NBA Picks: Lakers vs. Kings

Jason Lake

Friday, December 6, 2013 1:36 PM GMT

Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 1:36 PM GMT

Will this be the day Kobe Bryant returns to the Los Angeles Lakers lineup? Nope, which is great news for Sacramento Kings supporters as the NBA odds give them 3.5 points for Friday’s matchup at Staples.

Jason’s record on his final NBA picks for 2013, up to December 4 inclusive:

16-15 ATS

4-4 Totals

Well, that was fun while it lasted. The Los Angeles Lakers (9-9 SU, 11-6-1 ATS) were on a roll in the Western Conference, winning five out of six games at a perfect 6-0 ATS, before things went horribly wrong last Sunday. PG Jordan Farmar pulled his hamstring after just one minute of action, and the Lakers went on to lose 114-108 to the Portland Trail Blazers (–3.5 at home). Turn out the lights, the party’s over.

What, just because the Lakers lost their back-up point guard, and lost to the team with the best record in the West? I’m afraid so. Without Farmar or Steve Nash, the Lakers have no point guards on the roster other than Steve Blake, and that’s a bad spot to be in with the Sacramento Kings (4-12 SU, 5-10-1 ATS) preparing to host their hated rivals on Friday. The Kings have that awful record, but they’re 4-2 ATS in their last six games, and the NBA odds are making them 3.5-point favorites in this matchup with a total of 204.

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Farmar’s Market

The story with the Lakers thus far has been their impressive bench, which has kept the team afloat despite the injuries to Nash and Kobe Bryant – not to mention the offseason departure of one Dwight Howard. Farmar (17.7 PER) has played a major role in that story, putting up 17.4 points and 8.4 assists per 36 minutes while hitting 39.3 percent of his trey attempts. He also leads the team in plus-minus Simple Rating at plus-9.1, according to the statheads at 82games.

Farmar’s injury (which should keep him out about a month) became even more important when it was revealed earlier this week that Blake (14.5 PER) has a hyper-extended right elbow. He was seen shooting with his left hand instead of his dominant right during Wednesday’s practice. Not good. Blake is officially listed as day-to-day; if he can’t go on Friday, it’ll presumably be up to guards Nick Young (16.4 PER) and Xavier Henry (12.7 PER) to man the point.

Kobe Bryant won’t be walking through that door, either. There was some hope he’d make his 2013-14 debut against Sacramento, but word out of Los Angeles at press time is that he’s targeting Sunday’s contest with the Toronto Raptors, and it’s a soft target. Want some more bad news, Laker haters? Starting bigs Pau Gasol (14.8 PER) and Jordan Hill (19.2 PER) are both playing on sore ankles, and back-up Chris Kaman (13.7 PER) has fallen completely out of coach Mike D’Antoni’s rotation.

Also make sure to check out our:

NBA Picks: Raptors vs. Suns

When We Were Kings

You can imagine the glee on the faces of Sacramento fans and players alike as they get ready to welcome their arch-nemesis to whatever they’re calling ARCO Arena this year – oh, it’s the Sleep Train Arena. Really? They couldn’t get Sampino’s Towne Foods? Anyway, Sacramento is 3-1 SU and ATS in its last four home games against the Lakers, snapping a disheartening 1-9 SU and ATS slump dating back to the 2006-07 campaign. That happens to be Year One of the post-Rick Adelman Era, and the first of seven consecutive losing seasons for Sacto.

Kings supporters got a scare when DeMarcus Cousins (25.3 PER) missed Tuesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a sprained ankle, but Cousins was reportedly “fine” during Thursday’s practice and will suit up Friday. He’s on a big-time roll this year, and although there’s always a concern about foul trouble limiting his minutes, Cousins is the best player on either roster in this matchup, and PG Isaiah Thomas (22.3 PER) might be the second best. Even after Bryant returns.

NBA Pick: Take the Kings –3 at Guardian

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