Things have been pretty rough this season for the Los Angeles Lakers, who are on pace for their worst record since moving west from Minneapolis in 1960.
The Lakers find themselves on the brink of losing 50 games for the first time in nearly 40 years when they visit the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
Los Angeles (25-49) couldn’t get much going on the defensive end Tuesday in a 124-112 defeat against Portland and now has its highest loss total since going 33-49 in 1993-94.
With eight games left in the regular season, the Lakers are virtually assured of cracking the 50-loss plateau, something that hasn’t happened since the 1974-75 season (30-52). To get a sense of just how long ago that was, Pat Riley was on that season’s roster.
Even amid their overall struggles in 2013-14, the Lakers have taken care of things against the Kings, winning the first three meetings despite allowing 102.7 points per game to their Pacific Division rivals.
The biggest issue all season for Los Angeles has been defense. The Lakers are among the worst teams in the league with an average 108.9 points allowed.
Overall, the Lakers have won five straight against Sacramento, but they enter this matchup having lost five straight road games.
Los Angeles allowed the Trail Blazers to score at least 28 points in every quarter of Tuesday’s loss. Portland’s Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge combined for 65 points to waste a 40-point night from Lakers reserve guard Nick Young.
Young made his first eight shots and finished 15 of 26 from the field.
"I didn’t know I made my first eight shots," he said. "I just got into a zone. I got into a rhythm kind of fast."
The Kings (26-48) could use a big game from DeMarcus Cousins to snap their skid against the Lakers.
Cousins matched his season high with 35 points to go along with 14 rebounds in a 102-97 win at New Orleans on Monday. He was especially efficient in the third quarter, making all seven of his shots in the period while scoring 16 points.
Rookie point guard Ray McCallum also played well, scoring a career-best 22 points while dishing out 10 assists with only one turnover. Since being moved into the starting lineup March 26 while starter Isaiah Thomas deals with a right quad contusion, McCallum has averaged 15.3 points.
"I got a great opportunity in front of me," McCallum said. "Coach (Michael Malone) gave me the opportunity to play. I want to make the most of it and perform well for me and my team and try to do anything I can to help the team win."
Both Thomas and his Lakers counterpart, Steve Nash, may miss the contest because of injuries. Nash sprained his left ankle in the second quarter versus Portland and did not return, the latest in a series of injuries he has battled this season.
The Lakers last swept the Kings in 2009-10, the last time they hoisted the NBA championship trophy at the end of the season.