Records: Lakers 9-34, Last in the West; Kings 17-23, 10th in the West
Offensive ratings: Lakers 96.9, 29th in NBA; Kings 103.0 11th in the NBA
Defensive ratings: Lakers 107.7, Last in the NBA; Kings 105.9, T-24th in the NBA
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Clarkson, Williams, Kobe, Randle, Hibbert
Kings: Rondo, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, Willie Cauley-Stein, Cousins
The Lakers Coming in: The Lakers have lost 3 in a row and 7 of their last 8. They are still banged up as Larry Nance Jr. will not play, but Julius Randle will simply slide up in the rotation and assume his old role as starter. Where the questions come in is whether Tarik Black will see any minutes as the back up C with Brandon Bass playing some PF or if Byron Scott will do what he did the last game by giving Ryan Kelly the backup PF minutes and having Bass stay as the C.
This is a game where it probably makes more sense to play Black, even if Byron seems less than enamored with the development of the 2nd year pro. The Kings are a team with legitimate size and can pound you on the glass if you don’t match up accordingly. Bass fought hard against Cousins the last time these teams played, but it would be nice to spare him from all that pounding by giving Black some run too. And not just against Cousins, but against Kosta Koufos as well.
Also, if you have not been paying attention, Anthony Brown has taken Nick Young’s spot in the rotation. This transition has been in place for a little over a week, but tonight will be an interesting test, especially since the Kings have two very different types of wing players that Brown will likely defend. On one hand, you have Rudy Gay who will try to post you up and work in isolation off the dribble. On the other hand is guys like Marco Belinelli and Omri Cassipi who do their best work running off picks and spotting up. Brown will need to be mindful of who he’s guarding and respond accordingly. I think he is up to the challenge, but we shall see.