Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins is averaging 17.3 points and 9.8 rebounds. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)
The Lakers (6-5) visit the Sacramento Kings (2-8) on Wednesday night, their second game on consecutive nights.
This will actually be the fifth time these two teams meet after three preseason battles (all to the Kings) and the recent Sacramento visit (and loss) to Los Angeles on Nov. 11.
While the Lakers won the most recent matchup, 103-90, the Kings were without both DeMarcus Cousins and rookie Thomas Robinson. The meeting in Sacramento will be a real challenge for the Lakers, even if the Kings haven't impressed much this season.
The Lakers will once again play without Steve Nash and Steve Blake, with second-year guard Darius Morris likely to start at the point.
Cousins missed the last battle between the two teams, which certainly helped the Lakers. He's one of the most powerful young centers in the league.
While Cousins has a low shooting percentage for a big (43.1%), he's one of the few centers athletic enough to test Howard.
Will Howard, working his way back into peak condition after back surgery, be strong enough on the back-to-back to overpower Cousins?
Against a younger, athletic team like the Kings, Jordan Hill's size and energy off the bench should help. Especially with the second game in two nights, the Lakers need Hill to help add possessions with his knack for rebounding.
The Kings need some outside shooting and Jimmer Fredette is starting to show the touch that made him a college sensation.
The Lakers are vulnerable, records aside, against the Kings.
Still, it's about time for the Lakers get their first road win of the season.
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You can email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.