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Game Preview: Sacramento Kings

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The Los Angeles Lakers met the Sacramento Kings for the first time this season just six days ago.  The Kings played the Lakers tough, and looked ready to win the game in overtime before the Lakers stormed back to tie the game and force another OT, during which the Lakers pulled away for a 9 point victory.

Since the teams played each other so recently, there isn't a whole lot to talk about.  The Lakers won the last game without playing very well, it was their first game with Ron Artest, and the 2nd night of a back to back.  Sacramento plays great at home and poorly on the road.  Tyreke Evans is (probably) out with a sprained ankle.  The game is at Staples Center, and the Lakers haven't played since Tuesday.

To put it simply, for the first game between these two teams, just under a week ago, Sacramento had all the advantages in their favor, and couldn't quite get it done.  With all the advantages in the Lakers' favor this time (not to mention the sour taste that is probably still in their mouths from a poor stretch of play recently, it's hard to imagine the Lakers managing to lose this one.

Then again, it is the Kings, and the Kings always seem to give L.A. trouble.  And, without Ron Artest, the Lakers defense has been struggling mightily.  Artest is a great defender, but his loss alone should not be enough to turn the Lakers from the best defensive team in the league to a really bad one.  I think the reason for the stunning defensive drop-off is that the Lakers are not really a deep team.  And without Artest, that depth takes a bigger hit.  Combine lack of depth with 4 games in 5 nights, and it explains pretty well why the Lakers defensive intensity has been lacking the past few games.

We'll see tonight.  The Lakers should be well rested, so if the defense continues to struggle, against a young team that is on the road and without it's two best players (remember, Kevin Martin has been out since forever), there will be no more ways to dress it up, and we will know that Artest is the beating heart of our defense.

Tip is at 7:30, and if you have Time Warner Cable, you might want to consider finding a sports bar or someone with satellite.  Enjoy.

 

Team

Lakers

Kings

Record
25-6 (1) 14-17 (18)
Offensive Rating
107.8(12) 108.7 (10)
Defensive Rating
100.6 (3) 110.3 (28)
Pace
94.9 (6) 94.4 (7)