"We are aware that there is a smoke problem," a Kings spokesman told ESPN shortly before tipoff.
In order to combat the conditions, arena workers manning the entrances when ticket holders arrived were instructed to keep the doors closed as much as possible during the pregame window, the spokesman added.
"Not to sound dumb, but this kind of snuck up on everybody," said Kings coach Dave Joerger. "From wherever you're coming in from [you notice the smoke]. Today I immediately started calling our staff: 'How bad is it downtown? What's going on here?' It's just a really sad deal."
The fire began on Thursday and has already destroyed the town of Paradise, resulting in the deaths of 23 people, according to Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.
Several members of the Lakers said they could see the fire burning from the plane on their flight from L.A. to Sacramento on Friday.
A faint, hazy smoke was visible in the arena at shootaround Saturday morning.
"You can smell it," said LeBron James. "We haven't really gotten up and down [running] like that to the point where you can tell it affects you or not but anytime smoke is around, you know it can affect all of us. Not only us as athletes but everyone. Everyone gets affected by pollution."
Joerger said the Kings were monitoring the situation from noon until tipoff at 7 p.m. PT.
"I'm no scientist, but smoke goes to the lowest places, doesn't it? Like it's heavy?" Joerger said. "And it's coming in through the parking ramp and I'm interested to see [its presence during the game]."
One arena staffer told ESPN that the haze in the arena's upper bowl was atypical and not something that occurred when wildfires blazed through Northern California last season. Prior to tipoff, several blocks from the arena, a civilian could be seen walking the streets wearing a surgical mask.
"Breathing, it's a little bit muggier," Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma told ESPN. "You can kind of feel that from the jump."
Kuzma also mentioned the Woolsey Fire currently consuming nearly 70,000 acres of land in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.
"Climate change, or I don't know what it is, but there's a lot of them coming," Kuzma said.
Lakers coach Luke Walton reasoned that it would be an adverse condition for both teams to adjust to.
"There's smoke everywhere in the sky. It's not a good situation," Walton said. "But it will impact both teams the same so whatever the impact is, I'm not sure, but it shouldn't be an advantage one way or the other."