L.A. Lakers At Sacramento
When: 10:00 PM
ET, Friday, December 6, 2013
Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, California
The much-anticipated return of Kobe Bryant will have to wait at least one more game. Bryant, who has been out with a torn Achilles since last April, was targeting Friday as a return date but instead will watch from the sidelines when the Los Angeles Lakers visit the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers are playing .500 basketball without their star but are picking things up with five wins in the last seven games and are averaging 105.7 points in that stretch.
Bryant is still training and is now targeting Sunday’s home game against the Toronto Raptors as a possible return. “I’m trying,” Bryant told ESPN Los Angeles when asked about the possibility of a Sunday return. “We got to see how it feels (after Thursday’s practice). I’m going to try to get another hard session in the morning to try to push it again and the same thing (Friday) evening.” The Kings are attempting to snap a five-game losing streak and are having some trouble closing out games with four of those setbacks coming by six points or fewer.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBATV, CSN California (Sacramento), TWC SportsNet (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE LAKERS (9-9): Bryant’s shadow has loomed over the team all season but the patchwork roster is just beginning to find its own identity based on rapid ball movement and balanced scoring - two things that tend to go away when Bryant is on the floor. Jordan Farmar had been thriving as part of that offense but is expected to miss the next four weeks after suffering a torn hamstring in a 114-108 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday. Xavier Henry scored a career-high 27 points in that loss after totaling 16 points in the previous three contests.
ABOUT THE KINGS (4-12): Sacramento’s last two setbacks have each come by two points, and the Kings have a one-point loss and an overtime setback during their current slide. The one double-digit loss was a 100-86 setback at the Lakers on Nov. 24, when DeMarcus Cousins was held to 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Cousins, who averages 21.7 points and 10.1 rebounds, sat out a 97-95 loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday with a sprained ankle but is expected to return on Friday.
1. The Lakers have taken three straight in the series and snapped a three-game losing streak in Sacramento with a 103-98 victory on Mar. 30.
2. Sacramento F Derrick Williams is averaging 9.7 points in three games since being acquired from Minnesota.
3. Los Angeles C Pau Gasol suffered a sprained ankle against Portland but has been participating in practice and expects to play Friday.
PREDICTION: Lakers 106, Kings 102
Stats and Records
Sacramento Off vs
L.A. Lakers Def
96.9 Points For
102.9 Points Against