After a rough start to the 2012-2013 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers are beginning to turn things around. They’ve rebounded from their 1-4 start, and finally have their record above .500 at 6-5.
Mike D’Antoni won in his debut as L.A.’s new head coach. On Tuesday, his team defeated the Brooklyn Nets 95-90.
Since the firing of Mike Brown, the Lakers have played like the team many expected to see. Los Angeles has won their last five games by an average of 13 points per contest.
The Lakers have taken care of teams that they are supposed to beat, something they were unable to do at the start of the year. They’ll look to continue that trend when they visit the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
L.A. defeated Sacramento 103-90 in their only meeting this season. The Kings were shorthanded, playing without big man DeMarcus Cousins and rookie Thomas Robinson. Both players were serving suspensions.
Dwight Howard may have had his best game in the purple and gold, thus far, against the Kings. His 23 points, 18 rebounds and 3 blocks led the Lakers in the game. Kobe Bryant put up 20 points in the win.
The one bright spot for the Kings was the play of Jimmer Fredette. While many of his points came when the game was already out of hand, Fredette scored 18 points on just nine shot attempts.
Despite his efficient performance on that night, Fredette has yet to earn major minutes. He’s averaging 11.4 minutes per game, and was held completely out of two contests.
All of the Lakers recent success has come in front of their home fans at Staples Center. Now, they’ll try to do some damage on the road. L.A. has only played two road games this season, losing them both.
Los Angeles has recently struggled on the road. They won the Pacific Division last year, but finished under .500 away from L.A.
As D’Antoni gets more time with his new club, he feels the players will begin to play even better together. The new head coach says his team doesn’t take a backseat to any in the league.
"With this team, there's no reason not to win every game," said D'Antoni. "That's our goal. It's not, 'Let's get two out of three.' We can win every game we play. ... I feel like we're the best team in the league. We've got the most talent, so they can do what they want. We've just got to keep perfecting things."
Bryant has certainly been playing like one of the best players in basketball. In his 17th season, the veteran is leading the league in scoring at 26.3 points per game.
Las Vegas oddsmakers expect the Lakers to come away with their first road victory of the year. The consensus betting line has them as 5.5-point favorites.
The game is set to tip off at 10:05 p.m. ET at the Sleep Train Arena. You can watch a live stream online by purchasing NBA League Pass Broadband.
Prediction: The Kings should give the Lakers a tougher battle this time around with Cousins in the middle. Still, L.A.’s frontcourt of Howard and Pau Gasol will be tough for Sacramento to handle. The Kings also have no answer for Bryant, who should put up 25-30 points.
Predicted Score: Los Angeles 102, Sacramento 95