Kings to wel­come LeBron, Lak­ers

The Sacramento Bee - - Sports - BY NOEL HAR­RIS nhar­ris@sacbee.com

The Kings are pre­par­ing to play host to the “King” for the first time this sea­son.

When LeBron James and the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers visit Golden 1 Cen­ter on Satur­day for the first time this sea­son, it will be James’ first game in Sacra­mento with a West­ern Con­fer­ence club.

It will be a much dif­fer­ent scene than his first reg­u­lar-sea­son NBA game, when an 18-yearold James and the Cleve­land Cava­liers lost 106-92 to the Kings at Arco Arena on Oct. 29, 2003.

Now, teams led by James are 20-9 against the Kings, in­clud­ing a 9-5 record in Sacra­mento.

“He’s great,” Kings rookie for­ward Harry Giles III said when asked about James dur­ing the pre­sea­son. “He’s one of the am­bas­sadors of the league ... rep­re­sents him­self well on and off the court and a great fam­ily guy. He’s some­body you strive to be like.”

This isn’t the first time the Kings will see James in pur­ple and gold. The teams met at Sta­ples Cen­ter for a pre­sea­son game, won 128-123 by the hosts. In nearly 16 first-half min­utes, James had 18 points, four as­sists and three re­bounds be­fore rest­ing the sec­ond half.

Speak­ing of rest, the Lak­ers should have plenty of it head­ing into Satur­day’s game. Los An­ge­les last played Wed­nes­day, when they beat the same Tim­ber­wolves team Sacra­mento hosted Fri­day night.

As for the Kings, they will face the Lak­ers to cap their third back-to-back of the sea­son. This will be the only time both games are played at home. In all, Sacra­mento has 14 in­stances in 2018-19 in which the team plays on con­sec­u­tive days.

So far, that hasn’t been a prob­lem for the Kings. They won both games on the back end of the backto-back, de­feat­ing the Mem­phis Griz­zlies at home on Oct. 24 and the Or­lando Magic on Oct.

30.

Ex­pect a fast game. En­ter­ing Fri­day, the Kings

(6-5) and Lak­ers (5-6) ranked sec­ond and third, re­spec­tively, in pace. The At­lanta Hawks – a team the Kings beat Nov. 1 and the Lak­ers face Sun­day – re­mains No. 1, as they were when Sacra­mento vis­ited State Farm Arena.

Fan in­ter­est in the Kings-Lak­ers con­tin­ues to be high, as ev­i­denced on ticket-sale sites. On Fri­day af­ter­noon, Tick Pick showed prices for Satur­day’s matchup av­er­ag­ing about three times more than Fri­day, and five­fold over Mon­day’s game against the San An­to­nio Spurs.

The “get-in” price for the Lak­ers game fluc­tu­ated be­tween $119 and $132 early Fri­day af­ter­noon. Tick­ets for the Tim­ber­wolves game ranged be­tween $35 and $46.

The get-in price rep­re­sents the “cheap­est tick­ets avail­able for each par­tic­u­lar game,” ac­cord­ing to Branded PR’s Jonathan Gluskin, who added that the Lak­ers game is pricier “given its sig­nif­i­cantly higher de­mand on the sec­ondary mar­ket.”

StubHub had Lak­ers tick­ets “from $99” while prices for the Tim­ber­wolves were “from $28.”

The in­ter­est in the Lak­ers isn’t com­ing just from the fans. Just be­fore Hal­loween, the Kings poked fun at their South­ern Cal­i­for­nia ri­vals on so­cial me­dia.

Fans were asked on In­sta­gram “Which is worse?” be­tween candy corn and the Lak­ers. The post had more than 57,000 likes and 4,100 com­ments as of Fri­day af­ter­noon.

If Sacra­mento can im­prove to 3-0 this sea­son in the sec­ond game of backto-backs, it’ll be a sweet vic­tory against a team many Kings fans love to hate.

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