Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

December 26, 2011
Wespthal: Lakers present different challenge without Bynum

Kings coach Paul Westphal discusses preparing for the Lakers.

Did being able to watch the Los Angeles Lakers play their season opener on Sunday give the Kings a leg up in preparing for tonight's game at Power Balance Pavilion? Not much, coach Paul Westphal said.

"We still have to defend people, not systems," Westphal said after the Kings' shootaround this morning. "They present a couple real big problems and they've got a lot of good really good three-point shooters to protect (Kobe) Bryant and (Pau) Gasol, and it'll be a huge challenge for our whole team."

One big problem that the Lakers normally present will be sidelined tonight - center Andrew Bynum is serving the second game of a four-game suspension. While that's a loss for Los Angeles in terms of inside presence, Westphal argued the Lakers gain something as well with Bynum out.

"They certainly lose size, an inside player who can go for big numbers both on the boards and scoring," Westphal said. "It makes it tougher to defend when you have two great post players as well as three-point shooting all around them and Kobe Bryant on top of that.

"When Bynum's not there, I think it makes them able to spread the floor better because they've got players who can knock down threes and sometimes some of our bigs aren't used to covering out there. It gives them a different look."

* Lakers coach Mike Brown said Kobe Bryant, who scored 28 points against the Chicago Bulls with a torn ligament in his right wrist, is expected to play tonight.

Westphal said that guarding Bryant will be a team-wide assignment, but acknowledged that Kings forward John Salmons will be on Bryant "a lot."

"I think there are times a lot of other players will be on him," Westphal said. "But that's certainly one guy we can use extensively."

* Westphal said the Kings roster is healthy.

Kings guard Marcus Thornton talks about the excitement leading up to the Kings' season opener tonight.

-- Matt Kawahara

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