The Sacramento Kings head into Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night looking to take the season series. Sacramento has won two straight overall and four of its last six as they finish the season strong.
Ben McLemore went off in the second half of the Kings 98-87 win over Mavericks on Tuesday. The fourth-year guard knocked down 5-of-5 from behind the arc, scoring 21 of his 22 points after the intermission.
Los Angeles is coming off back-to-back wins over the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs. It’s the first taste of winning for the Lakers in a while. After starting the season 10-10, Luke Walton and his young core are 13-45 over the last 58 games and they currently hold the third worst record in the NBA.
Lakers by 2
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Buddy Hield vs. Brandon Ingram -- Outside of an occasional defensive switch, these two players are unlikely to see much time against one another, but both rookies are playing well down the stretch. Hield has come on strong since the mid-season trade that sent him to Sacramento. The first-year shooting guard is posting 14.4 points and 4.0 rebounds while knocking down 43.3 percent from long range as a King. After a slow start to the season, Ingram is averaging 9.2 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 40.6 percent from the field. It’s a battle of two top six picks from the 2016 NBA Draft.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 31-47, third place in Pacific
Lakers: 23-55, fourth place in Pacific
Kings: Arron Afflalo (lower back strain) and Anthony Tolliver (right hip strain) are probable; Kosta Koufos (rest), Ty Lawson (rest) and Garrett Temple (rest) are out.
Lakers: G Jordan Clarkson (knee) probable, SF Brandon Ingram (knee) probable, G D’Angelo Russell (knee) questionable, C Ivica Zubac (ankle) out, SF Luol Deng (no injury) out, SG Nick Young (no injury) out, C Timofey Mozgov (no injury) out.
The Kings hold a 2-1 advantage in the season series and currently own a two game win streak over Los Angeles. The Lakers are up on the Kings 90-44 during the Sacramento-era and a 268-153 advantage all-time.
“Everybody is having fun with the way we’re playing right now. We’re playing unselfish basketball. Everybody is passing the ball, we’re really enjoying playing with each other and the environment is great.” -Georgios Papagiannis