Kings-Lakers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 10, 2012
While rumors continue to swirl about the possible return of Phil Jackson to the bench, the Los Angeles Lakers are keeping their focus on trying to move past their slow start. The Lakers will attempt to move one step closer to the .500 mark when they welcome the Sacramento Kings to Staples Center on Sunday night. With the additions of superstars Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, expectations were sky high for Los Angeles to contend for another NBA title, but a 1-4 start cost coach Mike Brown his job. The Lakers made the move only several hours before facing Golden State on Friday but produced an inspired 101-77 rout with interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff guiding the team. "It was sad to see Mike go, but we just got to keep moving forward. We have to stay together," Howard said. "It's early in the season, and we're still trying to learn each other's game. "Expectations are very high for this team. Management did what it had to do. It's on us to try to get better every day and continue to play hard and string some wins together." Bickerstaff's tenure could be short as Jackson, who won five of his 11 NBA titles with the Lakers, spoke with the team about returning for a third stint Saturday. He claimed two of those championships in 2009 and 2010 before stepping down the next season. ''Knowing him the way I do, I think it's really just a matter of health, if he feels physically up to doing it,'' Kobe Bryant said Friday night. ''He's a perfectionist. We all know he's a perfectionist. If he feels like he can come in here and give what he demands from himself, then I think he would be interested.'' Bickerstaff, though, is expected to lead the Lakers (2-4) as they seek their first win streak of the season in Sunday's game against the Kings (2-4), who opened the season with three consecutive road losses. Sacramento bounced back with two victories to open a homestand but couldn't finish that off with another win Friday as it shot a season-low 35.2 percent in a 97-86 loss to San Antonio. "I think we have to focus more on just seeing the ball go through the net and stop rushing things," said guard Marcus Thornton, who tied Jason Thompson for the scoring lead with 17 points. "I know I'm rushing a lot of shots. We have to hold ourselves accountable on the offensive end and make it happen." The Kings have made enough happen to win three of the past five matchups with the Lakers after losing eight in a row and they've scored 100 or more points in all five of those games. Thornton has appeared in three of those games and averaged 25.0 points on 56.0 percent shooting while DeMarcus Cousins has double-doubles in four of his last five games against Los Angeles. Bryant has scored 38 points in each of his last two home games against Sacramento and has averaged 33.3 in his past nine overall matchups. The Lakers have won seven of the past eight meetings at Staples Center, taking last season's only matchup there 115-107 on March 2. They'll have to try to earn another win without Nash, who is expected to miss another week due to a small fracture in his leg. The Kings, meanwhile, won't have top draft pick Thomas Robinson available as he completes a two-game suspension for elbowing Detroit's Jonas Jerebko during a 105-103 victory Wednesday.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Le’Veon Bell vows to win appeal: ‘I’m not going to miss games’

Dallas Cowboys' team employee bus involved in fatal crash

Aldon Smith posts video under a pseudonym of a blunt on Periscope

WATCH: Cam Newton get blocked by a girl playing volleyball

Russia avoids complete ban from Rio Olympics by the IOC

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Padres trying to move Andrew Cashner, Derek Norris

Baseball's top prospect called up to majors by Astros

Report: Braves 'aggressively' shopping Francoeur, Aybar

Report: Hue Jackson designing plays for Terrelle Pryor

Report: Darnell Dockett expected to announce retirement

Report: Yankees have not discussed releasing A-Rod

Top storyline for each NFL team heading into training camp

Eight MLB veterans that need to be traded before deadline

Andre the Giant drank six bottles of wine before match?

Cristiano Ronaldo spars with Conor McGregor in gym

Adam Silver is the new standard-bearer for league commisioners

Iowa football player held at gunpoint by police while playing Pokemon Go

Eight most significant injuries going into NFL training camp

Man. U players banned from playing 'Pokemon Go?'

Ken Griffey Jr. put on backwards hat during HOF speech

Mike Piazza honors 9/11 victims during Hall of Fame speech

Jeremy Lin hints he is racially profiled by arena employees

Why did Rio mayor offer to put kangaroo in Olympic village?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker