Lakers vs. Kings, Three Things to Know: April 30, 2021
The Lakers (36-26) face the Sacramento Kings (25-37) at Staples Center looking for a win after going 1-3 on a 4-game trip. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. on Spectrum Sportsnet.
Below are three things to know about the matchup:
Dennis Schroder, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma have all said that they expect LeBron James back soon; he was listed as “out” in Thursday's update for the game notes, and we'll see if Frank Vogel has anything further before the game on his status. The one questionable tag goes to Alex Caruso, who missed Wednesday’s loss at Washington with back spasms. Meanwhile, Sacramento is without both De’Aaron Fox and Harrison Barnes, though Marvin Bagley is set to return from a long absence. The Kings started Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Chimezie Mezu, Maurice Harkless and Richaun Holmes in a 154-105 blowout loss at home in their previous game.
*Just before the game, we learned that LeBron would indeed make his return to the court.
HIELD’S HOT 3-POINT STRETCH
Last time the Lakers faced the Kings, L.A. were focused on limiting the open looks from Kings sharpshooter Buddy Hield after he went 7 for 11 against them in an early March win for SAC. With Kyle Kuzma defending him for much of that April 2 contest, Hield managed only one make in nine attempts, scoring just seven points (and Kuzma went for 30 himself in a 21-point Lakers win). But in Sacramento’s last six games, they’ve gone 3-3, with Hield hitting at least three triples in the last five, and 23 of 47 (48.9 percent) overall. He’s shooting 42.7 percent in April, towards 17.1 points, and will again be a major focus of L.A.’s perimeter defense.
Anthony Davis was the NBA’s best defensive player last season, if you ask Frank Vogel, even if he ended up 2nd in DPOY voting (Giannis). That didn’t necessarily change this season, even if Davis was still ramping up to that absolute top level prior to his injury in February. Since he’s returned, however, his defense has yet to come up to his own standard, as witnessed by his 121.9 DEF EFF in his four games, second highest* on the team, and well above his 105.8 mark in last year’s postseason, when he was at his best. Perhaps he’s been focusing a bit more on finding his offensive rhythm, as he knows he can trust his defense. As such, it’s only a matter of time until he steps up on the defensive end, perhaps as soon as Friday night.
*The lower one’s defensive rating, the better.
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