The Los Angeles Lakers were able to dispatch the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night without Anthony Davis. The status of the star power forward is still up in the air as the Lakers prepare to face the Sacramento Kings.
It’s hard to believe that the peak of this rivalry was nearly 20 years ago. Still, there is a lot of Laker influence in the franchise. Shaquille O’Neal figuratively owned the Kings in the early 00s and now he’s a literal minority owner in the franchise. Vlade Divac was a part of the Lakers in the early 90s. Of course, we can’t forget Luke Walton, who was the head coach for the purple and gold the past few seasons. Walton will be making his first return to Staples Center as an opposing coach since being fired by the Lakers last offseason.
Head to head, the Lakers have 275 wins compared to the Kings’ 156 in the regular season. Interesting enough, the two teams have split the season series the past three seasons.
The Kings are led by Buddy Hield in the scoring department with 18.3 points per game (37.8% from three). They are one of the better outside shooting teams ranking seventh overall. Sacramento relies heavily on the outside attack as 36.9% of their total scoring comes from beyond the arc. The Kings employ pretty good shooters in Bojan Bogdanovic, Trevor Ariza, and the aforementioned Hield.
However, they are 21st in overall field goal percentage at 44.4% while the Lakers are first at 47.8%.
The Lakers are ranked first overall in defensive rating (99.5) after their win against the Warriors. The Kings currently sit at 24th (111.0).
Unfortunately, we will not be seeing a full Kings team. Their injury report is pretty extensive as Ariza and Dewayne Dedmon are questionable. Marvin Bagley and De’Aaron Fox are both out with their respective injuries.
The Lakers are not free of the injury bug as well. Davis and Avery Bradley are both probable, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is questionable with an ankle injury suffered on Wednesday.
Still, this is a team that the Lakers should be able to play well against. With or without his second star, LeBron James still is the only king there. He will be matching up against his old coach who we know he wasn’t fond of. If that isn’t some added motivation, I don’t know what is.
LeBron has been on a tear this season. He leads the league in assists (11.1) and is the only player averaging double digits in that category. It will be interesting to see how he’ll do against a Laker rival.