Game Preview: Sacramento Kings (0-1) vs Los Angeles Lakers (0-1)


Finally, something breaks in the Sacramento Kings’ favor. Sure, the Kings lost a close game to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. But now the Kings get to play the crappy Los Angeles team, in Sacramento.

That’s right, the Los Angeles Lakers are in town Friday night. The Lakers, like the Kings, are 0-1 after a close loss. Both teams will be hungry for their first win, and although it appears Sacramento is the better team nothing is given in the NBA.

So what will the Sacramento Kings need to do to win this game? There are three things that need to happen to ensure the Kings walk away with the W Friday, the most important of which is cleaning up mistakes.

The Kings had 16 turnovers, a whopping 27 personal fouls and shot just over 61 percent from the free throw line. Those three numbers indicate sloppy mistakes that need to be cleaned up before Sacramento can start bringing home some wins.

More from Kings News

Turnovers are pretty obviously bad, and while fouling in the right circumstances can be smart, 27 in a game is just too much. Free throws are free points, so giving them to the other team all the time generally doesn’t end well.

On the flip side, not making free throws usually results in equally poor results. Smart basketball involves taking high percentage shots, and a free throw is about the most efficient shot you can get. Missing 40 percent of them is just a waste of points.

The Kings will also need better guard play if they want to change their losing ways right away this season. Besides Darren Collison, who’s been fantastic for most of his time in a Sacramento Kings uniform, the Kings guards didn’t look good.

Oct 17, 2015; Lexington, KY, USA; Sacramento Kings guard guard Rajon Rondo (9) dribbles the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans

in the second half at Rupp Arena. Sacramento Kings defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 107-98. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Rajon Rondo, Ben McLemore and James Anderson combined for nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. They shot a combined 31 percent from the field, and 33 percent from beyond the arc.

It’s great that DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay can handle a lot of the load for the Kings, but clearly they need more help then they’re getting from Sacramento’s backcourt right now. One of either Rondo or McLemore will have to step up, or they’ll likely find Collison in one of their starting spots soon.

Finally, the Kings bench needs to work on their efficiency. It can be easy for a player to start chucking to try to make the most of their limited minutes, but right now it’s costing the team. Sacramento’s reserves shot under 40 percent from the field, and scored just 37 points in 106 minutes.

George Karl needs to be able to trust his bench, to ensure that Cousins and Gay can get some rest and not become fatigued over the course of a game–and a season. Right now, with the dependable Kosta Koufos in the starting lineup, there isn’t an efficient, reliable scorer coming off of the bench.

Marco Belinelli and Darren Collison have been good, but neither managed to shoot 50 percent from the field and they took a combined 24 shots to score just 22 points. It’s good that they know they have to score, but both guys really need to start taking less and making more shots in their bench roles.

If the Sacramento Kings can clean up their game for this Lakers game they should have a great chance of coming away with a win. Making the smart play, getting better results from the guard positions and having a more reliable bench will go a long way towards the Kings notching their first win of the season.

To find out if the Kings can correct their flaws in time, make sure to tune into the game Friday night at 7 PM on CSN. Or, even better, go to the game!

More from A Royal Pain

Next: The Sacramento Kings 10 Best Draft Picks