LeBron James layup vs Sacramento Kings

Three Things to Know: LAL at SAC, Preseason Game No. 6

by Matthew Barrero

The Lakers will complete their preseason play with a visit to Golden 1 Center as they take on the Sacramento Kings. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Spectrum SportsNet.

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

BUILDING CHEMISTRY

The long-awaited debut of LA’s "Big 3" took center-stage Tuesday night, as Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook combined for 47 points, 20 rebounds, 12 assists and five steals. While the final score line did not result in a victory, Frank Vogel acknowledged the adjustment period and having his players build the chemistry in a timely manner, with a new season just around the corner.

"LeBron and AD are most familiar with our system and with each other," Vogel said. "They will carry the load early in that regard, but we need everybody to hit the ground running. That’s going to be the expectation. We’re working hard to make sure that takes place."

While this was the first time the three shared a court with each other and their teammates in a real game setting, Davis emphasized the point of how the team performed and knows there can be adjustments made on the fly.

"We saw some great thing," Davis said. "Me, [LeBron], Russ in action. Still adjusting, we got a lot of practice but it’s the first time playing together on the floor tonight and even though there were good things, there were a lot of things we could get better. We’re still working on our defensive scheme as a unit. Either we have the same scheme as the new players and when they play on defense we’re trying to adjust as a team. It looked good."

One stat that displays the lack of chemistry is turnovers. In the five games thus far, Los Angeles is averaging approximately 20.6 turnovers per game, compared to their opponents’ combined average of just about 15.8 turnovers per game.

WORRY WHEN IT MATTERS

With a roster filled with veteran talent and youthful opportunists, the expectations heading into this 2021-22 season seem at an all-time high. Despite having not won a game so far this preseason, LeBron and company aren’t too worried about how their performance thus far could have an impact on the regular season starting up in five days.

"I care more about the practice court than I care about preseason games," LeBron said following last Friday’s game against Golden State. "There’s only so much you can get out of a preseason game, at least for me individually. There’s nothing I’m going to learn in preseason at this point in my career."

James did acknowledge the preseason’s helpfulness in finding a rhythm to get into game shape and that his teammates are working through new wrinkles on both sides of the ball. Westbrook was asked about the expectation for the team this season, following Tuesday’s loss to Golden State, and reiterated James’ comments and added his concept of being patient.

"We’re just going to play just like every other team and we’re going to figure it out," Westbrook said. "We don’t need to figure it out October 18, 19 or whenever the first game is. We have one goal in mind and that’s to win a championship. There’s going to be ups, there’s going to be downs, there’s going to be adversity, but if we’re together on the same page that’s all that matters."

UPDATED INJURY REPORT

The Lakers’ injury report listed Kendrick Nunn (right ankle sprain), Malik Monk (right groin strain) and Wayne Ellington (left hamstring soreness) all out for tonight’s final preseason action. Following yesterday’s practice, Frank Vogel remains optimistic for the three to be ready by Tuesday’s season opener.

"We’re hopeful K-Nunn and Malik will be back," Vogel said. "We’ll have to see how they progress over the next six days. Wayne, actually, his MRI revealed a strain in his hamstring, as well. Grade one. Still in a ‘reevaluated in a week’ timeframe. He’s still possible to dress opening night but he could potentially not be in there. We’ll have to see how all three of those guys progress over the next week."

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