Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Kings

Daniel Rapaport —  December 6, 2013

The Lakers will look to win their third straight road game tonight when they take on the Kings at Sleep Train Arena.

LAL will be without Jordan Farmar, who’s out for four weeks after tearing his hamstring in Sunday’s home loss to Portland. That means that Coach Mike D’Antoni has exactly one true point guard to work with, as Steve Nash is still not ready to return. Of course, everyone in the NBA sphere is still awaiting Kobe’s comeback, which we just learned will come Sunday against the Toronto Raptors at home.

While the Lakers’ 4th quarter comeback came up short against suddenly-relevant Portland (16-3) on Sunday, they’ve played well of late. LA has won 5 of 7 behind impressive three-point shooting and balanced scoring- something the team lacked last year. The gigantic disappointment commonly known as the 2012-2013 Lakers shot 35.5% from behind the arc, good enough for 19th in the league. This year’s team, free to fully immerse themselves in D’Antoni’s run-and gun offense without having to patronize a certain #12, is third in the league at 40.9%

The Kings come in losers of 5 straight and are off to the type of disappointing start Kings fans have become accustomed to in recent years at 4-12. They seem to be playing better of late, however; in their last three contests, they gave the Warriors, Thunder, and Clippers (three legit contenders) all they could handle, losing by a combined 8 points. But tonight, they’ll be without their enigmatic star Demarcus Cousins, who made a below-the-belt dig at Derrick Rose when asked if he’d be ready for tonight’s game.

While DMC’s offensive game has evolved nicely, he’s yet to become the defensive anchor that he needs to be for the Kings to see any kind of success. They’re currently 26th in overall team defense and are second-worst in the league at defending the three. Look for LAL to try and expose these defensive weaknesses while still making an effort to get the ball inside- Sacremento’s makeshift frontline of Chuck Hayes, Jason Thompson, Derrick Williams, and Patrick Patterson should have a hard time defending even a less-than-healthy Pau Gasol.

All in all, this is a very winnable game for the Lakers. Sacremento’s record is second-worst in the West, and they’re likely without their best player. If they can get the W tonight, Kobe may return to an above .500 team- something very few thought possible. But this team has bought into D’Antoni and eachother, and their strong- and fun- style of play speaks for itself.

Daniel Rapaport

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58 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Kings

  1. the other Stephen December 6, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    This is all I have to say about the name, “Sleep Train Arena:” http://garbagetimeallstars.blogspot.com/2011/01/see-you-down-at-lamprey-chunks.html

  2. We could use _Kobe tonight esp with no Farmer….could also do without his video…..

  3. fun video. looking for a win tonight…

  4. Looking forward to Kob’s return. Thought the video added melodrama to the announcement. I like the concept. He has indeed been through a lot and coming out the other side of a potentially career ending injury to play again is certainly one of the shining moments of #24′s career. Let’s do the d*** thing then! Waiting excitedly for tip off Sunday.

  5. I would like us to stop Greivis Vasquez early on.

  6. Off Topic –

    But congratulations to Kyle Korver for setting a new NBA record by making at least one 3 pointer in 90 consecutive games in which he has participated. Much respect given to Kyle ‘The Sniper’ Korver.

  7. The Sac Man

  8. Wes Johnson is a defensive monster, I feel like he is an elite defensive player.

  9. Johnson is inconsistent, but, yeah, he is a monster when he is at his best, defensivly.

  10. Nice d Williams

  11. I don’t understand dantoni’s love affair with Shawne Williams. He’s a one dimensional forward. He’s good in spots and he should be in depending on match ups. He’s determined to go small and looks like hill is back into the go house.

  12. Williams is shooting the 3 better lately and it turns out he can guard and rebound a bit, Hill is playing as bad as he was playing good a week ago, he booked himself in the doghouse.

  13. The previous game, in L.A., we were able to contain I. Thomas. Not as much so far tonight. Offensively, he’s controlling the game in every aspect. If they continue to single cover Pau with Thompson, we should run everything through him.

  14. Pau makes Munote Bol look like Hurcules.

  15. Lakers are not much better then kings Could be worst interior D in league.

  16. Young killing team with bad shots 5 for 14

  17. Pau needs to make something happen if not I rather hill be in the game to try to get some offensive boards. He’s just floating around the perimeter and not being aggressive.

  18. My squad!!! #Lakers Nation

  19. Lakers keep fighting and never give up. This team is fun to watch.

  20. Got to love this team! Meeks has turned into a really good player

  21. 6 guys scoring between 11 and 19 tonight (with :30 to play). If they can keep most of this balance when Kobe’s back, they’re going to make a little noise this year.

  22. What a massive 4th quarter, im so proud of this guys, no quit on them.

  23. Wes Johnson and Jodie Meeks won the game in my eyes.

  24. Fern I said pau needed to make something happen and he hit a clutch jumper and made a good defensive play. Pau finished the game pretty well. He had a few possessions where nick young took some bad shots and I would’ve like for pau call for the ball

    But Johnson set the tone defensively and had a bunch of huge plays and Meeks hit some timely 3′s. Jordan hill and sacre played took advantage of the minutes they played tonight

    In the end it’s a laker win and I’m happy. I just hoped the lakers could stay about .500 with Kobe out and they accomplished that.

  25. People need to give Pau his props, stepped up twice in the last 90 seconds of the game, this team lokks good and the Mamba returns!!!

  26. Wesley Johnson is becoming an elite defender, cant deny it.

  27. Signing Wes was steal of the year. Guy deserves multi-year contract before year is over.

  28. After witnessing the debacle of the 3rd quarter, especially on defense, I’m amazed that the Lakers actually won this game. But they did. We have the following to thank for it.

    *Wes Johnson with his GREAT defense (5 steals and one block as well as 13 points);

    *Jordan Hill who in less than 15 minutes had 9 (nine!) rebounds, 7 pts., and 2 blocks and was the first Lakers big not to show any fear in the face of D. Cousins;

    *Robert Sacre who started the game well and ended well including playing Cousins tough down the stretch (11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks); and

    *Jodie Meeks with 19 points and some killer 3s in crunch time.

    If nothing else, Kobe is inheriting a team that has a lot more fight in it than last year’s squad.

    One other observation. With Sacre’s emergence (where did that come from?), it looks like Kaman is truly expendable and Sacre will probably be our back-up, maybe even our starting, center, at least for a while. I wish he were a better rebounder. But Sacre’s certainly more responsible defensively than Kaman. And that’s not a bad thing. Now he’s got to sustain that level of performance. Will he?

    Finally…with number 24 returning, how will this team respond? I’m anxious to see. It’s been a long wait.

  29. Nice win, this group is fun to watch. Don’t the expect the world from Kobe, people, if he plays 20 minutes and gets 10 points that would be awesome. Hope the ball keeps moving like it is now…

  30. That was a very fun game. I came on here expecting there to be like 97 comments but found only 30. What a shame. These guys truly deserve our love and respect. They fought hard. Never gave up. I loved how Sacre was going after Cousins, and how Young helped on D against him at the end to get two steals. It was a great team effort. Johnson with great defense as well. I also really liked how after every basket the Kings scored the Lakers went on about their business, without looking defeated. And all this without Farmar! Jesus!!!

  31. I agree that it is unreasonable and dangerous to expect many minutes/points from Kobe at the beginning. Kobe providing a large presence could also jeopardize this team’s chemistry.

    So, I would be happy just to have Kobe standing back a bit (in both shooting and time on the court) as this marvelous team continues to jell and grow (though I know that is not exactly his style).

    GOOOOooooOOOOOOO LAKERS !!!!

  32. Jordan Hill is better off coming off the bench than starting. He is an energy guy and most of all a Center rather than a full-time starter at PF. He is great in limited minutes and average if given 33mpg.

    Kobe is busting out of that gate and scoring atleast 20. I do not believe Kobe himself would come back scoring 12-15ppg and being one of the guys. He either plays at his level (diminished athleticism naturally) or he doesn’t play at all. At gunpoint, I would say Kobe plays 28mpg on Sunday on a team blowout win vs Raptors. If he’s rusty, he’ll score 16-18. If he picks up where he left off, expect something like 24 on efficient shooting.

    People were calling me delusional when I said we’re better than what most expected. I was even called a Lakers PR man of some sort at some point.

    The team has many parts over-achieving partly because teams cannot prepare against us. We’re just a load of blur. But if a team can cover the perimeter like the Heat puts the pressure on our ball-handlers we’d be in trouble. So please temper your expectations. This is not a contending year and we should do all we can to get to that level as early as we can.

    It would still involve trading.

  33. Hill is an energy guy and his limit should probably be 25min, but deserves to be in at the end of the game. He is also playing on a sore foot, tough on energy people.

    My problem with a trade is that they would demand either Wes or Farmar.

  34. Warren, you are correct when you say we shouldn’t overreact to the Laker success. It is just that so many fans overreacted to the loss of Dwight Howard. Both you and I thought there were ingredients in this year’s team that would be interesting and fun to watch. Both you and I thought MDA was the right coach to manage that type of team. However, that doesn’t mean this is a contending squad.

    Meeks put it well last night. Other teams can’t prepare for us because who are they going to prepare to stop? In a 7 game series that will not be the issue. The issue will be that we are sporadic on defense and are a giant donut, with a hole in the middle. Then there is the lack of PG play. This would all be easily adjusted for in a series.

    However, since most thought we would be competing for the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes at the start of the year, this is a really fun game right now. We are also seeing who we might want to spend some $ to resign next year. Obviously Farmar and Wesley are two of my favorites – I would hate to lose either player.

  35. Craig W: The Dwight loss was devastating to our franchise – so there was no overreaction. If we had Dwight we “could” be a contender this or next year. At this point there is little hope of that. That means something to me, and a fun team winning 5 more games then they are projected to, while “interesting”, does not change that.
    WWL: You were certainly optimistic pre-season there is no doubt about that. You predicted 50 wins. Then later you said this was a transition year and that we should not expect anything. Please clarify where you are at now. Do you think we get past the first round? More than 50 wins? Personally, I am waiting to see where Kobe is at, before making any further predictions, unless they are hedged with that Kobe factor. Until then – I am where I have always been 7th or 8th tops, down to about 12th at worst, depending largely on KB.

  36. Rubenowski: Yes – the lighter board activity has been true for a while. Everyone who is still here, without regard to their views, are true fans. The last 3 years while difficult, have still had championship aspirations. This year we did not, and many fans – especially fringe Laker fas are not used to that, and they fade away, waiting for the next dynasty. Also Kobe’s absence does not help. I think fan participation and board comments will pick up when Kobe comes back.

  37. Craig,

    If the team starts having trouble and slips below .500, I hope that you will be as talkative about your predictions then as you are now. Ditto if Kobe’s contract proves to be a mistake. And, of course, there were several guys here other than you and WWL who thought the team would be better than the media thought. Darius, in fact, was one of them.

    Like I said in preseason, predictions are overrated. They are a fun, ego thing, pretty much. If you make enough of them, you will be wrong as often as you will be right. That goes for all of us.

    As to the team, they deserve a lot of credit. The team is exceeding expectations the only way that it could: with not one or two, but with several guys, beating their career numbers, and power to them. Meeks may think teams have no way to prepare for the Lakers, and maybe he is right. But Meeks at the moment is shooting .473 on 3s–far, far above his career norms. Maybe that is MDA’s offense; maybe it because Meeks has been attacking more off the dribble. Maybe it is because he has more confidence. Or maybe it is just a statistical blip. Probably some of all of those. We will see.

    And, as Robert and others have pointed out, whether this team wins 45 games, 47, or 35, or 37, really only matters big-picture in terms of what it does to get the team back into contention.

  38. People were calling me delusional when I said we’re better than what most expected. I was even called a Lakers PR man of some sort at some point.

    I have a response to Craig stuck in mod, and I will be interested to see if Darius lets it through. This comment baited me directly, and Darius did let it through.

    So, yes, Warren, to this point, your predictions about the team’s performance have been more accurate than mine. As many of us, including Darius, said in preseason, the team would need to have pretty much the whole roster beat career numbers to be a .500 or better team, and that is, to this point, exactly what has happened. It may continue, or it may not. If it does, you will have been right and and I will have been wrong.

    Predictions are pretty much an ego thing and while fun and at times educational, I think it is generally better to try to figure out what is happening in front of us, rather then to try to predict the future. But since predictions seem to matter to you, is this a 50-win season, or a transition year? You have said both many times. Or, is it a 50-win transition year?

  39. @Robert
    “I think fan participation and board comments will pick up when Kobe comes back.”
    For better or worse..

  40. Yeah I see that too. When lakers win, it’s 30-40 comments and it’s 100-150 it lakers lose. I visit this site many times daily and as soon as a new post is up, I read it. I am obsessed I think!
    And I really like the positivity and heart of this team right now. But I have a bad feeling of how things will turn once Kobe comes back. I hope Kobe is ready to do what is best for the team. Waiting for The Return.

  41. Too many listen to the ‘talking heads’. Kobe’s first priority is to win, not please the xxx’s covering the game. Combine that with being one of the smarter players in the game, and your fears should be lessened.

  42. @Hindi posted awhile back we have to ride with Kobe. Lakers FO made decision its his team. Hopefully Kobe will embrace facilitator role, but make no mistake Kobe is going to FGA. Lakers have paid Kobe to take the last shot and he will. Kobe must touch the ball in every critical possession . Maybe just maybe Kobe will pass to a wide open team mate who buries the rock at the buzzer! That is how you have to think about it.

    We will know after about 10 games whether on balance Kobe improves the on court play.

    Hang in there.

  43. Rusty Shackleford December 7, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Some Lakers fan puked in section 108 row K last night in the 3rd quarter. Being that my dad and I were sitting in row N in the same section it did take a little bit away from the experience.

    I think D’Antoni was trying to limit Jordan Hill’s minutes in the first half but had no choice to put him in at the end. I think he grabbed 6 rebounds in the 4th quarter alone.

  44. Why is Jordan Hill suddenly reduced to a back-up with 15 min? Just the last 10 games he was a starter and doing really well.
    Also, is Sacre really better than Kaman?

  45. Casual
    Hill had 2 points the prior 3 games. For some reason he get tired easy. 15 to 20 is about right.

    As for Kamen something is going on we don ‘t know about. I hear Lakers are trying move him after the 15th. Sacra is better on D and must work harder in practice.

  46. “This comment baited me directly and Darius did let it through.”

    Considering you were never mentioned by name, I have no way knowing that the comment in question was directed towards you. Craig made a simple comment about people going at him about his comments about the team’s prospects early on to start the year. If I recall correctly, that was pretty much the case.

    There was a vocal group of people saying the Lakers would win roughly 35 games this year and when some said they thought that they disagreed, there were some pretty critical comments towards some of those people. But, again, I don’t see anything wrong with disagreement on such things. I said before the year that the range for this team was pretty big and would depend on a variety of factors. I still believe that to be true and things may still turn for the worse in ways that have nothing to do with Kobe, the coach, or any other number of factors. That’s the nature of sports.

    As an aside, you, RR, are someone who tends to think people are commenting about you when they never mention you by name. I know this because you’ve accused me of this more than once this year when, in fact, I was not doing what you accused me of. You even went so far as to take things off my twitter feed and think they were about you when I don’t even know you on that platform. Whether or not you take my advice is immaterial to me, but I think you’d be better off if you didn’t act as though people were directing comments at you when, in fact, they may not be. Better to ask and get clarity than accuse and be wrong is a simple way of going about this. Another side point to this is that you often go at commenters pretty hard and try to dissect their comments by lifting anywhere from a few sentences to a few words of something they’ve said and then try to prove them wrong. Maybe you feel as though people comment about you because you often go at them — I’ve no clue, but it’s not always about you, at least from my perspective.

    In any event, the reasons I moderate comments are pretty clear. They’re listed in the link at the top of the page in the commenting guidelines. If you attack another commenter, you’ll be moderated. If you come on this board and try to bait the community with trolling statements, you’ll likely be moderated. There’s several other things that are no-no’s and people should follow them. Not because I say so, but because it’s been proven over the years that it promotes a better conversation on this board. Disagreeing is fine. I don’t expect people to always agree with me. But when people start to get personal because of their disagreements (and that also means taking things personally and turning them into a way to try and shout down another commenter) it can leave a bad taste in people’s mouths and should probably be avoided.

  47. Best move of the FO..Having Rambis help….D.A. is making a point about the defense now…Anyone who could get Young to play defense deserves credit….The Lakers are using their athleticism as much on D as on offense….

  48. It is so fitting that Kobe has to make his comeback the day before finals for me :/

    Anyway, this is going to be a year FULL of narratives (like Kobe needs more) and it may very well be the season that cements Kobe as the way Kobe always stated that he wanted to be remembered “the guy who squeezed every ounce of talent out of him.”

    I also have a very small hope that he will find great success in his ground based, assist heavy game that he will go beyond the extension just signed. Very small.

  49. As to Warren, RR and Darius posts:

    Clearly I was the only one who will be correct in my pre-season prediction of 47 wins so please address me as King Ken or KK from now on.

    Thank You.

  50. I don’t remember predicting 50 wins this year, but I do feel it is possible. Probable would be more like last year – i.e. 46 wins. If we do that or better without Dwight, then I think we will have had quite a good year. If I stated differently at the start of the year, I apologize – I misspoke.

    Clearly not having Dwight makes a huge difference – we won’t be able to contend until we resolve how to stop teams in the paint on a regular basis – but that wasn’t really the point motivating the fans who weren’t horrified by Dwight’s leaving. The real point was, if he had accepted our offer and stayed, we would have paid a 2nd or 3rd banana max money for the next 5 years and would still need a #1 and perhaps #2 when Kobe retired. While we would have been better off this year, we would probably be stuck in ‘the middle’ over the duration of Dwight’s contract. Pair this with the fact that Dwight pretty much demands a certain type of play and this becomes the Dwight Howard ‘first round and out’ Lakers.

    At least that is my opinion and why I saw a silver lining to Dwight’s leaving for Houston. Personally, I am having fun with the ‘reloading’ process this year. The game is so much more fun to watch and follow than what we endured last year.

  51. Ken: I know you are kidding around, so this is not directed at your comment, but that said, I think it is a tad early to state that any of the predictions were correct.
    For example to get to Ken’s 47, we would need to go 37-26 from this point. To get to WWL’s 50 win mark, we would need to go 40-23 from this point. Considering everyone seems to think the team is over-performing at this point and was expecting a worse record than 10-9, then I guess you guys made the projection that Kobe would come back fairly early (like he is), and that his impact is going to be tremendously positive. I hope that is correct. A team finish in the West between 7-12 is highly likely, with or without a highly effective Kobe. I will add this however – save this – in case you want to throw it at me later: If the Lakers make to 6th or higher, or alternatively, if they make it past the 1st round, Mike D’Antoni, gets to keep his job with my full support !! In exchange for this. I ask that if the Lakers fall to 13th or worse, then everyone except Kobe is fired and the team must be sold. If we finish in the 7-12 range it is what it is. Some will say that the season was phenomenal and others will yawn.

  52. Craig W: “The real point was, if he had accepted our offer and stayed, we would have paid a 2nd or 3rd banana max money for the next 5 years and would still need a #1 and perhaps #2 when Kobe retired.”
    Reasonable point. However the problem I see is that many are now saying that we will not contend until we re-load in the summer of 16. That covers 3 of the 5 years right there ! And further, let’s see who we end up paying the money to. We would all love to see LBJ, but short of that, whoever gets most of our free cap space, will probably end up being equally as controversial as Dwight (Melo being just one example). And as you said, in the interim, we are definitely worse off without him. The sad reality is that we are no longer talking about writing off a single year and then “re-loading”. We are talking about potentially mortgaging 3 years at a time (what used to be an eternity in Laker history), and still having no clear path. This will take us to 6 years toward my dreaded countdown to the 8 year franchise record of not being in the Finals.

  53. As an aside, you, RR, are someone who tends to think people are commenting about you when they never mention you by name

    I was the one who made the “PR guy” comment that WWL has brought up several times since then and originally responded to with a long explanation of his background. Maybe he doesn’t remember that was me, I suppose, but I do. So to suggest that was not directed at me doesn’t carry a lot of water. I don’t blame WWL that much, really–the PR guy comment, which was specifically about Xavier Henry, was snarky. But it was over two months ago, and I wasn’t on this thread at the time the comment was made today.

    Also, the critical comments regarding disagreement over projected team performance went both directions, and the optimist crowd was actually just as vocal than the other group–probably more so, actually, and obviously, as we have seen in this thread, they are now as well with the team sitting a game over .500 and Kobe coming back tomorrow, which is certainly understandable.

    As to the Twitter thing, we covered that. I said I was wrong about it. And you have called FBG people out on Twitter a couple of times, even if you weren’t doing it with me that time.

  54. Clearly I was the only one who will be correct in my pre-season prediction of 47 wins so please address me as King Ken or KK from now on.

    I think you should just change your handle to King Ken, as a tribute to your favorite player, LeBron James.

  55. As to Howard, he is apparently not going to be the dynamic force that he was prior to the injury. Aaron was right about that. But, Howard remains a very valuable player, and good bigs are hard to find. Houston is 14-7 and still has a strong, underutilized asset to move in Asik. They may not win a title with Howard and Harden, but they are in contention, in the mix.

    As to the Lakers team playing now without him, it is nice that they play hard, play together and that people are enjoying them. But extrapolating a contention scenario from this team’s current assets and competitive context is a stretch..

  56. In rr’s defense I knew exactly who WWL was talking about too when he referred to the PR man comment.

  57. Man Kaman is NOT worse than Sacre.

    We should not trade any of our bigs.

    we need the depth there.