The Sacramento Kings will look to derail LeBron James and the Lakers when they visit Los Angeles for a duel of Pacific Division rivals Tuesday night.
James had his run of 30-point games end at seven straight on Sunday, but still managed a game-high 26 as the Lakers won a second in a row, 108-103 at home over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The victory came even though the Lakers were outrebounded 56-28.
“We’re playing good basketball of late,” James said after his team’s third win in four games following a five-game losing streak. “Even with some of the losses we’ve had, we’re still trending in the right direction.”
Among the Lakers’ disappointing defeats earlier in the season was a 141-137, triple-overtime loss dealt them by the visiting Kings in November. James was among five Lakers to score in double figures in the loss with 30, but Sacramento prevailed with greater depth, getting 34 from De’Aaron Fox and 12 or more from six others.
The Kings also had that depth of scorers on full display in their 115-113 home win over the Miami Heat on Sunday, with Buddy Hield (26 points) and Fox (24) leading the way.
Fox provided the winning points on a pair of free throws with 6.2 seconds to go, then was quick to note the contribution of Damian Jones to the win.
“Offensively, defensively … he’s been able to do a lot of things for us,” Fox said of Jones, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds in the win. “He’s done a great job.”
The Kings have done a great job in recent trips to Los Angeles. They’ve gone 2-0 in their ventures south this season, including a 124-115 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Meanwhile, the Lakers (1-0) and Clippers (1-1) have won two of three matchups in Sacramento.
The Kings and Lakers will meet again in the California capital on Jan. 12.
That game will come after the Lakers complete their current five-game homestand. They’ve opened with wins over the Portland Trail Blazers and Timberwolves, with the Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies on deck.
Malik Monk and Carmelo Anthony have complemented James and Russell Westbrook well on the homestand, Monk with 18 and 22 points, Anthony with 16 and 14.
Monk had 22 points and Anthony 14 when the Lakers won 117-92 at Sacramento in November.
The win over Miami completed a six-game Kings homestand that began with two straight losses amid heavy COVID-19 absences and finished with three wins in four games with a mostly healthy roster and the return of interim coach Alvin Gentry.
Jones, the first-round draft pick of the Golden State Warriors in 2016, took advantage of the plethora of unavailable players to build momentum for his recent productive run, during which he had double-figure points or rebounds in three of four games before Sunday’s second career double-double.
His first (17 points, 11 rebounds) came last May for the Kings against Memphis.
The Lakers remain without Anthony Davis, out with a knee injury, while the most significant King unlikely to play is Terence Davis, who has missed the last three games with a sprained left ankle.
–Field Level Media