LOS ANGELES There is drama surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers which seems to be the norm.
The Lakers made news Friday by firing coach Mike Brown after a 1-4 start. They responded by blowing out the Warriors under the direction of interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff, who will guide them tonight against the Kings at Staples Center.
Saturday, the Lakers met with Sacramento nemesis Phil Jackson about returning as their coach. Former Phoenix and New York coach Mike D'Antoni also has been mentioned as a candidate.
"At the end of the day, old coach, new coach, they've got the same players," Kings forward Jason Thompson said. "It's not like they had a blockbuster trade or something like that. They've still got the same personnel. They might tweak some things, but we've just got to play our game, worry about defense and let the offense come."
The Kings are familiar with this Lakers squad. They beat Los Angeles three times in the exhibition season.
The Lakers had their entire roster available for just one of those games. All-Star center Dwight Howard missed the first preseason meeting as he worked his way back from back surgery, and guard Kobe Bryant sat out the third one.
Point guard Steve Nash, the other All-Star pickup for the Lakers, played only the first half of the third preseason meeting and will not play tonight because of a bone fracture in his leg.
The Kings will rely on the continuity the Lakers currently lack and their experience from the exhibition games to try to beat the Lakers when it matters.
"Obviously (the preseason wins) didn't count, but we know what they can do and can't do," Thompson said. "We've just got to go out there and get our first road win."
More success against Lakers The preseason isn't the only time the Kings have done well against the Lakers.
The Kings have won three of their last five games against the Lakers, including two of three last season.
The Kings beat the Lakers in the season opener and closed the season with a victory over them when Brown rested several key players. Bryant sat out the game even though he had a chance to win the NBA scoring title.