Preview: Lakers at Sacramento Kings

Lakers beat the Kings the first time around this season, but Sacramento star center DeMarucs Cousins is back

The Lakers (8-18) recently defeated the Sacramento Kings (11-15) at Staples Center. The Kings will get a rematch on Sunday night, this time with their star center DeMarcus Cousins -- who missed 10 games with viral meningitis.

Cousins made his return on Thursday night, scoring 27 points with 11 rebounds and five assists in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Lakers may be without Nick Young, who was ejected during the team's loss Friday to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Young was called for a flagrant foul 2 after hitting Steven Adams with a forearm -- a suspension could be coming.

The team is still down Xavier Henry (Achilles), Ryan Kelly (hamstring), Steve Nash (back) and Julius Randle (leg).

Key matchup

Cousins is one of the top big men in the league, averaging 23.7 points and 12.5 rebounds.

The Kings have a 9-7 record with Cousins but were just 2-8 without him.

The Lakers will counter with Jordan Hill, Ed Davis, Robert Sacre and Carlos Boozer.

Kobe Bryant is the Lakers' primary scorer. Sacramento has Rudy Gay, Darren Collison and Cousins for the Lakers to try to contain.

X-factor

Collison was a force when the teams met on Dec. 9, scoring 26 points in the Lakers' 98-95 victory.

The former UCLA Bruin and Clipper hit 11 of 18 shots while dishing six assists. The Lakers survived, but Collison was a problem.

The Lakers need strong defensive performances from Ronnie Price and Jeremy Lin.

The pair scored just five against the Kings, both hitting one of five attempts.

Outlook

The Kings are still reeling after Mike Malone was fired, with Ty Corbin steeping in as interim head coach.

Sacramento has lost five in a row, giving the Lakers a reasonable chance to steal a win on the road -- but if Young is indeed suspended, that may be a difficult task.

With Cousins back, the Kings are a talented squad, capable of pulling up from their recent swoon. The Lakers have yet to prove they can win consistently this season.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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