Modest Goal For
If Sacramento wants something to play for down the stretch, it could be 30 wins on the season. The franchise hasn't reached that total since 2007-08. It's somewhat unlikely as the Kings face all potential playoff teams after this one other than April 13 vs. Minnesota. Sacramento will miss the playoffs for the eighth straight season.
A victory here would give the Kings their first winning streak since the start of March. They ended a three-game losing streak with a 102-97 win in New Orleans on Monday night. DeMarcus Cousins outplayed fellow former Kentucky star Anthony Davis as Cousins finished with 35 points and 14 rebounds. How was Cousins not an All-Star? He's averaging 22.3 points and 11.7 boards. In ESPN's player efficiency rating, Cousins is No. 5 in the entire league behind Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Davis. Kings coach Mike Malone says Cousins is the best big man in the NBA. He's not far off.
Sacramento (34-37-3 ATS, 35-37-2 O/U at sportsbooks) played its fourth straight game Monday without point guard Isaiah Thomas due to a right quad contusion. He's having his best year, averaging 20.7 points and 6.4 assists. Some team is going to throw way too much money at him this summer as Thomas is a restricted free agent. It will be interesting to see whether the Kings match. Maybe not if Ray McCallum keeps playing well. He has started the past four games and averaged a mammoth 45.3 minutes. He had career-highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds against the Pelicans. Thomas is questionable for this one.
It Ain't Nifty
Turning 50 For L.A.
With the Lakers you are usually bound to see a lot of points as they are 29th in the NBA in scoring and they can still light it up at times in Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo offense (someone has to score). Minnesota dropped 143 on the Lakers on Friday in a win and Portland put up 124 in a 12-point victory on Tuesday night at Staples Center. Nick Young had a season-high 40 points off the bench for L.A., the most by any bench player this season in the NBA.
Los Angeles (37-36-1 ATS, 43-31 O/U at sportsbooks) has been devastated by injuries this year. Young hasn't been back that long from a significant absence. Pau Gasol was in the lineup Tuesday after missing the previous four games with vertigo and had nine points and seven assists in 28 minutes. Steve Nash played for only the 13th time this season Tuesday and looked good with 10 points and 10 assists off the bench. However, he won't play against the Kings because it's the second of a back-to-back. That means much more of Kendall Marshall. Xavier Henry returned Tuesday after missing the previous two games. He was scoreless in 13 minutes.
L.A's next loss will be No. 50, a total that uber-successful franchise hasn't reached since 1974-75. That offseason (June 16, 1975 to be exact) the Lakers traded for a Milwaukee Bucks center by the name of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in what you could call a heist. The Lakers gave up Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Dave Meyers and Junior Bridgeman.
Too bad the Lakers don't play the Kings every night as a full 12 percent of the Los Angeles victories this season have come against Sacramento (3 of 25). The first two were back in late November and early December before the Kings had traded for Rudy Gay. The most recent matchup was Feb. 28 in Los Angeles, a 126-122 Laker victory with L.A. as a 2.5-point favorite on NBA odds. Jordan Farmar (currently out injured) was 8-for-10 from 3-point range for a career-high 30 points for the Lakers. Gay had 32 points and Thomas 26. The Kings played without a suspended Cousins.
NBA Free Picks: Kings -7 and over 218. Sacramento has covered seven of its past 10 overall, while L.A. is 0-4 ATS in its past four road games. There won't be much defense played here. The over is 9-1 in the Lakers' past 10 in the second of a back-to-back.