(Anna Lupean/Los Angeles Lakers)
Lakers vs. Kings: 3 Things to Know (11/15/19)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers’ Friday night matchup with the Sacramento Kings.
1) Kuz Control is back
Kyle Kuzma was money in the Lakers’ back-to-back, dropping 23 points on night one in Arizona and 22 the next day against Golden State.
Kuz was much-needed in both games. In a shootout with the Suns, he provided two clutch 3-pointers in the closing minutes. And then he started in place of Anthony Davis (sore shoulder) and made sure the Lakers didn’t miss a step in their rout of the Warriors.
His 3-point shot is starting to come around, but the secret to his success has been his ability to attack the rim. He’s 13-of-16 in the restricted area this season despite having yet to dunk.
2) JaVale’s also hitting his stride
Like Kuzma, JaVale McGee has found a groove in his last two games. He was particularly effective with a larger role against Golden State, racking up 18 points and 17 rebounds.
McGee was also instrumental to the continued improvement of L.A.’s league-best defense, contributing three steals and three blocks on that side of the floor.
But make no mistake: McGee’s highlights have been nonstop on the offensive end. He’s dunked 23 times — including 11 in just the past two games — sixth-most in the NBA.
3) Sacramento’s recovered from a disastrous start
After losing each of their first five games, the Kings have righted their ship, winning four of their past five.
They’ve achieved this recovery by grinding down their pace to a molasses speed. And in that patience, they have found their 3-point stroke, with Buddy Held, Nemanja Bjelica and Bogdan Bogdanovic burying opponents from deep.
But Sacramento (and new coach Luke Walton) will have to deal with the absences of two of their most important pieces. De’Aaron Fox — among the NBA’s top 10 in both assists and steals last year — is out with an ankle sprain, while 2018 second-overall pick Marvin Bagley III is down with a thumb fracture.
Lakers: Anthony Davis (sore right shoulder) and Avery Bradley (lower left leg contusion) are probable. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (left ankle injury) is questionable. Talen Horton-Tucker (G League), Zach Norvell Jr. (G League), Kostas Antetokounmpo (G League) and DeMarcus Cousins (rehabilitation, right knee) are out.
Kings: Trevor Ariza (sore right groin) and Dewayne Dedmon (right knee sprain) are questionable. De’Aaron Fox (left ankle sprain), Marvin Bagley III (right thumb fracture), Caleb Swanigan (left ankle sprain), Kyle Guy (G League) and DaQuan Jeffries (G League) are out.
Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 Tu Liga
Unis: Purple Statement
Location: STAPLES Center — Los Angeles, California
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