Let’s go back to my preview of this Lakers/Kings game really quick.
“And defend like they did in the first few weeks of the season. We know they’re capable of it.”
Yeah. That didn’t happen. The Sacramento Kings ran all over the Lakers, 134-120, in a game that felt more one-sided than the score indicated.
The game started out ugly and maybe the Lakers really should’ve kept it like that. Both teams each had 6 turnovers in the first quarter, with Domantas Sabonis having four of them. Sabonis adjusted better (much better, really) and the Lakers, for some reason, stopped converging on him.
The Lakers kept up for much of the first half. LeBron James, who we all know is in his 20th NBA season, did this to Kevin Huerter.
How is he still doing this?
However, the Kings bounced back and raised the lead to 66-58 by halftime.
It was the third quarter where everything went wrong for the Lakers. For a while, the Lakers and the Kings were trading baskets; neither team could stop the other. But then the Lakers stopped making shots… and they still couldn’t stop Sacramento. The Kings pulverized the Lakers with an 18-2 run.
The Lakers never really made a serious comeback. Sacramento even had a 6-point possession where Lakers coach Darvin Ham got called for a technical and Wenyen Gabriel got whistled for a flagrant foul. The free throws and the three-pointer by rookie Keegan Murray gave Sactown a quick 6 points. The beam for Sacramento flickered a bit when De’Aaron Fox got ejected late in the game but Huerter and Harrison Barnes made back-to-back threes to put the game away.
Sacramento Kings (as of this writing, they have the best record for a California NBA team; I love 2002) scored back-to-back 40-point quarters. Hard to beat any team doing that. The Kings had four players who scored 20 or more (led by Huerter with 26 points). And Domantas Sabonis, who was questionable before the game, went for a triple-double to the tune of 13 points, 21 rebounds, and 12 assists. He never turned the ball again after the first quarter.
The Lakers simply didn’t have enough firepower as Russell Westbrook was a late scratch as well as Austin Reaves. LeBron James did what he could with 31 points, 6 boards, and 11 assists. Lonnie Walker IV had 19, Dennis Schröder scored 18, and Thomas Bryant had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Patrick Beverley had a season-high 13 points and even had the audacity to do the “too small” taunt when they were down by 19. I… just wouldn’t do that.
Yet another forgettable Laker game as they move on in life without Anthony Davis. While I wouldn’t count on the Western Conference being this close the whole year, they really need to get some wins to be able to position themselves for a play-in or even a playoff spot. They may be 13th at the moment at 13-18 but they’re still only 2 1/2 games behind the 10th place Minnesota Timberwolves.
Anyway, the Lakers play the Charlotte Hornets back at home on Friday. The Hornets are not doing so hot this season (8-23 going into Wednesday) so the Lakers absolutely have to take advantage of games against teams under .500. The Lakers better get a move on because that halfway mark is coming in quickly.