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The (56-25) Los Angeles Lakers are in the State Capital for the last time to face the (24-57) Sacramento Kings. This season finale for both teams has the word strange written all over it. The Lakers have won eight of their last nine against the Kings and four straight in Sacramento.

Tonight’s game will be fan appreciation night for the Kings. This could be the last official game of the team once known as the Sacramento Kings. The fans of Sacramento, knowing that this will be the last time to cheer for their team could be at a fever pitch and extremely loud. The Kings want to give their fans a memorable send-off.

For those who are unaware of this, the Anaheim City Council issued the bonds (worth $75-million) needed to entice the franchise to move, and new federal trademark rights have been requested. It appears that the Kings are moving south and next season will be the Anaheim Royals. A Kings season-ticket holder described tonight’s game a basketball funeral.

The end to the Lakers 5-game losing skid came at a high price with Andrew Bynum going down with a hyper-extended right knee. Coach Jackson said that Bynum could be out for a few games.

This served event added to the list of concerns for the Lakers seeking to hold onto the second seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers need a win or a Dallas Mavericks loss to secure the number two seed.

The Lakers received the desired outcome and were victorious over the short-handed Spurs, but it was an ugly win. They need to win tonight to build some momentum for the post season. The Kings are a young team that wants to get out in transition and score easy baskets. The Lakers have had trouble defending the transition game.

The Lakers shot selection has to improve, they’re spending too much time on the perimeter as oppose to attacking in the painted area. They need to do a better job of moving the ball using excellent ball and player movement to find a high percentage shot.

The front line has to come out aggressive, play with a high energy level and attack the basket. Tonight the Lakers need to establish Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest in the post and allow them to go to work attacking from inside. The Kings have enough size to affect what the Lakers want to do, but the Lakers do need to out-work them.

The Lakers needs to take control of the ball, control the tempo of the game, stop the dribble penetration of the guards, be solid defending the screen and roll play, get back in transition, quickly rotate out to open shooters, and limit the Kings to one shot per possession.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, L. Odom, P. Gasol
Kings:
T. Evans, M. Thornton, F. Garcia, D. Cousins, S. Dalembert

Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST

Television -

  • Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Sacramento: Comcast Sportsnet (Grant Napear & Jerry Reynolds)

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Sacramento: 1140 AM KHTK (Gary Gerould)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Andrew Bynum (Hyper-Extended Right Knee) Out
  • Steve Blake (Chickenpox) Out
  • Matt Barnes (Sore Right Knee) Out
  • Kobe Bryant (Sprained Left Ankle) Will Play
  • Devin Ebanks (Stress Fracture, Left Tibia) Out
  • Pau Gasol (Bone Bruise, Right Knee) Will Play
  • Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Questionable

Kings:

C Hassan Whiteside (Surgery, Partial Patellar Tendon Tear, Left Knee) Out