The Sacramento Kings stay in California on Friday and head south to Los Angeles for a meeting against the Lakers. The Kings are coming off two very different games. They went from beating the Dallas Mavericks, 113-106, to getting embarrassed by the Utah Jazz in a 154-105 loss. The Jazz were on fire from the field, as they beat up on a hapless Kings’ defense for 154 points.
Utah scored over 40 points in the second quarter, and then did the same to open the third quarter. When you have a team coming off a hot quarter, they have a tendency to cool off and return to the mean. However, the Jazz just kept coming and coming with a barrage of shots.
It was such a 180 for a Kings’ defense that looked very strong against the Mavericks. Things changed in a hurry. Barring something crazy happening, the Kings will not be going to the play-in tournament. They are going into the Staples Center with a record of 25-37 and 5.5 games behind the Golden State.
Yeah, we can book the Kings into the offseason at this point. They head into this one with wins in three of their previous ten outings. The Kings got off to a decent enough start this season, but have struggled to keep up since around mid-February. The Kings went on a nine-game losing streak from February 9 to February 25. That derailed their playoff bid.
The Kings stabilized, and even went on a five-game winning streak in March, but they immediately turned around to lose their next nine games, which included a 115-94 loss against the LA Lakers on April 2. That was without Anthony Davis in the lineup. Note that Davis has since returned to the floor.
The Lakers are still awaiting the return of Lebron James. He is not expected back against the Kings, but is coming close. If the Lakers have a fresh Lebron for the playoffs, then they might be able to turn the energy on at the perfect time. The Lakers are currently fifth in the West with a record of 36-26, and will likely stay there. It’s going to be tough to catch the Denver Nuggets who are 5.5 games ahead for third in the conference. Head below for our free Kings vs. Lakers pick on April 30, 2021.
Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Lakers NBA Betting Odds:
Kings vs. Lakers Prediction:
The big positive for the Lakers when they didn’t have Anthony Davis and Lebron James on the court together, the defense still performed at a high level. That’s what has kept them afloat this year. The Lakers are second in the NBA with 106.4 points against per game. You would have thought, especially without AD on the floor clogging up the paint, that the Lakers’ defense would suffer. However, they did well in his absence, and now with him back, the Lakers can only get better.
The Lakers are coming off a 116-107 loss against the Washington Wizards in Washington on Wednesday. It wasn’t an ideal performance for the Lakers, but I think they overlooked a streaking Wizards team in the final game of their four-game road trip. Prior to the loss, the Lakers looked much better in a 114-103 win against the Orlando Magic. Davis scored 18 points and 8 rebounds in his third game back into the lineup. It took him a minute to shake off the rust, but he’s back in game form now. The Lakers will be glad to look at the injury report of the Kings and notice Harrison Barnes and De’Aaron Fox.
Barnes left on Monday against the Mavericks with adductor tightness and was not able to play against the Jazz. His presence would have surely been helpful. Along with Barnes, Fox is OUT due to health and safety protocol. He received the designation on April 23 and the initial report had him out for 10-14 days. Barnes has averaged 16.1 points 6.6 rebounds per game. He’s also shooting 49.7%, so his absence off the floor is certainly felt. De’Aaron Fox has recorded 25.2 points and 7.2 assists per game this season. Scoring hasn’t been a problem for the Kings this season, but their defensive woes persist.
The Kings are 30th in the NBA with 119.3 points against and a 49.3% field goal percentage on defense. They’ve allowed 127.2 points per game in their last five outings. Conversely, expect the Lakers’ defense to tighten up at home after the Wizards scored 116 points on them. I trust the Lakers more on a bounce-back spot than I do in the Kings. The Kings will keep this much closer than their loss against the Jazz, but a 118-106 or 117-103 loss still fails to get them a cover. I like the Lakers to pull away for a double-digit victory at the Staples Center.