LeBron speaks about the ‘key’ defensively ahead of critical matchup vs. Kings

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read
Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James shared what he thinks the key is for the Lakers on the defensive end of the floor against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

The Lakers lost their last game against the Kings on March 6, giving up 130 points at Crypto.com Arena.

“Transition, obviously, that’s a big part,” James said of the key defensively for Los Angeles. “They have a lot of guard speed that creates a lot of problems for a lot of teams – including us – so far this season, obviously with [De’Aaron] Fox and [Malik] Monk and [Davion] Mitchell. We gotta do a better job of getting our bodies in front of those guys, making them take more contested shots. I think we allowed Fox in that last game – especially in that third quarter – to do basically a one-man fast break against our defense.

“It started with Monk too in that second. He came in and just gave them a spark. We won every quarter of that game except for the second, but they just completely took over the game.”

Unfortunately for James and the Lakers, the team lost the second quarter by 24 points (44-20), and it proved to be too big of a deficit for the team to overcome.

Fox finished the game with 44 points on 19-of-32 shooting from the field (2-for-6 from beyond the arc), four rebounds, four assists and two steals on March 6. Monk was huge off the bench as well, scoring 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting (3-for-5 from 3) to go along with eight assists.

The Kings clearly can score the ball at a high rate, ranking 11th in the NBA in offensive rating so far this season. The team also loves to push the pace, clocking in at No. 12 in the NBA in that statistic.

Los Angeles has yet to beat the Kings this season, losing by five in overtime in the first meeting, 15 points in the second meeting and 10 points on March 6.

With the Lakers sitting just two games back of the Kings in the Western Conference standings, this is a massive game for both sides. Los Angeles currently holds the No. 9 seed in the West while the Kings (the No. 7 seed in the West) are 0.5 games back of the Phoenix Suns for the No. 6 seed.

James, who left the last meeting between these teams with an ankle injury, was great against the Kings on March 6. The four-time champion finished the game with 31 points, 13 assists and five rebounds while shooting an efficient 10-for-16 from the field.

Hopefully, the Lakers can fix their issues on the defensive side of the ball so they don’t waste another big scoring game from James on Wednesday.

The Lakers and Kings are scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. PST from Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.

Share This Article
Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.