December 12, 2016, 9:13 am
Following a tough loss against a shorthanded Utah Jazz team, the Sacramento Kings head back to the Golden 1 Center for a game against the rival Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers were able to take the first game of this season series back in November, but the team has cooled off following their hot start to the year.
Without much success to this point in the season, the Sacramento Kings will need to start stringing together a few wins if they plan to make any noise in the Western Conference. The team has gotten better on defense throughout the season, but the improvement on that end of the floor has come with steps backward offensively. Sacramento will need to find contributors beyond DeMarcus Cousins sooner rather than later.
Here are some notes heading into the matchup:
- Ben McLemore has been moved back into the rotation over the past few games, and the results have been mixed. The young shooting guard has provided some much needed youth and athleticism, two things that the rest of the roster certainly lacks, but McLemore has been uncharacteristically bad with his shot. Last game saw him miss three of his four free throw attempts, and all three of his three point shots. Sacramento will need him to shake off the rust quickly and start providing some spacing for the offense.
- The Lakers have cooled off recently, losing their last six games and failing to build on some early season success. Part of the issue has been injuries to key players like Julius Randle, Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell, and all three players have since returned. Either way, the Lakers have proven that they can put together some very good performances when healthy, so the Kings will need to be mindful of that and maintain their focus.
Los Angeles is the type of opponent that Sacramento needs to beat at this point in the season, but with an 8-15 record this team cannot be considered a lock to win any game. It’s not too late for the Kings to turn this season around, but wins are going to need to come soon.