Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Kings

Darius Soriano —  February 14, 2017

After a nice (and needed) break from games after the team’s eight day road trip while the Grammy’s invaded Staples Center, the Lakers are back in action against the Kings tonight. The game will actually only serve as a one game reprieve from the road as the team will travel to Phoenix for a Wednesday back to back before another extended break through the All-Star game and into next Friday in Oklahoma City.

Between now and then, it will be interesting to see if this version of the Lakers stays as is or if the trade deadline will offer a shakeup. I’ve already made my two cents known, but whether Jim, Mitch, and, I suppose, Magic Johnson feel the same way remains to be seen. Interesting times for the Lakers, these are.

Anyway, that’s looking ahead and the team should only be looking towards tonight. The Kings are currently tied for 9th in the west, two games behind the Nuggets. They are dealing with injury issues, however, their wing depth taking a major hit after Rudy Gay (achilles tear), Omri Casspi (calf), Ty Lawson (groin), and Garrett Temple (hamstring) have all been out of late. And while there’s a chance Lawson is in the lineup tonight, they are still extremely shallow on the perimeter with only Darren Collison, Ben McLemore, Arron Afflalo, and Matt Barnes available to contribute.

Still, though, they have won four of five games, including strong victories over the Warriors, Celtics, and Hawks. A key reason for these wins (save for the Celtics game where he sat out due to technical fouls/suspension) is DeMarcus Cousins. I understand there is baggage (as mentioned, he’s already tallied 16 technical fouls on the year and begun the suspension phase for cumulative T’s points), but Cousins is the most talented big man in the game. He can do it all offensively, can be a fantastic defender when dialed in, and must be accounted for from the time he crosses half court.

This is going to be a problem for the Lakers. While the team’s shift in starting lineup has produced some really good results on both sides of the ball, the game where the team struggled was when they faced an opponent with a massive C who could score in the paint via the P&R and post touches. Tarik Black being undersized and Ivica Zubac not yet having his “man strength” mattered against Andre Drummond and it will really matter against Cousins. Black may be better suited to stay with Cousins when attacking from the perimeter, but he does not have the bulk to keep him from bulling to his spots on the floor.

So, if the Lakers aren’t going to slow Cousins, they must win this game by controlling the other matchups. I’m mostly looking at Russell in his battle with Collison and Randle in his matchups with Koufos and Cauley-Stein. Russell has been playing well as a passer and organizer of the team’s sets, but this will be a game where his scoring is needed. Collison will attack and try to get his own points and it would be good if Russell could do the same. As for Randle, he’s struggled with the length of the Kings’ C’s-who-masquerade-as-PF’s and I expect some of that to continue tonight. However, if he can create in the open court and use his quickness to get to his spots off the dribble then slow down and use patience to get his shots off, he could find some success.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet.

Darius Soriano

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to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Kings

  1. This is the type of game I’d like to see as the season progresses:  a serious effort that just falls short of victory.  Especially terrific in this game was the incredible effort of Lou Williams in the fourth quarter–a performance that might well get him on a playoff bound team yet this season.  He was one desperation shot away from giving the Lakers a victory.
    Demarcus Cousins showed us all that he is a truly great player–making baskets from everywhere, including a solo runaway dunk off a steal–defense, rebounding, passing–even most of his free throws. 

    The announcers were mystified by the disappearance of Randle–especially late in the fourth quarter.  Is he OK?


  2. Actually that’s the kind of games I don’t like to see. Of course I would have been happy about a victory, but it would have come from offense where (I much rather would like a win because of good defense) and that from only one guy that is not one of the young guys.
    I think all the laker fans are looking for developement. At this point The lakers are winning (or close to winning) because they are even hotter on offense than the other team. And often that offense comes from one guy making ISO plays. I want to see the team getting better on defense, playing unselfish team basketball on offense and when someone is hot and because of that you run ISO plays for him than that someone should be Russel, Clarkson, Ingram or Randle.
    Another observation: Luke is playing to win and not tank. Leaving russel on the bench in the 4th to close out the game with Lou makes sense if you want to get that W. not sure if I like it though. Russels Game wasn’t that good and I would have like to see if he added more to the turnover or the points and assists column in the last minutes of the 4th.


  3. EuropeanLaker: yes agreed. As i have been saying all year, we have replaced Kobe with Lou/Nick. When they are hot we have a “chance” to win. This is not helping development, and the stat lines for the youngsters are not good and in some cases the visual performance is worse.
    Forbes: They came out with the values of the NBA teams and once again the Knicks and the Lakers are on top. As Warren Buffet said:
    Invest in a business that that could be run by an idiot because eventually it will be run by an idiot.


  4. _ Robert _ 
    The Buffet quote is hilarious –
    Say: I may have missed your take on Magic´s new involvement on the team. Do they run along the same lines as rr´s? 
    (Disclaimer: I´m as much a Magic fan as you are a Kobe fan 😉  )

    I, for one, am happy he´s on board. Despite what some see as his shortcomings in so far as not having had FO experience, I think Earvin´ll have a keen eye for good talent, and as some have acknowledged, it´ll help that it´ll be Magic Johnson recruiting fellas – just on his legendary status alone it´s positive.
    Your thoughts?


  5. JuanJ _ Robert _ I love Magic too. But he’s already adding to the confused look of the FO, and that’s a turnoff for free agents. The more I watch everything unfold, the more I find myself thinking Jeannie has no clue. She brought in Magic as a last resort because she’s incapable of taking charge herself, and she’s hoping his charisma and popularity will win the day. Here he is just a few days in, and his comments are all over the place and it’s not clear at all who is in charge of basketball operations. In one breath he sys he’s the new sheriff in town, or at least wants to be, and in the next he walks everything back. And the talk of calling Kobe? Please. He may as well give Bryon a call too. 

    People like to prop up Jeannie wih the ghost of Dr. Buss – he chose her, and he knew what he was doing. That’s called nepotism, and it’s pure crap. Even brilliant minds are clouded by family ties, and it’s impossible to argue that Dr. Buss’s succession plan hs been at all effective. Jeannie has shown zero leadership, and she just calls one former Laker after the next hoping someone can fix her mess for her. 

    Besides historical significance, what does Magic bring to the FO from a basketball perspective? A huge ego, a short-lived and unsuccessful coaching career, and a distinguished record of trashing people when they don’t see things through his Showtime purple and gold colored glasses. Ya, that’ll really attract the talent we need to get over the hump.

    Jeannie needed to hire a total outsider as an advisor, not another de facto Buss sibling.


  6. So I’m watching the closing minutes of last night’s game and
    sensing that coach Walton’s hands are tied ever so tightly because we know he
    wants a win so bad at the expense of the “learning experience” of the young
    players and his undersized center just fouled out and he decides to go with
    Larry Nance Jr? I was fine with that
    thinking as long as Williams keeps taking and making threes while the
    unstoppable Cousins takes and makes two’s, we should be alright and chalk one
    up in the win column.Next thing I see
    Cousins missing his free throw and Barnes retrieving the rebound over a flat
    footed Nick Young, I thought what was Nick Young doing in the game?Like déjà vu would have it, Young was pulled
    for Mozgov when Cousins was taking and missing the 2nd of his free
    throws a moment later in the game.It’s
    always the little things that make or break a closely contested game.None of this would have mattered I guess if
    Lou had made that 45 footer at the buzzer.It’s been that kind of a season.

    If we can add three games in the win column during all-star
    weekend, highly doubtful we can reach a 25 game win season.Number three in the upcoming lottery?Good god, here we go again.

    Go Lakers


  7. this game was lost 100% on Luke, really ignorant strategy. Playing cousins one on one the whole night. idiot.


  8. JuanJ/DPeterson:   Magic was my ATF until Kobe came along.  
    I am happy he is involved.   He is not the real (IMO) answer for the FO, however if we need to get him in, so that Jim is out – then we need to do this. I agree that we would be better off without any nepotism but we are kinda stuck with Buss Family ownership, so to move towards a more normalized management, we first need to get all Buss Family members out of B’Ball Ops.   If Magic (or other) does not work out, they can be fired quickly unlike the 4 year probationary review that Jim has been under.


  9. Jim has been Jeanie’s human shield for the past 4 years.  The Lakers have essentially cratered and she’s been able to avoid any personal criticism.  Jim’s promise and her acknowledgement of it put each of them on the clock. Jim because he took responsibility for the team’s progress and Jeanie because if she does nothing with her brother then she becomes responsible for the product on the floor and the inevitable fan push back if the team experiences more pain (which it surely will). 
    Jeanie knows that Jim has to go.  What better person to give her cover than Magic Johnson, one of the most adored Lakers of all time.  Magic also knows that Jim has to go as well and is also aware that there will be little public resistance when the ax falls.  All Jeanie and Magic are doing is dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s — essentially building their case so that ‘due process’ is conducted in full public view.  
    I saw a tweet for the K Brothers, who essentially said that Magic is angling for Dr. Buss’ role in player personnel — not an owner but someone who is not involved day to day but someone who has a strategic vision, can provide input on big deals but empowers smart people to do their jobs.  I would hope that these smart people would come from outside the organization.


  10. If these kinds of games are to help showcase trade value of veterans or unessential players, then so be it, but it had better end with trades before the deadline.
    Otherwise they are wasting time chasing meaningless wins at the expense of developing our kids, and also threatening to wipe away our chance of retaining another high draft pick.
    I really hope that the front office is not that ignorant,..though they may see this futile tact as a way of saving their jobs, reality, it will only serve to cut any remaining threads of credibility, allowing them to fall far and fast.


  11. mattal I mostly agree.  I’d only add that Jim has been Mitch’s human shield as well.


  12. What is the difference between Kobe Bryant playing last year
    and Lou Williams playing this year?Answer:Kobe gave this organization 5 championships
    and is one of Lakers Nation’s all-time favorite!
    Many on this site spit vitriol at Coach Scott and Kobe for
    highlighting no. 8/24 in his final season. 
    Yet, not much to say about Lou detracting from the development of the
    youngsters in search of wins.  Deng and
    Mozgov were unnecessary signings, and certainly for the length of their
    contracts.  Huertas, at least, is a
    vociferous bench warmer that takes Russel to the side to offer him tips.  Too bad, the Lakers couldn’t retain Nash in
    that role as he was instrumental in Clarkson’s development towards the ends of
    last season.
    Would someone please tell Randle that his role with this
    team, at this time, is a defender who rebounds and occasionally scores.  He needs to sit with MWP and learn defensive
    rotations and chutzpah.  As he provides
    no resistance at all around the rim and gets easily lost on simple plays on the
    defensive end.  Early in the season, as
    expected, Ingram suffered a similar fate. 
    But, since that time, he has surpassed Randle on his defensive