(Photo By: Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)
Lakers vs. Kings: 3 Things to Know (1/9/18)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers’ division showdown with the Sacramento Kings.
1) Lakers busted out their track spikes
In Sunday’s win over Atlanta, the Lakers ran laps around their visitors by dropping 132 points — 42 of which came on fast breaks.
It was the Lakers’ most successful night on breaks since the NBA began tracking the statistic 21 years ago.
As expected, Lonzo Ball was at the center of this facet of the game. L.A.’s pace-pushing point guard had a few of his patented outlet passes and also hit a couple spot-up 3-pointers.
While Ball facilitated many of the Lakers’ transition opportunities, it was the team’s defense that allowed them to get out and run in the first place.
Their ability to force contested shots led to a bevy of defensive rebounds, and the Lakers used that to take advantage of an unset defense — something that will be necessary against a Sacramento team that will try to grind down the pace as much as possible.
Also keep an eye on Josh Hart, who did everything for the Lakers on fast breaks against the Hawks, including defend, rebound, pass and score.
Lakers scored the most fast-break points in franchise history last night.— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) January 8, 2018
Josh Hart was at the core of this, starting and finishing breaks with his defense, rebounding, passing and floor-running. pic.twitter.com/rGKpmOO7bA
2) B.I. is making plays
Brandon Ingram is coming off one of the most efficient nights of his young career, as he scored 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting against Atlanta.
The 20-year-old also mixed in seven assists, finding a nice blend of offense both in transition and the half court.
Like Ball, he hit a pair of spot-up triples and also found success in pick-and-rolls, particularly when it came to locating open shooters waiting to fire.
But B.I.’s best pass of the night was one that he didn’t even make. Toward the end of the first quarter, he turned Marco Bellineli into a statue with a ball fake before turning baseline for a fadeaway jumper that he has hit consistently this season.
Brandon Ingram making things happen with 8 pts & 4 ast in 12 minutes.— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) January 8, 2018
Freezes Belinelli with the fake pass and splashes the baseline fadeaway. pic.twitter.com/hbNTk8E9D4
3) Revenge is on the table
The Lakers would be wise not to assume that this game will be a jog to victory.
Sure, Sacramento is last in the NBA in both offensive and defensive efficiency, but the Kings also unexpectedly beat L.A. back in November.
Willie Cauley-Stein scored a season-high 26 points in that game, exploiting a Lakers pick-and-roll defense that has been vulnerable at certain points this season.
Beyond the arc, L.A. will also have to keep tabs on George Hill (status TBD), who leads the NBA in 3-point percentage (46.9) and Buddy Hield, who ranks ninth (44.5).
But if they play at their preferred, high-octane pace and lock in defensively, the Lakers should have a good formula for a second straight win.
Kings: George Hill (personal) is TBD. Frank Mason III (right heel contusion) and Harry Giles (bi-lateral knee rehabilitation) are out.
Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes in L.A. NBA TV nationally
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Location: STAPLES Center — Los Angeles, California