(Photo By: Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)
Lakers vs. Kings: 3 Things to Know (3/24/19)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers’ Sunday night matchup with the Sacramento Kings.
1) JaVale went into monster mode last time
JaVale McGee is coming off the game of his life, having dropped career-highs on both the scoreboard and the glass in Friday’s loss to Brooklyn.
The 11-year veteran went wild, piling up 33 points, 20 rebounds and six blocks — joining legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (seven times) and Shaquille O’Neal as the only Lakers to ever record a 30/20/5 game.
McGee was efficient throughout the night, shooting 15-of-20 from the field, largely by cutting at the precise moment to capitalize off playmaking from LeBron James, who delivered 10 assists to the 7-footer.
2) Kuz is carrying the young core’s flag
It’s been a tough finish for the Lakers’ young players, with Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball both out for the season. Now Josh Hart’s status is in question, as he is out for this game due to lingering tendinitis.
That leaves Kyle Kuzma as the lone piece of the young core still active.
Kuzma’s last few weeks have been a struggle. He’s shot just 33.3 percent from the field over his past five games, including just 5-of-28 from 3-point range.
However, he is still the team’s second-leading scorer, with his points and field goal clip both up from his impressive rookie season. And he remains unafraid of taking the big shot, including a launch from the half-court line to beat the buzzer.
3) Sacramento’s still fighting
With the Lakers now mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, they turn to the spoiler role for teams like the Kings, who are 5 1/2 games behind San Antonio for the West’s final playoff spot.
While Sacramento — which only has 10 games remaining to make up that ground — may have slim odds to end its postseason drought, it has put together an entertaining squad this year.
The Kings are led by their young backcourt, starring Buddy Hield, who has ascended into a 20-point scorer and one of the best marksmen in the league, among the top six in both 3-pointers made and 3-point percentage.
Meanwhile, De’Aaron Fox has assumed the reins on both sides of the floor, placing in the top 10 for assists and steals. That latter category has been part of the Kings’ identity, as they love to get out and run off opponents’ mistakes, leading the league in fast-break points and ranking second in points off turnovers.
Lakers: LeBron James (left knee contusion) is probable. Mike Muscala (tibialis posterior tendinitis) is questionable. Josh Hart (right knee tendinitis), Brandon Ingram (thoracic outlet decompression, right arm) and Lonzo Ball (left ankle sprain) are out.
Kings: Harry Giles III (left thigh contusion) is TBD.
Tip-Off: 6:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Unis: White Association
Location: STAPLES Center — Los Angeles, California
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