(SportsNetwork.com) - Two lottery-bound Western Conference squads begin a home-and-home series to finish the season Monday night when the Sacramento Kings host the Los Angeles Lakers at Sleep Train Arena.
Monday's matchup will not feature Kobe Bryant, or DeMarcus Cousins, or Rudy Gay for that matter as these two teams finish out the string. They'll meet Wednesday at the Staples Center.
The Kings were recently swept on a three-game road trip with setbacks to the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and, on Sunday, the Denver Nuggets, 122-111.
Omri Casspi totaled 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Kings, who have dropped eight of nine overall and their last six on the road.
Sacramento suddenly went cold in the third, making just two field goals over the first 6 1/2 minutes, and the Nuggets took advantage with a 22-9 run.
"They took a big lead on us and we couldn't come back," Casspi said.
The Kings announced before the game they will hold out All-Star center Cousins and Gay the rest of the season. Cousins is dealing with a right ankle injury, and Gay is still experiencing concussion-like symptoms.
The Lakers have lost six of their last seven, punctuated by Sunday's defeat at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, 120-106, at the Staples Center.
Los Angeles, which has dropped two in a row on the road, was led by Jordan Clarkson, who ended with 26 points and six assists for the Lakers.
Jabari Brown and Wesley Johnson recorded 18 and 16 points, respectively, while Tarik Black had 10 points and 19 rebounds.
"I just saw the ball coming off the board and paid attention to all of them," Black said. "I saw that our game was slow rebounding, and I knew we had to step up the effort, so that's what I did."
Dallas scored the first six points of the third quarter to make it a 68-57 game. The Mavs led by as many as 14 in the period before taking an 89-82 lead into the fourth.
The Mavericks outscored the Lakers by a 31-24 margin in the final period.
The teams have split the first two meetings of the season with the home team prevailing. The Kings are 5-2 versus the Lakers in the last seven contests in Sacramento.