Michael Beasley returns to the lineup and to the arena where he scored 42 points in a game last season, but just when he comes back, starting center Nikola Pekovic goes out again with that sore ankle that has been bothering him.

One bit of good news: Kings guard Tyreke Evans is inactive right along with Pekovic because of a sprained ankle.

Pekovic said before this afternoon's 5 p.m. game (Twin Cities time) that the ankle got really sore late in Friday's game at L.A. and it's clearly still hurting him today.

And he didn't look none too pleased about it, either.

Beasley missed two games after injuring a big toe on Monday in Phoenix, but he warmed up before today's game and declared himself ready to play.

He scored that career-high 42 in here -- way back when Power Balance Pavilion was still Arco Arena, I believe -- in Nov. 2010.

Does he have another 42 points in him for a second unit that really could use some punch?

"I've got a lot of 42s left in me," he said before the game.

Rick Adelman has talked often about how important this 7-game, 13-day trip is to his team's playoff aspirations.

These next two games -- today at Sacramento, Monday night at Golden State -- will define this trip.