The Los Angeles Lakers have the chance to get their revenge when they travel to take on the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
The Kings dealt the Lakers an embarrassing loss just last Friday, beating them after a triple-overtime thriller even though they were down three starters: Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes, and — for the majority of the clash — Maurice Harkless.
Los Angeles put on one of the worst defensive performances of the season that night, ending up with a defensive rating of 113.7. De’Aaron Fox happily took advantage of the Lakers’ vulnerabilities, scoring a game-high 34 points.
The Kings are still understaffed when they host the Lakers this time as Barnes and Harkless have been ruled out, as has Marvin Bagley III. Nevertheless, the Lakers will need to play with much more effort to avoid another calamity on the defensive end.
The Kings are the most dangerous when they taste blood, registering the second-highest offensive rating when they win games (119.3) in the NBA. In addition, they score the fourth-most points in the paint per game (49.6). Meanwhile, the Lakers give up the second-most points in the paint so far this season — 49.9 to be precise, behind… the Kings with 51.9.
As the battle under the basket will be a major factor in determining the winner, head coach Frank Vogel is likely to stick with the lineup featuring DeAndre Jordan at the five. Just like in recent games, Vogel can then move Anthony Davis and into the center position for parts of the clash as the night goes on.
Unfortunately though, the Lakers are without LeBron James after the star entered the league’s health and safety protocols. They’re also without Avery Bradley, who is dealing with a sprained thumb.
Austin Reaves and Talen Horton-Tucker could replace James and Bradley in the starting lineup. Vogel values Bradley’s defense and energy, which goes to reason that Reaves will see significant minutes in his absence.
In small-ball units, Russell Westbrook will have to double down on attacking the basket and crashing the board. The Kings allow the most second-chance points in the NBA (16.1 per game), a weakness the Lakers are well-equipped to benefit from with Westbrook on the floor.
The Kings don’t shoot the ball particularly well from the 3-point land. But they have one of the NBA’s most dangerous sharpshooters in their ranks, Buddy Hield. Meanwhile, Fox and Tyrese Halliburton can hit threes, too.
They surely watched the Detroit Pistons wiping off the Lakers’ double-digit lead with an outpouring of threes on Sunday and will try to utilize a similar strategy. L.A. needs to make sure their perimeter defense doesn’t offer their rivals a helping hand this time around.
One more time this season, the Lakers felt their victory over the Pistons could finally launch a winning streak and turn the season around. They will certainly hope the Kings don’t put those hopes to bed yet again.
Lakers (11-11) vs. Kings (8-13)
7:00 p.m. PT, Nov. 30, 2021
Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Talen Horton-Tucker
SF: Austin Reaves
PF: Anthony Davis
C: DeAndre Jordan
Key Reserves: Carmelo Anthony, Malik Monk, Dwight Howard, Wayne Ellington
Projected Kings Starting Lineup:
PG: De’Aaron Fox
SG: Tyrese Haliburton
SF: Terence Davis
PF: Richaun Holmes
C: Alex Len
Key Reserves: Buddy Hield, Alex Len, Davion Mitchell, Tristan Thompson
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