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Kings Take a Page from the Lakers Playbook

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This was not seen much by Kings' fans Saturday night. (LAist/Jimmy Bramlett)
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The Kings and the Lakers have a lot of things in common right now. On Friday night the Lakers shot 19% from the field in a ten-point first quarter of their 92-80 loss to the Orlando Magic, their offensive woes becoming more glaring having only scored in triple-digits once this season. Of course it’s hard to have any offensive continuity when it comprises of only one player.

Similarly the Kings have fallen into the same rut. The first line for the Kings - Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams - has been carrying the load with three goals and three assists in their last three games. However one line a team does not make, and the Colorado Avalanche took advantage with their 3-1 domination over the Kings.

“It’s hard to get shots when you don’t have everyone playing the right way,” Captain Dustin Brown said after the loss. “It’s going to take 20 guys. Tonight I don’t think we had 20 - that’s the bottom line.”

That was evident as the Kings’ energy level was sorely lacking right from the first period recording only four shots-on-goal.

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“When you play a team like Colorado, they’re a run-and-gun team,” Justin Williams said. “If you don’t have everybody working together wanting the puck and supporting the puck, then you’re going to be in your own end a lot.”

“It’s hard to get shots when you’re in the defensive zone,” Brown muttered.

One of the rare moments of light for the Kings came early in the second period thanks to the first line. With the game still scoreless and the Kings looking listless, Anze Kopitar took the rebound to the right of the crease on Dustin Brown’s wrister and sunk it past Avs’ netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere who was out of position for the first score of the game.

But with the Kings fumbling around with the puck in their offensive zone, Stefan Elliott made a long pass to Cody McLeod who broke behind the Kings’ defensemen for a breakaway goal to tie the game midway through the second. The Avs then capped the period with the go-ahead goal from their hero Wednesday night Peter Mueller in his second game back from missing 40 games with concussion symptoms.

“Ultimately they wore us down in our own arena which is ultimately very upsetting,” Williams said.

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Giguere seemed at home in the crease against the Kings only having to make 25 saves. The former Anaheim Duck’s 38th career game played against the Kings yielded his 18th victory over the Kings, the most against any opponent.

As for the Kings’ netminder Jonathan Quick, it wasn’t a happy 26th birthday. After giving up a power-play goal to Gabriel Landeskog late in the third period, the frustration got to him as he slashed Daniel Winnik.

“That’s the first time I’ve seen it,” Kings’ head coach Darryl Sutter commented on Quick’s display of frustration. Sutter wasn’t too worried about the frustration spilling over saying, “He’s a competitor.”

It boils down to one thing for the Kings. As summarized by Brown, “We’ve got to find a way to score goals.” And so goes the enigma that has plagued the team all season long. It’s clear that having only one productive line will not get things done for the team.

Down in Anaheim the picture is rosier. Winners of six of their last seven, the lone loss an overtime loss in Calgary, the Ducks managed another win at the Ponda against their 2007 Stanley Cup Finals combatants Ottawa Senators 2-1. While it might be too little too late after the huge hole they dug themselves into, perhaps it’s not too far-fetched their big problem was the loss of Jason Blake?

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In college basketball action, UCLA lost to Oregon 75-68 on the most ridiculous looking court in all of basketball. Cal Poly creamed CSUN 100-54. In a game where neither school has a “d” in their name or their game, Cal State Fullerton scratched past UC Irvine 92-84. USC still can’t win on the road losing to Oregon State 78-59. And the horror of all horrors, my UCSB Gauchos lost to Long Beach State 71-48. Fortunately for them, Del Playa is calling.

TONIGHT’S ACTION
Toronto Raptors at LA Clippers. 12:30 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 980 KFWB.
Indiana Pacers at LA Lakers. 6:30 p.m. FSWest, AM 710 KSPN.
Colorado Avalanche at Anaheim Ducks. 5:00 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 830 KLAA.

NFL Schedule
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots. 12:00 noon CBS, AM 570 KLAC.
New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers. 3:30 p.m. Fox, AM 570 KLAC.