Preview & Chat: The Sacramento Kings

Kurt —  December 9, 2008

Records: Lakers 17-2 (1st in West) Kings 5-16 (12th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.9 (3rd in league) Kings 103.7 (21st in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 100.2 (3rd in league) Kings 112.9 (29th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radmanovic, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Kings Beno Udrih, John Salmons, Francisco Garcia, Spencer Hawes, Brad Miller

Lakers notes: Mike Trudell rocks. If you are not reading his work at the official Lakers blog, you need to click that link and do it.

Today’s Lakers note is courtesy him, comparing Andrew Bynum performance pre and post his foot injury.

Pre-Injury: Oct. 28 to Nov. 26:
Games: 13
Minutes: 28.8
Points: 11.5
Rebounds: 8.7
Blocks: 2.38
Assists: 2.0
FG%: 52.7% (58-of-110)
FGA: 8.46

Post-Injury: Nov. 27 to Dec. 8
Games: 6
Minutes: 31.8
Points: 17.3
Rebounds: 9.3 (including his season low three boards at Philadelphia)
Blocks: 1.3
Assists: 1.8
FG%: 60% (39-of-65)
FGA: 10.8

To be clear, I’m not saying that Bynum’s foot injury has made him play better (that would be a ridiculous theory). My point is simply that the foot hasn’t affected him while he’s continued to get better, improve his game conditioning and get almost back to where he was before the January 2007 injury.

The Kings Coming In: The Lakers catch a break as Kevin Martin will miss the game. Again. Martin has already missed a dozen games this season, and teammate Francisco Garcia is trying to take that record away from him, apparently.

Which is why it is odd that coach Reggie Theus is rumored to be on the hot seat. J.D. Hastings made good points in the comments:

What exactly did Theus fail to do that he was supposed to? Did the Maloofs really think the Kings would be good this year? With Artest gone and injuries to several players?

Why now? What is a lame duck interim coach going to accomplish this season? Since they have to pay Theus anyways, why not just let him see the squad through. Maybe he gets them playing well enough to be hard to beat by the end of the year. Anything else is delusional.

Just how bad is it in Sactown? Just check out this quote from Mikki Moore today:

“You don’t know what direction (the organization is) going in. They might be doing this so they can have a higher draft pick for next season. You never know.”

I really feel for Tom Ziller. One of the best NBA bloggers on the planet. He should not have to suffer through this.

Divac to get number retired: When your team struggles, remind them of the good old days. The Kings are going to retire the jerseys of Chris Webber and Vlade Divac in a few months.

The last meeting: Back a few days before Thanksgiving, these two teams met and apparently had a gentlemen’s agreement to play All Star Game quality defense for the night. The Lakers took the lead in the second quarter, pushed that up to 19 and eventually won 118-108.

The Kings, with their three big men in Brad Miller, Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson, all of whom can shoot from the outside, created a problem for the stay-at-home, protect the paint Lakers that night. It will be interesting to see what, if any, changes the coaching staff make tonight.

Keys To The Game: Yes, the shooting bigs were a problem last game, but so was the fact the Lakers gave the Kings a lot of easy buckets by turning the ball over and playing bad transition defense (and credit the Kings for hustle here). Both of those things need to be remedied tonight, and both really are about focus on the task at hand.

The Lakers need to run the triangle offense tonight (that would be a nice change from recent games) and go inside-out with it. Miller and Hawes cannot handle Bynum and Gasol on the blocks, so exploit that. Second, the Kings don’t defend the three well, so inside out should get good open looks for Fish, Radman and others.

Finally, the Lakers need to defend the pick and roll better. Beno and Bobby Brown (Fullerton shout out!) killed the Lakers with that last meeting. The Kings can run it well because the bigs can both roll or pop after setting the pick, but again this comes back to the focus of the Lakers.

Where you can watch: 7 pm start because they are in Sactown. KCAL 9 here in LA, and no national broadcast (the fans want LeBron on NBATV tonight).