Lakers Vs. Kings Preview: Looking For First Win Against Division Foes In Pivotal Matchup
LeBron James, Lakers, Kings
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Western Conference is all about matchups and so far this season the Sacramento Kings have been a tough one for the Los Angeles Lakers. Now, the Lakers have one last chance to pick up a win against their division rivals who are just above them in the West standings.

There are a number of reasons the Lakers have struggled against the Kings this season, but chief among them has been Anthony Davis not getting it done. Domantas Sabonis has owned this matchup this season as Davis is averaging just 17.7 points and 12 rebounds on 43.2% shooting in three games against Sacramento. Meanwhile, Sabonis is averaging 19 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists against the Lakers and there is no way L.A. can be victorious if Davis continues to lose this matchup down low.

The Lakers actually got off to a strong start when these two teams met just a week ago, but the Kings used a massive 44-20 second quarter to take control. This was sparked by the Kings backcourt duo of De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, who combined for 70 points on that night.

Fox remains a player whom the Lakers have yet to figure out how to contain in any way while Monk is the favorite for Sixth Man of the Year and can get scorching hot at any time. The Lakers’ defense is what must carry them and they have to figure out a way to control these two explosive guards. Stopping them outright is basically impossible, but keeping them closer to 50 combined points, as opposed to 70, is a necessity.

What will help that is the Lakers’ backcourt putting pressure on them on the other side of the court. D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves combined to shoot just 9-of-25 against the Kings last week and that simply won’t cut it. Russell has become the spark plug for this Lakers offense and the team needs that boost from him to keep up with one of the league’s most explosive scoring squads.

LeBron James continues to just consistently produce and the Kings don’t really have an answer for him or Rui Hachimura, who added 29 points in the last game as well. But the Lakers need more bench production. A double-digit scoring night from Taurean Prince or Spencer Dinwiddie would be massive for the team.

This is a huge game for the Lakers as a win would move them closer to possibly being able to climb out of the Play-In Tournament while a loss practically seals their fate. The Kings have been a rough matchup, but perhaps they have figured something out to turn the tide in their favor in this final meeting.

Los Angeles Lakers (36-30) vs. Sacramento Kings (37-27)

7:00 p.m. PT, March 13, 2024
Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
TV: ESPN, Spectrum Sportsnet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Austin Reaves
SF: LeBron James
PF: Rui Hachimura
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, Jaxson Hayes, Max Christie

Projected Kings Starting Lineup:

PG: De’Aaron Fox
SG: Kevin Huerter
SF: Keegan Murray
PF: Harrison Barnes
C: Domantas Sabonis

Key Reserves: Malik Monk, Trey Lyles, Davion Mitchell, Chris Duarte

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