The Sacramento Kings open their final road trip of the season Easter Sunday in Los Angeles. They'll face a Lakers team that has posted a solid second half of the season, but is struggling down the stretch.
After an emotional night at Golden 1 Center on Saturday, that included a jarring injury to Warriors shooting guard Patrick McCaw, the Kings return to the action on the second night of a back-to-back. The news coming out of Golden State is that McCaw is doing much better after taking a huge fall and being wheeled off the court on a stretcher.
The Lakers have lost six out of eight games, but they are one of the surprise teams in the Western Conference. They have seven players averaging in double-figures, including a team-high 16.3 points and eight rebounds per game from breakout big man Julius Randle.
Lakers by 7.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Skal Labissiere vs. Kyle Kuzma -- Kuzma is having a strong rookie campaign for Los Angeles, but he's struggled against Labissiere. The Kings have held Kuzma to just 12 points and 3.7 rebounds per game in three matchups this season, well below his season averages. Labissiere hasn't had the break out many had hoped for, but he's showing signs of improvement down the stretch.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 24-53, fourth place in Pacific
Lakers: 33-42, third place in Pacific
Kings: SG/SF Garrett Temple (sprained left ankle) out, SG/SF Iman Shumpert (knee rehab/plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.
Lakers: PG Lonzo Ball (knee) doubtful, Brandon Ingram (concussion protocol) out, PG Isaiah Thomas (hip) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Slow the Bull-- Randle has become a player. He uses his strength and power to get into the post and do major damage. He's a restricted free agent after the season and likely in for a major payday.
Keep Up-- The Lakers are beat up, but they love to get out and run. They rank first in the league in pace and have a a whole squad of young athletes. The Kings can slow it down or they try to match speed with speed.
Focus on the Future -- Temple continues to miss games with an ankle injury. Zach Randolph has sat out four straight. Kosta Koufos was a DNP-CD last time out. The Kings are going young to finish the season. Five games might not seem like a lot of time, but it's an opportunity to make a lasting impression.
The Lakers lead the season series 2-1, including the last two. Los Angeles owns a huge 272-154 lead in the all-time series and a 94-45 advantage during the Sacramento-era.