The Los Angeles Lakers have a chance to put the nail in the coffin of another team’s playoff hope and snap their own five-game losing streak when they take on the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings currently sit 5.5 games out of the playoffs with 10 games to go in the schedule, meaning they’re technically still in the race. However, that pretty much means they have to win out with the Spurs going 4-5 or worse in their final nine.
If the Lakers beat the Kings, their odds go from slim to almost impossible. With the playoffs officially out of reach, the Lakers should be getting even more cautious with injuries.
As such, Josh Hart was ruled out for the game with knee tendinitis, and head coach Luke Walton said they’re looking over all the options in regard to Hart’s knee.
LeBron James also has a couple injuries of his own to deal with. He’s probable against the Kings due to a left knee contusion he suffered while slipping and falling on a drive to the basket in the loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
The contusion coupled with the groin injury should be enough to keep him out for the season, but that will be a conversation between James, Walton and the medical staff.
While the Lakers have reiterated their commitment to winning despite being officially eliminated, their final 10 games are extremely difficult.
The Lakers currently hold the 10th spot in the Draft Lottery. This gives them a 13.9 percent chance at a top-four pick and a three percent chance at No. 1 overall.
However, they sit just 2.5 games back of the Memphis Grizzlies who hold the sixth spot in the lottery. If the Lakers manage to climb to sixth, their chance at a top-four pick skyrockets to 34.8 percent, with their chances at No. 1 becoming 8.3 percent.
If they are to shut down James and Hart for the rest of the season, it’s certainly a possibility that they could lose out to a very tough schedule and find themselves in the sixth spot in the lottery. However, they may find the motivation to play spoiler to the Kings, especially if James decides he’s good to go.
Los Angeles Lakers(31-41) vs. Sacramento Kings (36-36)
6:30 P.M. PT, Mar. 24, 2019
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Reggie Bullock
SF: LeBron James
PF: Kyle Kuzma
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Johnathan Williams, Moe Wagner
Projected Kings Starting Lineup:
PG: De’Aaron Fox
SG: Buddy Hield
SF: Harrison Barnes
PF: Nemanja Bjelica
C: Willie Cauley-Stein
Key Reserves: Bogdan Bogdanovich, Marvin Bagley, Kosta Koufos, Corey Brewer