The (9-9) Los Angeles Lakers are in the sixth-largest city in California, the state capital to face the (4-12) Sacramento Kings at the Sleep Train Arena. The Lakers won the season series 3-1 in 2012-13. The purple and gold have won the season series every year since the 2005-06 season. The Lakers used a total team effort to beat the Kings 100-86 on November 24th behind Pau Gasol's 20 points and 10 rebounds, Xavier Henry's 21 points off the bench, Steve Blake's 12-assists & nine points.
The purple and gold were able to take advantage of the Kings terrible transition defense and outscore the Kings 20-10 in fast break points. The Kings have lost their last five games. Although in their last three games the Kings gave three contenders (Clippers, Thunder & Warriors) all they could handle, losing by a combined eight points.
Between the first game of the four game series and the second the Kings pulled off a trade sending defensive specialist and former UCLA Bruin Luc Mbah a Moute to Timberwolves for former La Mirada High, University of Arizona Wildcat star and second overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft Derrick Williams. Williams was playing fewer than 15-minutes per game this season for Minnesota.
At 6' 8" 240 lbs. the Timberwolves played Williams at both forward spots, but settling on playing him at Power Forward before coming to the realization that Kevin Love is a better player. Williams humbled by his lack of playing time, maintained a good attitude and realized that Kevin Love was not only a better player than him, but someone he could learn from.
The change of scenery and second chance are good for Willams giving him the opportunity to play. Williams brings the Kings, a team overloaded at the power forward position (Carl Landry, Jason Thompson and Patrick Patterson) much-needed athleticism and front court scoring. The ball is Williams' court now he will have to step up his game dramatically on the defensive end playing the small forward position.
The Lakers bench production will be greatly effected by the loss of Jordan Farmer; the former Bruin was averaging 9.2 points, 4.4 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 19 minutes in 18 games this season. The injury leaves head coach Mike D'Antoni with only one true point guard.
The basketball world is awaiting the return of Kobe Bryant on Sunday December 8th after a 25 game absence, when he returns to game action look for the "black mamba" at the point. The Lakers have played well lately, winning five of seven behind some impressive three-point shooting and balanced scoring.
The Kings are 26th in overall defense and are second-worst in the league at defending the three. The Lakers need excellent ball movement and solid player movement to attack the Kings defensive weaknesses. The Lakers need to get the ball to Pau Gasol in the post and he needs to attack the Kings makeshift lineup especially with Demarcus Cousins out of the lineup.
Lakers: S. Blake, J. Meeks, W. Johnson, J. Hill, P.Gasol
Kings: G. Vasquez, B. McLemore, D. Williams, J. Thompson, C. Hayes
Tip-off: 7:00 PM PST
• Los Angeles: TWC SN (Bill Macdonald & Stu Lantz)
• Sacramento: Comcast Sportsnet (Grant Napear & Jerry Reynolds)
• Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
• Sacramento: KHTK Sports 1140 AM (Gary Gerould)
• Kobe Bryant (Torn Achilles) Out
• Steve Nash (Nerve Root Irritation)
• Jordan Farmar (Tear in Left Hamstring) Out
• Pau Gasol (Sprained Right Ankle) Day-to-Day
• Jordan Hill (Sprained Left Ankle) Day-to-Day
• Demarcus Cousins (Sprained Ankle) Out
Jeff Little is the host of "The Locker Room" a daily sports talk radio show based out of Los Angeles 6-8 pm PST www.sportsjourney.com Follow on twitter @JeffLittle32, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+