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Lakers vs Kings Picks, Predictions & Odds
The Los Angeles Lakers have gone several games lately without an injured Kobe Bryant. They will now go into the playoffs without another starter, one who has been their best wing defender. The Sacramento Kings seem to have secured a new stadium deal in downtown Sacramento, and the future looks bright – though it likely will need more wins to fill the new arena in a couple of years. The longtime Pacific Division rivals will close the regular season Thursday night when the Lakers visit the Kings. Here’s a look at what to expect from each team, plus my final score prediction to help you make your NBA picks for tonight.
Los Angeles Lakers (41-24) @ Sacramento Kings (21-44), 10:30 p.m. ET
The Lakers are hobbling to the finish line this season. After a four-game win streak, the team has alternated wins and losses the last four games, coming off a 114-106 overtime win over Oklahoma City Sunday night – the infamous Metta World Peace Elbow Game. While Kobe Bryant may play just to get back in rhythm after missing six games with a shin bruise, the Lakers will definitely be without World Peace, who will miss this game and the first six playoff games. That just might open up opportunities for wing scorers for the Denver Nuggets, the presumptive first-round opponent. There is little chance that Mike Brown will take any unnecessary chances with playing time for the top players on the roster. This may provide a good opportunity for the Kings.
The Kings, while not overwhelmingly successful this season, have been competitive, especially at home. The Kings have 15 of their 21 wins on the home floor this year and they are coming off a 118-110 loss to Oklahoma City – their fifth road loss in the last six outings. Overall, however, the Kings have lost 10 of their last 12 games and are just 2-8 in their last 10 home games. With nothing to play for other than the most ping pong balls possible in the lottery, the Kings are still playing hard and utilizing their starters as if they were in playoff position. The Kings may very well play to win in this game, what with being at home against the rival Lakers. This is another opportunity for the Kings to finish on an encouraging note going into the summer.
The latest NBA odds show the Kings favored by 2 points and a total set at 203 points. If the Kings are going to give their fans something – anything – to feel optimistic about, this finale would be the best chance for the Kings to play their regulars and blow out an intentionally shorthanded Lakers team. The Kings might be willing to risk injury to their budding young stars to at least send a message to their fans that they’re not giving up and will be ready to move up the conference standings next year. With the Lakers not expected to play Bryant, Paul Gasol, Andrew Bynum or even Ramon Sessions, this may be just the opportunity for the Kings to show the potential. If the starters play nearly as much as they did vs. Oklahoma City, this should be a blowout in favor of the home team.
Final Score Prediction: Kings 105, Lakers 98