Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings Pick & Prediction MARCH 6th 2024

The Los Angeles Lakers and visiting Sacramento Kings meet Wednesday, each with a chance to improve their playoff standing following recent success against some of the top teams in the Western Conference.

The Lakers are coming off a 116-104 victory on Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who entered the week as the top team in the West.

The Kings earned a 124-120 overtime victory on Friday in Minneapolis over the Minnesota Timberwolves, who slid into the conference’s top spot after Monday’s slate of games. Sacramento, however, has lost three of its past four games, including a 113-109 defeat against the visiting Chicago Bulls on Monday, when the Kings blew a 22-point, second-half lead.

The Lakers failed to close out a potential victory against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, but they rebounded to defeat the Thunder thanks to some sharp shooting from their guards. D’Angelo Russell had a team-high 26 points and Austin Reaves added 16 as the duo combined to make nine 3-point baskets.

Russell helped Los Angeles pull away from Oklahoma City with three consecutive 3-pointers, all in a span of 1:06 early in the fourth quarter as the Lakers took a decisive 103-79 lead with 9:06 to play. The flurry of long-range shots brought the bench onto the court in celebration when the Thunder called a timeout.

“Obviously we know that D-Lo can get going,” said Los Angeles star LeBron James, who scored 19 points to go along with 11 rebounds and eight assists on Monday. “He can make three or four threes in a row and break the game open, and he did that again once again.

“The uncanny ability that once he sees the ball go through the hoop, he can run off three or four of them, get the crowd into it, get us hyped and we’re able to take the momentum from there.”

The Lakers have momentum as a team, as they are 10-4 since the start of February, when the trade deadline loomed. Russell was rumored to be a potential trade piece for the Lakers, but they kept the veteran and are being rewarded for the decision.

“My teammates find me when I’m hot,” Russell said on a Spectrum SportsNet broadcast. “I think for me, it makes it easier when I can stretch the floor like that.”

The Kings also lost to the Nuggets last week and held a players-only meeting before bouncing back to defeat the Timberwolves on Friday. But in its return home Monday, Sacramento was outscored 36-18 by Chicago in the fourth quarter.

The Kings were up 22 points with 3:28 remaining in the third before the advantage wilted away. Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox scored 20 points and had 10 assists in his return from a two-game absence caused by a bruised left knee.

Domantas Sabonis had 18 points and 21 rebounds but fouled out with just under three minutes remaining. It was his 43rd consecutive double-double.

“Anytime you lose one of your top two players down the stretch of a ballgame, it’s tough, but the reality of it is him fouling out at that point didn’t cost us the game,” Kings coach Mike Brown said. “We had a few self-inflicted wounds throughout the course of the game, and not just in the fourth quarter, not just in the last three minutes.”

One area of concern was 18 Kings turnovers that led to 24 Bulls points. Sacramento scored 12 points off Chicago’s 10 turnovers.

–Field Level Media

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