Kings

NBA Gameday: Who on the Kings will defend Antetokounmpo?

NBA Gameday: Who on the Kings will defend Antetokounmpo?

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings return home to Golden 1 Center Wednesday night to face the upstart Milwaukee Bucks. After three games on the road, the Kings will play one in front of the Sacramento crowd before heading back out on the road Friday when they face the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

Dave Joerger and his young core of Kings have gone 3-10 since the All-Star break, but they compete on a nightly basis and are showing promise. Rookies Skal Labissiere, Buddy Hield and Georgios Papagiannis have each had breakout games and second-year big Willie Cauley-Stein is posting 13.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 32.5 minutes since the big roster shake up in late February.

The Bucks are 9-2 over their previous 11 games, surging into the playoff conversation after a rough start to the season. Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the way for a young Milwaukee team that has had to adjust on the fly after another devastating injury to forward Jabari Parker.

OPENING LINE:
Bucks by 5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
? vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo -- It’s the same question we asked when these two teams met in the first two weeks of the 2016-17 season, only it’s a little more difficult to answer. Rudy Gay is done for the year, Matt Barnes is a Warriors and Omri Casspi plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves. What is left at the small forward position is a collection of undersized wings that will face one of the league’s best young small forwards. At 6-foot-11, Antetokounmpo plays like a guard, but can put you on a poster in the blink of an eye. If the Greek Freak gets loose, it’s going to be a long night for Sacramento.

WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 27-43, third place in Pacific

Bucks: 35-35, third place in Central

INJURY REPORT:
Kings: SF Tyreke Evans (ankle) will play, C Kosta Koufos (rest) is out, PG Ty Lawson (rest) is out, SG Malachi Richardson (hamstring) is out, F Rudy Gay (ruptured left Achilles) is out.

Bucks: F Jabari Parker (knee) out, F Michael Beasley (knee) out.

SERIES HISTORY:
Milwaukee leads the season series 1-0 over Sacramento after beating the Kings 117-91 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Nov. 5. The Kings own a 28-27 lead over the Bucks during the Sacramento-era.

QUOTE:
“I’m blessed and excited and happy to have this opportunity to have a beautiful young baby girl in my life right now. It changes a lot for me right now. I’m definitely in a state of shock and at a loss for words. At this point, I’m just like, man, I’m really a father. It’s a dream come true.” -Ben McLemore on the birth of his first child, Teagan Joyce McLemore

Kings takeaways: What we learned from surprising loss to Lakers

Kings takeaways: What we learned from surprising loss to Lakers

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES -- In a game of runs, the Sacramento Kings ran out of gas Sunday evening at Staples Center. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Kings couldn’t buy a bucket the entire night.

Sacramento continued to hang around throughout the game, but Kyle Kuzma put up huge numbers and LeBron James notched his 81st career-triple double to hand the Kings a 111-106 loss.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings dropped back under the .500 mark on the season at 36-37.

Energizer Bunny

Marvin Bagley has springs in his legs, even when the rest of the roster doesn’t. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Kings’ rookie big looked fresh. The 20-year-old rolled through the Lakers' defense, scoring 25 points on 10-for-19 shooting in 36 minutes. He added 11 rebounds and a block, but it wasn’t enough to come away with the win. Since returning from injury, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft is crushing it, averaging over 19 points and eight rebounds per game.

A third to forget

The Kings couldn’t buy a bucket early, but they slowly came around in the second quarter to take a 49-48 lead into the half. Los Angeles came out hot in third and ran the Kings off the court. Led by the hot shooting of Kuzma, the Lakers outscored the Kings 39-28 in the period to take a 10-point lead into fourth. Kuzma torched the Kings for 21 of his 29 points in the 12-minute stretch, hitting 7-of-8 from the field and 4-for-5 from long range.

The Rally

Sacramento looked dead in the water coming out of the third, but the Kings never stop playing. Bagley and Bogdan Bogdanovic kept the Kings afloat in the fourth to make things interesting. After trailing by as many as 17 in the third, the Kings reduced the Lakers' lead all the way down to two multiple times in the final three minutes, but they couldn’t get the big shot to fall when they needed it.

Kings vs. Lakers live stream: How to watch NBA game online and on MyTeams

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NBC Sports Bay Area staff

Kings vs. Lakers live stream: How to watch NBA game online and on MyTeams

The Lakers have a slight (and we mean very slight) advantage over the Kings as the teams prep for a matchup in the City of Angels.

Los Angeles has gone 2-1 against the Kings this season -- so that's about as intimidating the Lakers are at the moment. 

The Kings enter Sunday's game 5 1/2 games behind the Spurs which sets them at eighth place in the Western Conference. 

Buddy Hield heads into the game with a bit of confidence knowing he broke Peja Stojakavic's franchise record of three-pointers in a single season.

“Getting the record from Peja, he left a mark on this franchise, it’s pretty big,” Hield told NBC Sports California's James Ham. “It’s something special. Hope I can keep it for many years, but who knows. There’s always going to be some other kid that’s going to come up and break records.”

Here's how you can watch Kings-Lakers, as well as NBC Sports California's pregame and postgame coverage, live on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app. 

When: 6:30 p.m. PT on Sunday, March 24 (pregame show starts at 6:00 p.m.)
Live Stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app