Game Preview: Kings (11-15) vs. Lakers (8-18)


Before Thursday’s 108-107 loss to the Bucks, I wrote about how important I thought winning that game was. I meant what I said, and I think that is why the Kings performance in that game was so discouraging. A one-point loss makes that game look closer than it was. I thought the Kings got thoroughly outplayed for most of the night, and considering the Bucks injuries and the return of DeMarcus Cousins, that really shouldn’t have happened.

The Kings had an opportunity to face an undermanned eastern conference team at home on their second night of a back-to-back, and they blew it. To be more specific, the defense blew it. A defensive setback was my biggest fear after hearing about the Michael Malone firing. We’ll need more time to evaluate the post-Malone Kings defense before we make a concrete conclusion, but early results aren’t positive.

I should also note that the Kings only scored 6 fast break points on Thursday (the Bucks had 18). They aren’t playing any faster under Tyrone Corbin, yet.

You can read our postgame coverage from that game here and here.

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Is taking a step back in 2023-24 inevitable for the Sacramento Kings?
Is taking a step back in 2023-24 inevitable for the Sacramento Kings? /

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  • It’s Sunday. The Kings have an early home game against an extremely beatable Los Angeles Lakers team. This is another game the Kings should win if we are supposed to believe any of the basketball competence the Kings showed earlier in the season was legitimate.

    The Lakers are an odd team. They are bad by any metric, but they are sort of different than your run-of-the-mill bad basketball team. Of course, most of their offensive “production” comes out of Kobe Bryant, and I use production in quotations because he has been incredibly inefficient this season. You know Kobe Bryant. Like me, you’ve been watching him for his entire career. He is still a player to be feared, but unlike on previous Laker teams, he’s really all they’ve got. He’s older, and as I mentioned, inefficient. The Kings can surrender a big game to Bryant and still walk away with a win, and that hasn’t always been the case.

    The Lakers are last in the league in defensive rating. They surrender more points per game than any other team in the NBA, and because I follow the Kings, even the Lakers defensive ineptitude scares me.

    The Kings should have a relatively easy time scoring against this Lakers team. They really don’t have anyone with the size or strength to defend Cousins inside, and that is a matchup the Kings should go to as often as they possibly can. The Kings haven’t shown an ability to consistently utilize advantageous matchups, though, which is why I think it’s just as likely the Kings get into a scoring contest with the Lakers and abandon their defensive principles like they did against the Bucks Thursday night. If they try and outscore the Lakers in a display of defensive incompetence, this game could go either way.

    As I’m writing this, I’m realizing just how much confidence I’ve lost in this team over the past couple of weeks. I don’t think I would have been as worried about this game at the end of November, but here we are. What a shame.

    I think a big reason why this team is so unpredictable right now is because we don’t know how much outside distraction is effective their play on the court. These guys are all on twitter. They are reading Bill Simmons hint at Mark Jackson as the next head coach. They are reading Adrian Wojnarowski write about a potential trade the Kings and Nets are working on that would send Darren Collison, Jason Thompson, and Derrick Williams to the Nets for Deron Williams and Mason Plumlee. How can I possibly predict how this sort of news is affecting the team? I can’t.

    Maybe the Kings will come out flat and distracted. Maybe they will come out angry and motivated. I have no idea what this team has in store for us tonight, but I’m excited to watch it, as always.

    Check back in to A Royal Pain after tonight’s game for our postgame coverage.