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Lakers vs. Kings Preview: Zero margin for error

The Lakers need a win against the Kings.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Update: Lakers star LeBron James could return tonight against the Kings, according the latest reports.

Original story follows.

The Los Angeles Lakers knew how important their last two games were; Anthony Davis even went as far as to say they were “must-win” games on Saturday. But those words and feelings didn’t have any impact on their performance against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, at least not in a positive way.

Now, every game is a must-win for the Lakers, because they only have a one-game advantage over the No. 6 seed Dallas Mavericks. That’s not to mention the Portland Trail Blazers, who are only just behind the Mavericks.

The Lakers have the talent to finish the season strong, even with LeBron James out of the equation, but their talent hasn’t been enough for them as of late. Their loss to the Wizards on Wednesday marked their fourth loss in five games. Their three previous losses were to the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz.

Obviously the Lakers are going to lose games sometimes, but defeats like Wednesday’s are ones they can’t afford with where they are in the standings. The same can be said about their upcoming matchup with the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

The Kings are in the midst of one of the worst defensive seasons in NBA history. Through 62 games, the Kings have allowed teams to score 118.3 points per 100 possessions. On Wednesday, when they played the Jazz, they gave up 154 points. It was their eighth time giving up at least 130 points this season.

The Lakers’ offense hasn’t exactly been fluid with LeBron James sidelined, but they should be able to score against the Kings. Defensively, it shouldn’t even be a contest. Basically, if the Lakers’ struggles continue against the Kings, then it might be time to give up on the prospect of them competing without James and just start waiting for him to come back.

The good news? At least it appears he will do so soon. Even if it’s unlikely to be in time to face the Kings.

Notes and Updates

  • LeBron James will still be out for this one, as will Jared Dudley
  • Alex Caruso is questionable with back spasms for the second game in a row
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (right ankle sprain), Anthony Davis (right calf strain), Marc Gasol (volar plate fracture, left pinkie finger) and Dennis Schröder (left calf soreness) are all probable.
  • That injury report means we’ll likely get one more look at the Davis/Andre Drummond frontcourt sans James, a duo that both Davis himself and head coach Frank Vogel are excited about the potential of, despite the rough first returns.

The Lakers and Kings will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast locally on Spectrum SportsNet, and nationally on NBA TV.

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

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