Kings fall hard in the “Big Easy” as Pels pull out a last-second 121-118 win

NO starting 5
Kings starting five in New Orleans Photo @SacramentoKings

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings are now on the verge of mathematical elimination from playoff contention after losing to the Pelicans in New Orleans 121-118 on Thursday night. The Kings chances of making the playoffs were remote, but now, they are non-existent.

The Kings are just 14-23 on the road after the loss in New Orleans. That really is not surprising for a young team like Sacramento. Learning to win on the road in the NBA is one of the most difficult lessons to learn for a young team.

The biggest lead in this game was nine points by the Pelicans. The game was tied 13 times and the lead changed between the teams 15 times. This was the very essence of what is defined as a “close game”.

Julius Randle put a driving layup through the basket for the Pelicans with 8.7-seconds to go in the game to give New Orleans a 121-118 lead.

Buddy Hield took a potential game-tying 3-point shot from 28 feet away from the basket with 4.0-seconds remaining on the clock. Unfortunately for the Kings, the shot was not good and the Kings would lose by three points.

The loss dropped the Kings record to 37-38 on the year with seven games to play on the schedule. The Pelicans are now 32-45 for the season.

Key Performers in the Game

NO Kosta
Koufos drives on Randle Photo @NBCS

Kings

  • Buddy Hield – the Pels former first-round draft pick – was Sacramento’s leading scorer with 27 points. He shot 11-for-21 from the floor but went just 1-for-8 from 3-point range.
  • De’Aaron Fox recorded a double-double by scoring 25 points and dishing out 12 assists. Fox hit 11-of-22 his shots from the field. He also grabbed five rebounds, made three steals, and had one blocked shot.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein also put a double-double in the book by scoring 18 points and hauling in 12 rebounds. WCS who has struggled at the charity stripe went 4-for-4 at the free throw line on Thursday night.
  • Bogdon Bogdanovic scored 14 points in just over 18 minutes of playing time.
  • Marvin Bagley III and Harrison Barnes each scored 10 points.
  • The Kings were outscored in the paint 74-64.
  • The Pelicans won the battle of 2nd chance points 14-9.

New Orleans

  • Julius Randle was the leading scorer in the contest with 34 points. He hit 12-of-24 shots from the floor and went a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. Randle made it a double-double game by pulling down 10 rebounds.
  • Christian Wood came off the bench and scored 25 points in just over 27 minutes on the floor. He sank 11 of his 16 shots.
  • Elfrid Payton put 16 points up on the board shooting 50-percent from the floor (7/14). He also recorded nine rebounds.
  • Anthony Davis did not play due to “lower back spasms”.

Up Next

The Kings traveled to Houston after the game and will take on the Rockets on Saturday night.

The Pelicans will host the “hapless” LA Lakers on Sunday.

Cardiac Kings do it again with a fourth quarter, come-from-behind 122-117 win over the Pelicans

pels giles
Harry Giles III tips the ball back into the basket Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings won their second consecutive come from behind in the fourth quarter game on Sunday night as they defeated Anthony “the Brow” Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans 122-117. The Kings trailed the Pelicans by as many as 19 points in the contest, and frankly, it did not appear that the home team would have enough momentum to overcome the New Orleans lead.

The Kings had trouble putting the ball in the basket right from the beginning of the game. At one point in the first quarter, Sacramento was shooting just 25-percent from the field while New Orleans was hitting more than 50-percent of their shots. The Pels dominated the paint and were converting high percentage shots. The Kings were not taking bad shots, but their shots were not dropping.

The Kings shooting improved in the second quarter (48.1-percent) and they were able to match the Pelicans point for point. Each team scored 33 points in the second period. Buddy Hield led the scoring attack for SAC with nine points. New Orleans was paced by Jrue Holiday who hit 7-of-9 shots for 14 points.

At the half, New Orleans held a 69-58 lead over Sacramento.

The third quarter was dominated by a former Wildcat and Sooner. New Orleans center Anthony Davis scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds for his team as they scored 27 points in the period. Buddy Hield led the charge for Sacramento scoring 11 points in the third. He went for 4-for-4 shooting (3-for-3 from 3-point land). The Kings won the quarter 28-27. At the end of 36 minutes, the Pelicans held a 96-86 lead over the Kings.

pels jump ball
Koufos and Miller jump ball in 4th quarter Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

The Kings went on a comeback run that saw them outscore the Pelicans 36-21 in the final quarter. Sacramento was paced by De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic who each scored nine points in the period. Buddy Hield stayed hot as he recorded eight points. Willie Cauley-Stein hauled in nine of his career-high 17 rebounds in the final 12-minutes. The Kings went on a mission in the final quarter and they were not going to be denied. When the final buzzer sounded, the Kings (18-15) had defeated the Pelicans (15-19) 122-117.

Willie Cauley-Stein had a monster game

The Kings center played just over 35-minutes in his team’s victory. He scored 22 points and made it a double-double as he pulled down a career-high 17 (four offensive) rebounds. WCS shot 10-for-19 from the floor and went 2-for-4 from behind the 3-point line. The big man also made three steals in the game.

 

 

 

 

De’Aaron Fox posted a double-double

The Kings versatile point guard made it a double-double game in the win over the Pelicans on Sunday night. He scored 19 points and dished out 11 assists. Fox also added two steals. He did all of this while still nursing a sore shoulder injured in the game on Friday with Memphis.

“Buddy Buckets” was amazing again

Buddy Hield was the leading scorer in the game on Sunday. He put 28 points in the book in 36-plus minutes of playing time. Hield shot 11-for-16 from the field and hit 6-of-11 from behind the 3-point arc. He also pulled in six rebounds.

pels buddy
Buddy Hield lets it fly from 3-point land Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

Bogi comes up Big

Bogdan Bogdanovic is finding his legs and really getting into the flow of the game. On Sunday afternoon, he scored 24 points shooting 7-for-16 from the floor. Bogdanovic hit 2-of-5 from long range and converted 8-of-9 from the charity stripe. He also dished out seven dimes.

pels bogi
Bogi sinks one from the free throw line Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

Coach Joerger summarizes the game

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pelicans numbers

Pels logo

  • Leading scorer Jrue Holiday with 27 points, seven rebounds, and six assists
  • Anthony Davis scored 26 points pulled down 17 rebounds (double-double) plus four assists and four blocked shots
  • Julius Randle put up 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds

The Pelicans were extremely frustrated after the loss to the Kings. Giving up a 19 point lead and losing by five points will make you walk the aisle of the plane all the way back to the “Big Easy” out of frustration.

Up next

The Kings next game will be on Wednesday, December 26 at the Staples Center versus the Los Angeles Clippers. The Kings lost to the Clippers at the Golden 1 Center on November 29, 133-121.

The Pelicans next game will be in Dallas on December 26. New Orleans beat the Mavs on December 5th, 132-105.

Kings squeak past the Lakers 84-83 Sunday night at Staples

Buddy vs Lakers
Kings leading scorer Buddy Hield to the hoop Photo: @SacramentoKings

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The odds were against the Kings on Sunday night in Los Angeles. Sacramento had played at home on Saturday and lost to the World Champion Golden State Warriors. The chances of winning the second game of a back-to-back set on the road drop significantly in “the Association”.

Evidently, the Kings did not read any of the oddsmaker’s sites before the game because they played like they were favorites to win the game on Sunday and win they did.

With the game tied at 80 all with 39.6-seconds remaining in the game, Buddy Hield stole the ball from Caldwell-Pope. Hield finished off the fastbreak opportunity with a dunk that gave the Kings an 82-80 lead.

On the next possession, Bogdanovic made another steal when the Lakers Alex made a bad pass. The Kings set up the offense and De’Aaron Fox drove the lane putting up a seven-foot floating jump shot that gave Sacramento a four-point lead. The Lakers called an immediate timeout stopping the clock with 9.7-seconds remaining to play.

Out of the timeout, Caldwell-Pope missed a 23-foot 3-point attempt that was rebounded by Josh Hart. The ball was passed to Brooke Lopez who hit a 26-foot jumper to cut the Kings lead to just one point. Lopez immediately committed a foul to stop the clock with two-tenths of a second to go in the game but the Lakers would never regain possession.

The Kings won the game 84-83.

Top Performances

Kings (25-53)

  • In what seems to an every game occurrence, Buddy Hield was the Kings leading scorer with 19 points. Hield shot 8-for-15 overall and hit 3-of-5 from downtown. He also collected four steals in the game.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 15 points by sinking 6-of-7 shots from the field. He was a perfect 2-for-2 from 3-point land.
  • De’Aaron Fox worked his way through a tough shooting night to score 14 points. He went 6-for-18 shooting (0-for-3 3-PT) but wound up hitting the winning bucket. Fox also led the Kings with six assists.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein recorded 11 points in less than 20-minutes on the floor. He hit 5-of-8 shots and grabbed seven rebounds. Cauley-Stein also dished out four assists.

Lakers (33-43)

Randle vs Kings
Julius Randle scored 19 points vs Kings Photo: @Lakers
  • Julius Randle led the way for Lakers against the Kings by scoring 19 points. He shot 5-for-8 from the floor and hit 9-of-14 chances from the free throw line.
  • It took 13 shots for Caldwell-Pope to score 16 points which is not the kind of ratio a coach is looking for from a starter. He went 0-6 from behind the 3-point arc.
  • Kyle Kuzma – (WARNING: EDITORIAL OPINION) the best rookie on the Lakers roster – posted 13 points hitting 5-of-16 shots from the floor and converting 3-of-9 chances from downtown. Kuzma played 39-minutes in the game.

Up Next

Sacramento

The Kings second stop this final road trip of the season will be in Phoenix on Tuesday night. This will a battle of Draft Lottery Teams. The Suns lost to the Warriors on Easter Sunday 117-107 and have now lost 15 games in a row.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers will travel to Salt Lake City to face the playoff-bound Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.

If the 2018 NBA Draft would be held today

Bamba
Possible Kings draft pick Mohamed Bamba of Texas Photo: @TexasMBB

Who would the Kings draft is they had to select today? According to Tankathon. com, Sacramento would have the number six selection and they would use it to take Freshman center Mohamed Bamba out of Texas. Bamba is a 7-footer who weighs 216 pounds. He will be 20 years old at the time of the draft.

Bamba played in 30 games averaging 12.9 points per game and 10.5 rebounds a game. He averaged blocking 3.6 shots per game. Bamba his known for being an excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor as well as an excellent shot blocker. He is also a strong defender against the 3-point shot.

Kings fall in Los Angeles to the Lakers 99-86

Photo credit: @SacramentoKings

By Jordan Chapin

On a Tuesday night in the Staples Center, the Sacramento Kings loss a roller coaster game to the Los Angeles Lakers, 99-86. In a always anticipated Fox vs. Ball match up, it was pretty even, Fox shot 6-for-16 from the field with 15 points, three assists, and one rebound, while Ball struggled from the field shooting 2-for-10, but had 11 assists and 11 rebounds. Tonight the Lakers channeled their inner “showtime,” and frankly ran the Kings out of the building, scoring 35 points via fast break.

The Kings put themselves in a hole quick, as the Lakers went on a 17-0 run and went up 24-6 only five minutes into the game. Despite being down early, the Kings led by Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Aaron Fox who had 10 of his 15 points in the first quarter came surging back with a run of their own, cutting the Lakers lead to just 31-27 at the end of the first quarter.

Sacramento trailed only 53-52 going into halftime, but frustration began to kick in when the Kings came out on the floor for the second half. The outside shooting of Brook Lopez and the inside presence of Julius Randle was too much for Sacramento to handle. Despite Los Angeles turning the ball over 25 times, the Kings shot a minuscule 34% from the field and never gave themselves a chance to get back in the game scoring only 12 points in the fourth quarter.

The Sacramento Kings will try their luck on Thursday with the other team from “La La Land”, the Los Angeles Clippers, who continue to battle with injuries to key players such as Blake Griffin and Patrick Beverly. With the first half of the season winding down, the Kings and Lakers now sit with the same record of 13-27.

Sacramento Kings:
Star of the Game: Bogdan Bogdanovic

Bogy

Tying his career high with 19 points, Bogdanovic was key in keeping the Kings in the game for as long as they did. Bogey shot 7-for-13 from the field with 4 assists and 2 rebounds. Despite one of his most efficient games of the year, it wasn’t enough to slow down a speedy Lakers team.

Kings’ Key Stats:
Forced 25 turnover and had 15 assists

Shot 34% from the field and 38% from 3 point land

Went to the free throw line 27 times, only made 18 of 27 shots

Kosta Koufas: 15 rebounds, one away from career high

Vintage Vince Carter Dunkage: 1

Los Angeles Lakers:
Star of the Game: Julius Randle

Randle was the most dominant player on the floor tonight with 22 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. Bringing energy off the bench, Randle opened up the floor for his teammates tonight with a heavy presence down low and reckless abandon to the rim.

Key Stats:
Shot 48% from the field and 34% from 3-point land, despite shooting 35 shots behind the arc.

30 assists as a team, 11 of which came from Lonzo Ball

Went to the line 21 times, made only 13 of 21

Two players with a double-double

35 points scored from fast breaks

No chicken dinner for Kings in Vegas as they lose to Lakers 75-69

carter vs lakers
Vince Carter directs traffic in the Kings — Lakers game in Las Vegas Photo USA Today Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The third preseason game of the year for the Kings was a premiere matchup between Pacific Division rivals. The Kings and the Lakers are both very young teams that are trying reestablish themselves as legitimate playoff contenders in the NBA Western Conference.

Frankly, neither of these teams will be playing a game after the end of the regular season in April. That being said — both the Lakers and Kings are going to be much more entertaining to watch in 2017-18 than they were last season with the players they acquired in the draft and in free agency.

The game on Sunday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas was not a “beautiful game”, but it was an entertaining game. The Lakers established a big lead in the first quarter and then the Kings fought their way back into the game in the second period.

The Kings actually took the lead in game in third quarter behind 22-9 run but they would not be able to hold on to that lead in final quarter of the game. When the final buzzer sounded, the Lakers had held on to record their first win of the preseason 75-69 over the Kings before a decidedly pro-Laker crowd in “Sin City”.

There were really no losers on Sunday night in Las Vegas

Magic talks to crowd Lakers
Magic Johnson spoke to the fans in Las Vegas before the game on Sunday Photo USA Today Sports

Both the Kings and Lakers donated their proceeds from the game on Sunday night to victims and first-responders of the mass shooting that happened last Sunday in Las Vegas. The donations will go to the MGM Grand Foundation who will administer the distribution of the proceeds.

This was a very nice gesture on the part of both teams.

The Ball vs Fox matchup did not happen again

The summer league rematch between Lonzo Ball and De’Aaron Fox did happen due to an injury reported by Ball. That brought out many comments about Ball not wanting to be embarrassed by Fox the way he was in the UCLA — Kentucky matchup.

On Sunday, it was announced that Ball would not be available due to an ankle problem. Fox would not have been able to play in the second-half due to a lower back bruise suffered in the first-half of the game.

Do not worry. The big face off is going to happen during the regular season and it will be worth the wait.

Neither team had impressive stats in the game

Kings

Sacramento shot 25-for-80 (31.2-percent) from the floor. They connected on just 7-of-25 (28.0-percent) for 3-point attempts. Those are not the kind of shooting numbers that will win games in the regular season. Sacramento went 12-for-16 (75.0-percent) from the free throw line. The percentage was fine but the number of attempts was too low.

Sacramento grabbed 37 rebounds (5 offensive). They recorded 15 assists and 12 turnovers which is not an acceptable ratio. The Lakers scored 10 points off the Kings 12 turnovers.

Lakers

Los Angeles shot 41.4-percent (29-for-70) from the field. The Lakers hit just 6-of-24 (25.0-percent) from beyond the 3-point line. They were 11-for-15 (73.3-percent) from the charity stripe.

The Lakers hauled in 49 rebounds (2 offensive). They recorded 21 assists and 20 turnovers which is not acceptable to any coach. The Kings scored 18 points off the Lakers 20 turnovers.

Team Leaders

Sacramento

Z-bo vs Lakers
Zach Randolph was a team leader for the Kings on Sunday night Photo USA Today Sports

Zach Randolph led the Kings scoring attack with 16 points. Z-Bo was 7-for-15 shooting. Garrett Temple put up 12 points while Vince Carter added nine. Bogdan Bogdanovic, George Hill and Buddy Hield each added seven points in the game.

George Hill was the Kings top rebounder with eight. Kosta Koufos grabbed seven.

The Kings used just 11 players in the rotation on Sunday night.

LAK

Kuzma Lakers
Rookie Kuzma was a star for the Lakers on Sunday Photo USA Today Sports

Julius Randle posted a double-double by putting up 17 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Rookie Kyle Kuzma dropped in 15 points. Many observers feel that Kuzma could be a bigger story than Ball this season but remember this is just the preseason. Brook Lopez scored 12 while Jordan Clarkson added 10 points.

Kuzma also pulled down eight rebounds.

Alex Caruso led the Lakers in assists with four and Kuzma had three.

Interesting stat of the game

When you look at the stats, you know this was not a great field goal shooting game. It really became an “old style” NBA battle in the paint contest. Sacramento scored 24 points in the paint (12-for-28) while the Lakers scored 40 points in the key (20-for-34).

Up next

The Kings (1-2) will be back in action on Monday night in Sacramento when they will host the Portland Trail Blazers (2-1). Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Youth was served in Sacramento: Lakers surprise Kings 101-91

 

lat-lakers-kings-wre0044530517-20161110Photo Credit: Rich Pedrocelli AP Photo

by Charlie O. Mallonee

This should have been a Kings win

All of the prognosticators predicted that the Kings would beat the Lakers in Sacramento on Thursday night. FiveThirtyEight.com said the Kings had a 70-percent chance of winning the game on their home court. The Kings had won two consecutive games playing strong defense in both games. The win on Sunday in Toronto was one of the best wins the Kings had experienced in some time.

Momentum did seem to be on the side of the Kings. Not only were they playing well but their opponent was a young team that in the opinion of most has been playing  above their heads most of the season. Everyone expected new head coach Luke Walton to make a difference with the Lakers. No one expected him to make this much of a difference.

The game the Kings (4-6) should have won they lost 101-91 to upstart Los Angeles Lakers (5-4).

The Kings were in control in the first half

Sacramento came out the gate on fire. The Kings hit on 4-of-7 three -point opportunities. DeMarcus Cousins scored 10 points while Rudy Gay added six. The team outscored the Lakers 30-16 in the first quarter and Sacramento looked to be in full control of the game.

In the second quarter, the Kings extended their lead to 19 and appeared ready to turn the nationally televised contest into a “laugher”. The problem for the Kings was the Lakers forgot to rollover and play dead. Los Angeles stepped up and shot 61.1-percent (11-for-18) from the floor and outscored the Sacramento 29-25 in the period behind the solid play of Julius Randle and Lou Williams scoring punch coming off the bench.

At the half, the Kings held a 10-point lead over the Lakers 55-45.

In the third quarter things just got weird 

The Lakers came out of halftime and played with determination. They kept chipping away at the Kings lead cutting it to as little as five points before the Kings opened it back up to a 10 point lead again, but the Lakers went on a 7-0 run to tighten up the game. When the horn sounded to end the third period, Los Angeles trailed the Kings by just three points, 73-70.

Now here comes the weird part. I glanced over to the stats monitor and looked at the line for DeMarcus Cousins and it showed he had 18 points in the game. I then looked again and checked my notes. Everything was correct. Cousins had spent 10 minutes on the floor, shot 0-for-4 from the field and had scored zero points. A struggling team like the Kings cannot have its number one scorer held scoreless for entire quarter and expect to win a game.

Everything just fell apart in the fourth quarter

The Lakers sensed that victory was theirs if they attacked hard right from the beginning of the fourth quarter and attack they did. Lou Williams led the way scoring 13 points in period. The Lakers outscored the Kings 31-18 in the final quarter even with Cousins returning to form and putting up 10 points.

The Lakers shot 62.5-percent (10-for-16) from the floor in the fourth quarter. The went 9-for-11 from free throw line. LA out-rebounded Sacramento 14-9 in the last period.

The Kings shot just 22.7-percent (5-for-22) from the field in the fourth. The went 2-for-8 from beyond the 3-point arc. The Kings were just unable to find a final burst of energy to will themselves back into the game.

Take me to your leader

The Lakers had five players (four starters) finish scoring in double figures. Lou Williams was their leading scorers with 21 points. Julius Randle was their top rebounder with eight. Randle and Clarkson tied for the lead in assist with five each.

DeMarcus Cousins finished with 28 points and nine rebounds to lead the Kings in both categories. Darren Collison led the team with nine assists.

Luke Walton on why the Lakers defense improved in the second half

“We competed. The first half, we give them credit, they were making shots, but we were letting them swing the ball side-to-side. It happens every time we play defense like that. It happened in the Dallas game. We let people get comfortable at this level, they’re going to make shots. In the second half, I felt like we did a much better job of being physical, not letting them move the ball freely, making plays, being aggressive and that’s when we’re at our best.”

Kings head coach Dave Joerger’s views on the game

“Well tonight was a tough night. I thought it was a good first half. We didn’t finish as strong as we needed to. We had a chance to keep the lead at 14-15 and didn’t go into the locker room feeling great at halftime.”

“We did a lot of positive things in the first half. Second half we didn’t make any shots. Our defense was just on the run the whole night and they made shots. I think at the end of the day it came down to who made the shots.”

“I thought we got a ton of looks. Rudy (Gay), DeMarcus (Cousins) – everybody played hard. They had some tougher nights offensively and we’ve got to be able to find some scoring from other places on nights that sometimes the ball goes in, sometimes it doesn’t.

What’s up next on the schedule

The Kings will have no time to lick their wounds and reflect on this loss as they must jump back into action on Friday night in Portland against the Trail Blazers (5-4) for the second game of a back-to-back, home and on-the-road schedule.

The Lakers head to New Orleans where they will play the 1-8 Pelicans on Saturday night.

Game Preview: Kings vs the Lakers tonight 11/10/16 in Sacramento

 

slamsonby Charlie O. Mallonee

TRIVIA QUESTIONJames Harden leads the NBA in assists (12.3 apg) and ranks fourth in scoring (31.5 ppg). Who is the only player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring and assists in a single season?

Los Angeles Lakers

This is not Kobe’s Lakers team

This is the actually “the team” Mitch Kupchak  has been trying to put together for the past three seasons. No longer are the Lakers centered around an aging “star” who would not accept a reduced role for the betterment of the team.

D’Angelo Russell – the number two-overall draft pick in 2015 – is leading the team in scoring with an average of 15.4 points per game. Third-year forward Julius Randle out of Kentucky is beginning to be an impact player in the starting line up averaging 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He has two double-doubles so far this season. Guard Jordan Clarkson is adding 15.1 points per start for LA. The “youngsters” are starting to make their mark on the team.

New coach – new attitude

Luke Walton is in his first year as head coach of the Lakers. He was the “hottest” coaching prospect on the market during the off-season after the job he did filling in for Steve Kerr at Golden State. Walton is the eighth person to have played for and coach the Lakers. He is also the youngest head coach in the NBA at 36 years old.

Lakers come into the game tonight with 4-4 record

The Lakers have won three of their last four games. They are coming off a 109-97 loss at home to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night. It was the first time LA had not scored at least 100 points in their last five games. They also suffered a defensive lapse as Dallas shot 52.4-percent from the field.

The Lakers biggest win of the season came on November 4 when they downed the Golden State Warriors 117-97 on national television.

One of the most improved teams

The Lakers are considered by some to be one the most improved teams in “the association”.

Sacramento Kings

Trying to keep the winning streak alive

After winning big in in Toronto last Sunday to close out the road trip and handling the winless Pelicans at home on Tuesday night, the Kings are anxious to up their winning streak to three in-a-row.

DeMarcus Cousins is still leading the way on offense for the Kings with 25.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. He scored 28 against the Pels. Rudy Gay continues to be hot averaging 22.4 points per game. Darren Collison will play in his second game since returning from suspension and should have some significant impact on the second unit against the Lakers.

Defense is the key

The key to the back-to-back victories for the Kings has been holding their opponent to under 100 points. They are still averaging giving up 101.9 points per game which is too high but is coming down from the 102.5 that is was at the beginning of the road trip.

The Lakers have scored 108 points or more in each of their four wins.

Going for the sweep

The Kings swept the Lakers in the four-game series last season for the first time in their history. Sacramento would like to send a message in this game that they have every intention of repeating that feat again this season.

The Kings have won seven games in-a-row against the Lakers and five in-a-row in Sacramento.

Tough back-to-back

The Kings host the Lakers in Sacramento tonight and then have to travel to Portland to play the always tough Trail Blazers on Friday night. They face a reduced chance to win on the road because of the back-to-back scenario in Portland.

For entertainment purposes only

FiveThirtyEight.com using their CARM-elo system gives the Kings a 70-percent chance of winning tonight’s game with the Lakers. They say take the Kings minus 5.5 points.

Some of the other well-known entertainment sites also have the Kings as the favorites at minus 5.5 points with an over/under of 209 to 209.5.

Nationally televised game

Tonight’s game is being televised across the nation by TNT. That means their is no local play-by-play cable coverage on Comcast California.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Nate Archibald of the Kansas City-Omaha Kings led the NBA in scoring (34.0 ppg) and assists (11.4 apg) in 1972-73.