Kings visit Lakers in pursuit of fourth straight win

LOS ANGELES — The Sacramento Kings will attempt to match a season-high four-game winning streak when they play the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

The Kings (22-32) capped a six-game homestand on Sunday with their third straight decision in a 105-99 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. That allowed the Kings to finish 4-2 at home, where they also defeated the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks.

It also marked the first time that Sacramento won three consecutive games since they posted four in a row from Dec. 20 to Dec. 26.

All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins remains the pivotal performer for the Kings. Cousins, who is averaging 27.8 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, delivered 28 points, 14 boards and seven assists against the Pelicans. Despite his steller play, Cousins’ antics have overshadowed it.

Cousins leads the NBA with 17 technical fouls, matching his total of last season. He already served an automatic one-game suspension for accumulating 16 technicals, and his next one will result in him being suspended again.

“It’s obvious I can’t be myself,” Cousins told the Sacramento Bee after the win over the Pelicans. “Me playing how I play is what makes me the player that I am. Obviously, it’s not acceptable, so I’m trying to find a way to, you know, do what these guys are asking me to do. It’s not easy, but I’m trying to find a way.”

Kings coach Dave Joerger will be closely watching.

“It’ll be interesting to see his approach,” Joerger said.

The Lakers (19-37) are approaching the game hoping to generate some carryover from one of their best performances of the season.

Los Angeles posted a 122-114 on Friday over the Bucks in Milwaukee by scoring a season-best 47 points in the first quarter and 76 in the first half.

“We were sharing (the ball), trusting each other,” said Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr., who had 11 points and five rebounds. “It was just beautiful basketball.”

Lakers basketball hasn’t been a thing of beauty for much of the season, but it has been better than last season when they set a franchise record with only 17 wins. Since Jan. 10, the Lakers are 4-11.

However, they logged two of those victories in their last three outings after coach Luke Walton shook up his lineup by benching starting center Timofey Mozgov and forward Luol Deng and inserting Tarik Black in the middle and rookie Brandon Ingram in Deng’s spot.

Injuries continue to be an issue for Los Angeles. Guards Jordan Clarkson (right thumb sprain), D’Angelo Russell (sore left knee) and Lou Williams (mild right ankle sprain) are ailing, but all three are listed as probable.

The Lakers have split two meetings with the Kings, claiming the initial one 101-91 on Nov. 10 at Sleep Train Arena. The Kings, though, captured a 116-92 win on Dec. 12 at Sacramento. Cousins topped all scorers in the latter game with 31 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

Cousins is averaging 29.5 points and 13 rebounds this season against the Lakers, who have lost three straight to the Kings at Staples.