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Lakers vs. Kings Preview: Seeking redemption

While looking to avenge their triple-overtime loss against them on Friday, the Lakers will also be looking to win two games in a row for the first time in nearly three weeks when facing the Kings on Tuesday.

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Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers have been alternating between wins and losses over the past week, most recently beating the Detroit Pistons by a narrow 110-106 margin. They lost in the game preceding Sunday’s win, doing so in depressing fashion as they went through three overtimes only to lose 141-137 to the Sacramento Kings. It was only the third game for new interim coach Alvin Gentry, who was appointed to the position after the team fired our old buddy Luke Walton. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they were also without two starters in Richaun Holmes and Harrison Barnes.

And after playing the Pistons twice in a week’s span, the Lakers will now again turn their sights towards the Kings for the second time in only four days. It not only represents an opportunity to right the wrongs of their efforts from just a few days ago, but it also represents an opportunity for the team to win two games in a row for the first time since November 10th. On that day, the Lakers shocked the Heat by beating them 120-117 without LeBron James, extending their record to 7-5 at the time (they’re 4-6 since then).

The game on Tuesday could be an opportunity to get the Lakers back on track, especially coming off the Lakers’ Big Three had arguably their best collective game of the season against the Pistons on Sunday.

Now, please temper your excitement... this isn’t the first time we set the stage for the team to “get back on track”, “turn a corner”, or whatever redemptive catch-phrase you could think of. However, the added motivation to avenge their previous loss against the Kings may be the x-factor in finally getting this team over the hump.

Distraught over the Kings

It seems as if the Lakers were just as mad as their fans after the embarrassing triple-overtime defeat on Friday marked another game that could easily be deemed “the worst loss of the season”.

“That Sac game kind of lingered with us for a couple days, giving that game away,” Anthony Davis said after Sunday’s win. “But we do see them in a couple days on Tuesday, so we can get that payback.”

LeBron James confirmed Davis’ comments that the team was not happy about the loss against the Kings on Friday. Also, it should be noted that LeBron did not randomly pick up the tamed vernacular of an elementary school teacher. He is almost certainly leaving out the word “hell” in response to the NBA’s warning given to him after using the word “bullshit” to describe his one-game suspension from the Isaiah Stewart incident.

“We was mad as heck the other night after that Sac loss,” James said after the team’s Sunday win over the Pistons. “We made it a point to come in today very focused on the game plan and learning from our mistakes, and then we got better.”

This sounds like the two leaders of a team that are ready to come out and kick some Kings ass err, I mean, butt. However, we’ve heard the Lakers talk the talk after many wins in the past few weeks, only to fail at walking the walk in their next game against a team that is obviously inferior to them in terms of talent.

“We should play with that type of aggression every time we’re on the floor,” head coach Frank Vogel said after Sunday’s win if the team had any extra fire for this Kings game given the recent embarrassment. “We want to be a team that takes pride in that, and whether we won two games ago or lost two games ago doesn’t really matter. We’re going up to Sacramento to get a W.”

It’s really starting to feel like we’re all Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, forced to deal with this pattern from the team over, and over, and over. However, that feeling could dissipate quickly if the Lakers do finally start to play with that type of game-to-game urgency, starting with a W in Sacramento.

Notes and Updates:

  • Trevor Ariza and Kendrick Nunn will remain out for Tuesday’s game. However, Ariza did talk to the media on Monday, with Vogel saying that “he’s getting closer” to his season debut despite not having a concrete timetable yet.
  • Avery Bradley is a new addition to the injury report, coming in questionable with right hand soreness. LeBron James is also listed as questionable, but he has ended up playing every time he’s been listed as such since returning from the injury.
  • The Kings have not yet released their injury report. Richaun Holmes (non-COVID illness) and Harrison Barnes (right foot sprain) missed their most recent game on Sunday against the Grizzlies, with Maurice Harkless joining them on the bench with left knee soreness.
  • Around the league, our old pals the Phoenix Suns just won’t stop winning, as they’ve now won 16 in a row. However, they might have their toughest test yet of the streak as they will be facing the team tied for the second-longest current winning streak in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors (tied with the Bucks). The Suns (17-3) could leapfrog the Warriors (18-2) into first place in the Western Conference with a win on Tuesday.

The Lakers and Kings will tip-off at 7 p.m. PT on Tuesday, with the game being televised locally on Spectrum SportsNet.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Donny on Twitter at @donny_mchenry.