Preview: Kings, Lakers clash with playoff positioning on the line

Mar 13, 2024, 9:49 AM | Updated: 1:41 pm

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 29: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings drives to the basket a...

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Sacramento Kings have dominated the regular-season series against the Los Angeles Lakers this season (3-0), but that will not matter come Wednesday night.

Following their dominant win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, the Kings (37-27) pulled themselves within a half-game of the sixth and final NBA Playoff spot in the Western Conference standings with 18 games to go.

Lurking behind Sacramento in the mix for a top-six spot are the Los Angeles Lakers (36-30), who trail the Kings by just two games in the standings–a deficit that can be chopped in half with a win at Golden 1 Center on Wednesday.

Last week in Los Angeles, Sacramento overcame an early 19-point deficit en route to securing a 130-120 win over the Lakers in a game that saw the Kings completely take over near the end of the first quarter and never look back. The win put Sacramento in the driver’s seat regarding remaining ahead of Los Angeles in the standings, but the Lakers won’t go away.

Over their past 17 games, Los Angeles has a 12-5 record, and they have put themselves in position to make a late run at a top-six spot, but another loss to the Kings would only make things more difficult.

Can Sacramento secure its first 4-0 season series sweep of the Lakers since the 2015-16 season and increase its lead over Los Angeles to three games in the standings?

YouTube video

Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Lakers Game Info

When: 7:00 PM PST

Where: Golden 1 Center  – Sacramento, CA

TV: NBC Sports California, ESPN

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 5:30 PM on Game Night

Line: Lakers -2.5, O/U 238.5

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Lakers coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

Strategy Changes

The Kings will need to be ready to change their plan of attack on the fly during Wednesday’s action.

Sacramento changed the tone of last week’s in at Arena thanks to the consistent paint presence of De’Aaron Fox (16/23 shooting in the paint), who tied his career-high with 44 points during the comeback win.

Following their third loss to the Kings this season, Lakers forward Anthony Davis highlighted Sacramento’s ability to attack the paint and find the open man.

“We came out with all the energy on both ends of the floor, and then that second quarter dictated the game. Some of the things we were in defensively allowed De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk to get whatever they want, live in the paint,” Davis said. “If I go help, then [Domantas] Sabonis is wide open. So, they did a good job manipulating what we were doing.”

During their most recent win over Los Angeles, the Kings had a field day in the paint, outscoring the Lakers 76-50 on 38-of-56 (67%) efficiency.

If Los Angeles looks to clog the paint on Wednesday and force Sacramento to hurt them in other ways, all eyes will shift to the Kings’ three-point shooting, which has been a mixed bag over the past week.

Luckily for Sacramento, they are fresh off of an 18-for-40 (45%) showing against Milwaukee as they prepare to face a Lakers defense that has allowed opponents to shoot 37.3 percent from deep this season (21st in the NBA).

Sabonis vs. AD

Domantas Sabonis has never lost a head-to-head matchup against Anthony Davis during the two bigs’ NBA careers.

Sabonis holds a 9-0 record against Davis since the two first met during the 2016-17 season, including a 3-0 record this season as the Kings have gotten the best of Los Angeles thus far.

During last week’s action in Southern California, Sabonis posted a dominant triple-double that included 16 points, 20 rebounds, and 12 assists as Davis struggled to create offense on his end of the floor (14 points on 5/13 FG).

A motivated Davis will challenge Sabonis and a Kings team that will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back, but Sacramento’s big man has played well on no rest this season (10 games): 17.7 PTS | 12.6 REB | 7.9 AST | 58% FG

In his two games since dropping another loss to the Kings, Davis has been a force for the Lakers, averaging 24.5 points, 19.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 3.0 blocks per game on 50 percent shooting during wins over the Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Could Sacramento be coming into Davis’ sights at the wrong time, or will Sabonis continue his head-to-head dominance and improve to 10-0 vs. ‘The Brow?’

Fox Loves LA

De’Aaron Fox has enjoyed playing against the Lakers over the past two seasons:

  • 6-1 record
  • 32.6 PTS
  • 4.1 REB
  • 7.1 AST
  • 1.4 STL
  • 56% FG

Fox has scored 30+ points in five of his past seven meetings against Los Angeles, including two of three matchups this season. In his lone sub-30-point performance against the Lakers on November 15th, Fox scored 28 points during a 125-110 win at Arena.

If Fox continues to get downhill and in the paint against the Los Angeles defense, it could be another long night for the Lakers.

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When any of these things happen, it bodes well for a Sacramento Kings win:

Kings vs. Lakers Injury Report


Los Angeles

  • Anthony Davis – PROBABLE (bilateral Achilles tendinopathy)
  • LeBron James – QUESTIONABLE (left ankle peroneal tendinopathy)
  • Jarred Vanderbilt – OUT (right foot soreness)
  • Christian Wood – OUT (left knee effusion)
  • Cam Reddish – OUT (right ankle sprain)
  • Gabe Vincent  – OUT (left knee surgery)
  • Collin Castleton – OUT (right wrist fracture)

Upcoming Schedule

  • Wednesday, March 13th – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Lakers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, March 16th – Sacramento Kings vs. New York Knicks – 7:00 PM PST
  • Monday, March 18th – Sacramento Kings vs. Memphis Grizzlies – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, March 20th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 4:30 PM PST
  • Thursday, March 21st – Sacramento Kings @ Washington Wizards – 4:00 PM PST

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