Records: Lakers 42-18 (2 seed); Kings 27-32 (they will be drafting 12th)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 113.4 (3rd); Kings 108.3 (14th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.0 (6th); Kings 111.1 (25th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Kings: Beno Udrih, Kevin Martin, Ron Artest, Mikki Moore, Brad Miller
Lakers Notes: Good news â€” Vladimir Radmanovic will be back and dressed tonight. Note I donâ€™t have him as a starter because: 1) Itâ€™s his first game back; 2) Luke Walton has played hard and well the last couple of games, so you donâ€™t just yank him. But having Radmanâ€™s ability to space the floor should improve the offense again, it was really clicking with him as a starter before the injury.
Also, yesterday (in talking about the tying three-pointer against by Dallas at the end of regulation) I wrote: â€œEven if the guy is shooting the three, unless it is Steve Nash the chances of hitting three straight free throws are less than hitting an in-rhythm three.â€
Exhelodrvr correctly pointed out, thatâ€™s not really right.
Not quite – say a 50% chance of hitting a three (which is probably an exaggeration).
An 80% free throw shooter has a 51% chance of hitting three in a row; an 86% FT shooter (like Nowitzki) has a 66% chance of hitting three in a row.
We can discuss how well people would shoot three consecutive free throws under pressure, but the point that an in-rhythm three is less likely to fall than three consecutive free throws is not something I can argue. I think we should have avoided the whole discussion by fouling Kidd the second he touched the ball inside the arc. Also, great comment you should read by Darius, on why Farmar should get some blame on that last play.
The Kings Coming In: Everything I know about the Kings I learned at Sactown Royalty.
Iâ€™ve said before that I think organizations that win have a plan from the top down â€” they know what kind of team they want to be, get a coach to execute said system, draft and get players who fit that system. While I often point to the Spurs or Lakers (since Phil came back) of being franchises that have done that, the Kings are the opposite. I really have no idea what the plan is or what kind of team they want to be.
That starts with how they are using their best player, Kevin Martin. From a great piece recently at Hoops World:
Kevin Martin is the fifth-leading scorer among two guards in the NBA â€“ behind Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Dwayne Wade and Michael Redd.
Of these five players, Kevin Martin has the highest three-point field goal percentage and the highest free throw percentage. Only Iverson makes more free throws per game, and only Iverson and Wade get to the foul line more than Kevin Martin.
Kevin Martin also has the sixth-highest player efficiency rating of all NBA two guardsâ€¦.
What also separates Kevin Martin from those stars is that he plays fewer minutes and gets fewer shots than any of these other four players.
In fact, Martin plays fewer minutes and gets fewer shots per game than Vince Carter, Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford or Jason Richardson.
He gets fewer minutes per game than Ray Allen, Monta Ellis or Mike Miller.
He gets fewer shots per game than Tracy McGrady or Ben Gordon.
Can you imagine Kobe, A.I., D-Wade or Michael Redd sitting on the bench in the fourth quarter in a close game?
Theus (and Mussleman before him) is taking a lot of heat for his coaching. And he should take some. But really, what is the plan for the Kings? From where I sit it seems the owners and GM are on different pages in terms of a long-term plan, and the results on the court are in large part a fallout of that.
Keys To The Game: Sacramento is still one of the tougher home courts to win on â€” the Kings are 18-10 at home this year. If the Lakers expect a cakewalk they will get a surprise.
The Kings have a couple of players that will give the Lakers problems. One is Kevin Martin, who gives everyone problems because he is damn good. But then there is Beno Udrih, who is coming into his own as a PG and is the kind of quick guy who gives the Lakers issues. Then there is Ron Artest, who may be nuts but can still play the game.
With Udrih and Martin the Kings have two guys who can get into the lane, so the Lakers need to stop the penetration on the perimeter and make good rotations in the paint. They have to control the paint without fouling.
And, the Kings like the high pick and roll with Artest setting the pick (he can roll or pop) and the Lakers need to defend that more like they did against Dallas and not so much like against Portland.
And, according to the scouting report at Lakers.com, look for some zone tonight. The Lakers should be able to score â€” and Pau should abuse Brad Miller â€” but they have to recognize the zone and attack it in the middle and then shoot over the top when it collapses down.
Where you can watch: The game is at 7 (Pacific) on KCAL 9 in Los Angeles and League Pass nationally.