The Los Angeles Lakers head north to Sacramento for a Friday night date with the Kings. This is the first of a lengthy road trip for the Lakers. They will be on the road for the next seven games. Well, kind of, as they take on the Clippers at the Staples Center on Sunday. The Clippers will be represented as the home team.
Following that matchup, the Lakers won’t be back at the Staples Center until April 15 against the Boston Celtics. This is a test for a team that is without Lebron James and Anthony Davis. Lebron is going to be out for at least 3-4 more weeks. The calf injury continues to linger for AD, and his timetable for a return isn’t completely clear either. The healthy Lakers must attempt to keep this team above water before they sink too far in the West.
They’re tied with the Denver Nuggets with a record of 30-18 for fourth. Expect the Nuggets to pull ahead of the Lakers, with the sixth-place Trail Blazers only a half game behind the Nuggets and Lakers. With the Nuggets and Blazers both likely bypassing the Lakers soon, that puts the Lakers in 7th. When the Lakers are healthy with Lebron and AD, they have the talent to beat anyone in the West.
Their road to repeating as NBA champs is going to be a lot more difficult this season, though. They may not have home court advantage even in the first-round this year. It’s far from an impossible undertaking for Lebron and company, but the supporting cast has to do their part and give this team a lift while they await the return of Lebron and AD.
That hasn’t exactly been the case so far. Beating the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic doesn’t count. Okay, it counts in the win column, but barely getting away with a 96-93 win against the Magic at home was ugly. Following that win on Sunday, they failed to keep up with the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. The Bucks pull away to win and cover with a 112-97 win at the Staples Center. After beating the Hornets on March 18, the only wins have been against the Cavs and Magic.
A win over the Kings would be a step up in class. The Kings have been playing solid basketball recently, with wins in five of their previous six games. They were unable to complete the two-game sweep of the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, but it was a nice stretch, and they’re winners in seven of their last nine games to move up to 22-26 on the season. Head below for our free Lakers vs. Kings pick on April 2, 2021.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings NBA Betting Odds:
Lakers vs. Kings Prediction:
You have to give the Lakers some credit for playing hard defensively. Despite the absence of Lebron and Anthony Davis, the defense is still attacking and playing hard. It’s a good thing because no one has been getting into a rhythm offensively recently. Even with Lebron on the floor, his supporting cast was finding it tough to provide him with some clutch shooting. The Lakers are 21st in the league with 110.4 points scored per game. They did score easily on the Kings last month despite no Lebron and AD, so we’ll see if they can again.
Their shooting percentage is more than respectable at 47.8%, but that’s thanks to the combo of Lebron and AD. Through their last five games, the Lakers have recorded just 101 points per game. Since March 20 in their last seven games, they’ve scored more than 110 points in only one performance. The Lakers scored an average of 96.5 points per game in those contests. Having said that, they should benefit from playing a Kings team that struggles defensively.
The Lakers and Kings met on March 3, with Lebron and AD absent from the floor. However, the Lakers still managed to dice this weak Kings’ defense up for 120 points in a 123-120 loss. Dennis Schroder put in 28 points, while Kyle Kuzma had a big night with 25 points. The Kings had no answers down low for Montrezl Harrell, as he bullied his way in the paint for 26 points of his own.
Sacramento is 29th in the NBA with 118.5 points against per game, and 30th with teams shooting 48.8% against them. They’re also the worst team in the league at defending the three, with a conversion rate of 39.1% for the opposition. If there’s any game for the Lakers’ offense to feel alive for a change, this has to be it against the Kings. They did it a month ago, and likely hit some shots tonight. What the Kings do well is push the tempo and score points.
They’re sixth in the NBA with 115 points per game and a 48.4% field goal percentage. In their last five outings, the Kings have racked up 117.8 points per game. They should be able to dictate the pace like they did last month in their 123-120 win. Whether their defense does enough is questionable, though. They’ve been smacked for 119.3 points per game at home this season. The Lakers have been an UNDER machine lately, and I’ve been on a couple of those, but I think this game plays out differently in Sacramento.