Lakers vs. Kings Pre-Game Report: The Debut of Dwight Howard?

The Lakers will be donning their Sunday whites when they return to Staples tonight. The team has yet to log a win during the preseason, so hopefully that will change tonight when they face off against the Kings in a rematch of Friday night’s game. In other news, Dwight Howard is expected to suit up for the first time as a Laker. It’ll be exciting to see Howard in a Lakers uniform and see how he fits in with Nash, Kobe and Gasol. We may also get the first glimpses of how Mike Brown plans to run the Princeton offense with the starting unit. Without further adieu, let’s dive in and examine tonight’s match-up.

Frontcourt: On Friday night, Cousins had his way in the paint with 18 points and 10 boards. He was too much to handle for the rookie Robert Sacre. However, with Howard in the Lakers’ lineup things will be different. While Cousins may have a slight size advantage, Howard is significantly quicker and more athletic. It’ll be interesting to see how far Howard has come along in his recovery; Cousins will be a legitimate test for D12. The Kings have a trio of young forwards with Johnson, Thompson and rookie Robinson. Johnson is the most developed player of the bunch who can get it done on both ends of the floor. Thompson has the prototypical power forward body but has remained a work in progress for the past four seasons. The first round draft pick, Robinson, has an incredible motor and is hoping to contribute immediately.

Backcourt: The Kings scored a coup in signing the talented point guard Aaron Brooks. In 2009, Brooks averaged 19.6 points and 5.3 points. If he can near that production this year, then the Kings backcourt could be very potent. He will probably split time with the speedy Isaiah Thomas who outperformed expectations in last season in his rookie campaign.

The sharpshooting Marcus Thornton looks to be the leading scorer for the Kings; he averaged 2.1 treys last season on 34.5 percent shooting. Former rookie of the year, Tyreke Evans will be relegated to the three spot or potentially the bench if he doesn’t show marked improvement this year. He came off the bench against the Lakers and scored fourteen points, but he also had five turnovers.

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Key to Lakers’ Victory:


D12 Integration: I’m sure all of Lakers Nation is eager to see how Dwight Howard will fit in with this squad. One would expect that his game will fit perfectly with Steve Nash. But it remains to be seen how Howard will integrate with Gasol. With four stars on the floor, will there be enough ball to go around? The Lakers have been Kobe Bryant’s team for the past eight years and he’s typically dominated the ball.

Will Kobe be comfortable playing off the ball this year? On paper, the Lakers’ starting lineup is one of the best in the league, but will they live up to expectations? We’ll get a glimpse tonight at how these four superstars will work together.

Bench Contribution: Ebanks was stellar on Friday night with twenty points, scoring four treys and grabbing six boards. Hopefully he can build confidence off of that performance and keep contributing in a similar manner. Jamison and Meeks have continued to struggle. On Friday night they were a combined 3-11 shooting. Meeks missed all of his three point attempts which is very disconcerting since the Lakers front office believed he could be the solution to the Lakers’ shooting woes. To be fair, Jamison had a decent all around game since he did collect seven rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block. However, one would’ve expected more production in 31 minutes of playing time.

Sacramento Kings (3-1) at Los Angeles Lakers (0-5)
6:30 PM PST, October 21, 2012
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC Sports Network
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Kings Projected Starting Line-up

PG: Isaiah Thomas SG: Marcus Thornton SF: Tyreke Evans PF: Jason Thompson C: DeMarcus Cousins

Key Reserves: PG Aaron Brooks, PF Thomas Robinson, F James Johnson

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In case you missed it: Kobe talks A-Rod, growing up in a family of “a-holes.”
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