SACRAMENTO – LeBron James will visit the capital of California for the first time on Saturday night when the Los Angeles Lakers meet the Sacramento Kings.
The four-time NBA Most Valuable Player has appeared 13 times in Sacramento for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat in the past 15 seasons, winning nine times.
His last visit was a personal success when he set up a triple-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists last December. However, the kings defeated Cleveland 109-95 behind 24 points over another NBA legend, Vince Carter.
James will make two visits to Sacramento this season as a new member of the Western Conference. The Lakers will return on December 27th.
This time James will play against a Kings team playing at home for the second night in a row.
The kickoff of the set went well. Willie Cauley-Stein scored 25 points while De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield wore a 121-110 double against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Sacramento's balance has helped overcome a 39-point explosion by Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns.
The kings have recently improved their depth by extending the regular change to two-way player Troy Williams.
He was picked up by the bank for 20 minutes in the Minnesota game, scoring eight points and three rebounds.
There is no ideal counterpart for James, but at 6ft 7 Williams has the opportunity to get a shot.
"He's big, he can jump over somebody, shoot the ball (and) on his body," said Kings coach Dave Joerger this week. "I think he gives us something else to do some flexibility."
The Lakers also have a bit of a new look. Veterans' Center Tyson Chandler was added as a free agent earlier this week after being bought by the Phoenix Suns.
The 36-year-old native Californian and starter JaVale McGee gave the Lakers 18 points and 12 rebounds from the middle position when they scored the 114-10 home win over Minnesota on Wednesday.
"I think that helps us stabilize," Lakers coach Luke Walton said of Chandler, who had spent 23 minutes in his Los Angeles debut in Los Angeles. "I think it will help make us more of the consistent team that we want to be defensive and restful."
James had 24 points, Kyle Kuzma 21 and Brandon Ingram 20 the victory.
The Lakers, who won five out of eight after a 3-0 victory, won on their last visit to Sacramento when they defeated Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's 34-point night in February with a win of 113-108.
Los Angeles will probably be Lonzo Ball without a starting post who sprained an ankle while training.
He recorded double-doubles as a rookie in both meetings with the Kings last season, including a rare rebound / assists double-double (11 each) in a home win last January.
The injury, which is not considered serious, occurred when Ball trounced a teammate during team coaching on Friday.