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|6:30 PM PT7:30 PM MT8:30 PM CT9:30 PM ET1:30 GMT9:30 6:30 PM MST8:30 PM EST5:30 UAE (+1)02:3021:30 ET7:30 PM CT0:30 , March 24, 2019
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California Attendance: 18,997
Kings still thinking postseason in visiting Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers haven't had many reasons to get excited lately. Maybe the chance to erode the playoff chances of the Sacramento Kings can get them motivated.
The Lakers will attempt to get in the way of Sacramento's first playoff appearance in 13 years while also trying to avoid losing six straight games for the first time this season when they meet on Sunday evening in Los Angeles.
Sacramento enters Sunday 5 1/2 games behind the San Antonio Spurs for eighth place in the Western Conference. The Kings have 10 games left and the Spurs have nine. They face each other on March 31 in San Antonio.
Sacramento trimmed a half-game off that deficit with a 112-103 win against the visiting Phoenix Suns on Saturday night. The Kings last made the playoffs in 2006, which capped eight straight postseason appearances, three of which were ended by the Lakers.
Even if the Kings come up short of the playoffs this season, they know they have a bright future.
Buddy Hield shot 7-for-14 from 3-point range and scored 25 points against the Suns to give the third-year guard 245 treys for the Kings this season, breaking Peja Stojakovic's franchise record of 240 set in 2003-04.
Marvin Bagley III, the second overall pick in the draft last June, scored at least 20 points off the bench in three straight games for the first time this season before finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds against Phoenix.
Kings coach Dave Joerger said the organization is fortunate to have Bagley.
"The sky's the limit for Marvin," Joerger told reporters before the game against Phoenix. "You talk about just scraping the tip of what he can do, talent-wise, it's going to be really fun to be around him for a long, long time."
Los Angeles was eliminated from the playoffs after losing 111-106 to the visiting Brooklyn Nets on Friday. It's the sixth straight year the Lakers will miss out on the postseason.
Lakers coach Luke Walton told reporters after the loss that his team still has attainable goals.
"It's still about players getting better," he said. "It's still about going out there and respecting the game and giving everything we have to try to win."
It's uncertain whether Lakers starting center JaVale McGee will be part of the team's future plans, but he delivered one of the best performances by a big man in team history against the Nets.
McGee had career highs of 33 points and 20 rebounds while also blocking six shots, making him the first Lakers player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1978 and the first NBA player since David Robinson in 1994 to combine for those stats.
McGee will be matched against Sacramento center Willie Cauley-Stein, who delivered 10 points and a career-high 18 rebounds in a 116-110 win against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, but he was held to three points and no rebounds against the Suns.
Cauley-Stein had a double-double in two of three meetings against the Lakers this season, and finished one rebound short in the other.
The Lakers will be without guard Josh Hart (knee) and power forward Mike Muscala is questionable (ankle), but LeBron James is probable (left knee contusion).
The Lakers have 10 games remaining, nine against teams that weren't eliminated from playoff contention as of Saturday. They'll need to win four of those games to match last season's 35-win total.
"We got to keep playing hard and find a way to scrap the next win out because it's the only way to get off the type of skid that we're on," Walton said.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 24, 2019