Anthony Davis throws it down

Three Things to Know: Lakers at Kings - 11/30/21

by Matthew Barrero

The Lakers (11-11) made it a perfect 5-0 when playing on Sundays after their 110-106 victory over the Detroit Pistons. Tonight, they’ll face the Sacramento Kings (8-13) for the second time in five days. The two previously met in Los Angeles this past Friday where the Kings earned a 141-137 win in triple overtime. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. PT on Spectrum SportsNet.

Here are three things to know before tonight’s matchup:

The third quarter has been a sore subject for the Lakers this season, where they have mostly remained in the bottom fifth of the league in third quarter margin.

In a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 12, the Lakers were outscored 40-12 in the third quarter and eventually lost by a season-worst 24 points. Since that outing, L.A. has won six out of the last nine third quarters, averaging 29.8 points and outscoring their opponents 179-135.

At the nine-minute mark of Sunday’s game against the Pistons, the Lakers went on a 16-0 run and went on to outscore the Detroit 32-22 in the quarter.

Following the game, LeBron James commented on how the team was able to convert on both ends of the court and take a hold of the game.

“In the third quarter we got defensive stops, we rebounded, and we were able to get out in transition,” James said. “We shared the ball; we got the ball moving from side to side. We just played with great pace. Those are pretty good ingredients to us having a good third quarter. We want to continue that trend.”

During the offseason, trade talks for the Lakers were heavily revolved around either acquiring Russell Westbrook or Buddy Hield. Rob Pelinka and the Lakers front office decided to trade for Russ and Buddy remained with Kings.

Westbrook had a relatively slow start for the purple and gold (and possibly his own standards) but has since turned a corner. His is averaging 26.2 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists in his last five games and has recorde two triple-doubles and one double-double in three of those games. Additionally, he is currently second in the NBA with 191 assists and fourth in the league averaging 8.7 assists/game.

In the last meeting, Hield was a spark off the Sacramento bench finishing with 25 points (second to De’Aaron Fox in total points scored), six assists, four rebounds, and two steals in 40 minutes. He also converted four free throws in the final seconds to close out the win for the Kings.

Westbrook played a team-high 51 minutes and scored 29 points to go along with 11 assists, 10 rebounds, and two steals.

You can’t quite call it a revenge game for Hield, since he’s never actually played for the Lakers, but he sure treated Friday’s game like one, showing emotion after each shot he made.

Kings interim head coach, Alvin Gentry commented on Hield’s performance after their win a few days ago.

“At some point in the game, he’s going to make a big shot for you or he’s going to put you in a position where you can win the game,” Gentry said. “We ride with him because we really do feel like there’s going to be a point in the game where he can help us win.”

Tonight will be the 16th game the Lakers play in November. The only other time that will happen again this season will be in March; at what should be a push toward the playoffs.

The Lakers did not play in November last year due to the shortened season, but in the two previous seasons (2018-19 & 2019-20), the Lake Show finished the month with a combined record of 24-5. In franchise history, the Lakers have played in 1,010 games during November and have a record of 636-374, a winning percentage of .630 (their best in any month).

In comparison from those two seasons to this November, injuries and a patience to find some team cohesion with many new faces has been part of why the Lakers are on the verge of possibly finishing the month at, or just below, .500, should they win this evening.

Looking ahead to December, L.A. has a relatively favorable schedule where they will play teams, who are either currently around or very much below .500, in 10 out of the 14 games played during the month. A good chance to, as Anthony Davis said, “…kickstart to our winning streak.”

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