better effort out of Bass against the Kings, especially since they are going to be on the road.

For Wednesday night’s game, Byron Scott instructed Jordan Clarkson to run the point while D’Angelo Russell, who struggled in his NBA debut, played the off guard position. In this game against the Kings, Russell is expected to play more point guard while Clarkson will be the shooting guard. Perhaps Russell could find his niche playing his natural position.

Last season, the Kings took the season series between these two teams, three games to one, with the Lakers’ only win coming on December 9, a game which Bryant scored 32 points to lead his team to a narrow three-point victory. This year, the two foes also met in the preseason at Las Vegas where the Kings came out on top, 107-100.

Both teams will meet four times this season, as Friday night’s contest will take place in Sacramento at the Sleep Train Arena at 10 pm Eastern Time.