Lakers hoping Caldwell-Pope excels again vs. Kings
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has played well against the Sacramento Kings this season, and the veteran shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers should have fresh legs when the teams meet Sunday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Caldwell-Pope is averaging 23.3 points in three games against the Kings this season. He scored his season-high of 34 points in a 113-108 win in Sacramento on Feb. 24, lifting the Lakers to a 2-1 mark against the Kings this season.
Caldwell-Pope played just 16 minutes Friday night after he was ejected late in the second quarter for arguing a non-call in a 124-122 overtime loss to the visiting Milwaukee Bucks, which guaranteed a fifth consecutive losing season for the Lakers (33-42).
The Kings (24-53) ended a six-game homestand with a 112-96 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.
They were up against a Golden State team that welcomed back All-Star guard Klay Thompson, who had missed the previous eight games with a fractured thumb, and All Star forward Kevin Durant played his first full game since March 14. Durant had 27 points and 10 rebounds, and Thompson scored 25 points.
Another injury took center stage, however.
Sacramento veteran guard Vince Carter was called for a flagrant 1 foul on a play in which Golden State forward Patrick McGaw had to be taken off on a stretcher. McGaw was fouled by Carter while making a layup for a 19-point lead late in the third quarter and came down awkwardly.
“After that happened, the game certainly had a lot of air taken out of it,” Sacramento coach Dave Joerger said.
The Lakers continue to be beset by injuries as well.
Brandon Ingram returned against the Bucks after missing 12 games because of a groin injury and sustained a concussion during the loss. Ingram, the team’s second-leading scorer (16.1), was placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol on Saturday and won’t be available against the Kings.
Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball is doubtful after sustaining a bone bruise to his left knee in a win against the visiting Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday and missing the loss to Milwaukee. Ball, who leads the team in assists (7.2) and is second in rebounds (6.9), missed 15 games from mid-January until late-February with a sprained MCL in the same knee.
Rookie Josh Hart returned against Milwaukee after missing 14 games with a hand injury and finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
“It’s difficult at times,” Hart said of the persistent injuries that have plagued the Lakers of late. “You have different lineups, lineups that haven’t played with each other too much, and it’s like one guy comes back and two go out. It’s been a lot with this season, but at the end of the day, we are professionals and you can’t control those kind of things. What we control is effort, our defense and how we go about games. It’s part of basketball.”
The Lakers didn’t go down easily against the Bucks after falling behind by 20 points late in the third quarter. They finished with a 29-15 run to force overtime.
Rookie Kyle Kuzma continues to play well for the Lakers. He scored 27 points against the Bucks and is averaging 23.2 in the past six games while shooting 50.5 percent from the floor.