For just the ninth game this season, it appears that the entire Big 3 is suiting up as the Los Angeles Lakers return home to face the Sacramento Kings.
L.A. just finished a five-game Eastern Conference road trip where they went 2-3. Hopefully, being back home and having a string of three easier games can give them some desperately needed momentum.
On another positive note, Austin Reaves makes his return to the lineup after missing the team’s last 10 games with a hamstring injury.
The Lakers face a Kings team in the middle of yet another tumultuous period in their franchise’s history. They have lost eight of their last 10 games and fired head coach — and former Lakers head coach — Luke Walton, replacing him with Alvin Gentry.
The Kings, as they’ve been for some time now, are among the league’s worst defenses, ranking 27th in that category. Time will tell if this was a coaching issue or a personnel issue.
Two of the Kings’ top producers — Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes — have been ruled out. Barnes is currently dealing with a right foot sprain while Holmes suffered a right eye contusion. It’s a massive blow to the Kings already lackluster defense to be without two of their best on that end.
With the Lakers getting Davis back after his one-game absence from flu-like symptoms, they should be able to bully the Kings in the paint with Holmes not playing. However, the focus for L.A. needs to be on their own defense, as the Kings offense has actually been above league average throughout the year.
Barnes and Holmes have been a major part of that, but De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton also deserve plenty of credit. The Kings rank fifth in percentage of points coming in the paint, an area the Lakers have really struggled to stop.
While the Lakers should be able to win this game with ease, they have yet to win easily this season regardless of the opponent. The Kings and Lakers are both strong where the other team is weak, and the winner will be whoever does a better job exposing weaknesses.
Winning convincingly would go a long way towards a momentum-builder, with the Detroit Pistons and Kings once again up next on the schedule.
Lakers (10-10) vs. Kings (7-12)
7:30 p.m. PT, Nov. 26, 2021
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: LeBron James
PF: Anthony Davis
C: DeAndre Jordan
Key Reserves: Carmelo Anthony, Talen Horton-Tucker, Wayne Ellington, Austin Reaves, Malik Monk, Dwight Howard
Projected Kings Starting Lineup:
PG: De’Aaron Fox
SG: Tyrese Haliburton
SF: Buddy Hield
PF: Maurice Harkless
C: Alex Len
Key Reserves: Davion Mitchell, Marvin Bagley, Damion Jones, Tristan Thompson
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