Lets break down this Lakers vs Kings preview for their match on Wednesday, January 12th at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. This is the 4th time the Lakers have played the Kings this season. The Kings beat the Lakers in OT the first time, but have lost the last 2 without pressuring the 2019 NBA Champs. Sacramento have lost their last 4 games and are struggling with their shooting. De’Aaron Fox is hitting 25% from three and the team aren’t able to come up with points from Buddy Hield or Tyrese Haliburton.
Covid Strikes Kings’ Centers
The Kings will have 2 of their best centers out due to Covid health and safety protocols. Damian Jones and Richaun Holmes will both be absent, making the Lakers even stronger in the paint. Anthony Davis is still tending to a sprained MCL, but the Lakers have been able to lean on the veterans Dwight Howard and Lebron James at center. Lebron James has been a revelation at the position, leading the Lakers in steals at 2 per game and getting 1 block per game on top of that. He’s proving that he’s still the King even at 37 years old.
Russ the Wildcard
Russell Westbrook has been the wildcard in the Lakers’ games this year. When he plays under control and doesn’t turn the ball over, he leads the Lakers in +/- and gets around 8 assists per game. He runs the floor, adds pace to the game, and takes the playmaking pressure off of Lebron. With Russ leading the way, Lebron can focus on scoring, fast-breaks, and setting up his shooters. He doesn’t have to expend as much energy on driving from the top of the arc every play and the Lakers look more balanced.
Can the Kings Win?
The Kings need to start hot from beyond the arc if they want to have a chance in this game. Drawing the Lakers out to make space in the paint is the only way they will have a chance. Expect the Lakers to get ahead by 20 or so, and end up winning by 15. If Russ has another 9 turnover game it could get close, but the Kings are lacking depth and don’t have enough points in them to keep up with a Lakers team who’s finding their defensive stride.
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