The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to end a two-game skid heading into Sunday’s game facing off against the division rival Sacramento Kings. The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Lakers at the Staples Center winning by one point with Kobe Bryant coming up short on a jumper with time expiring in the fourth quarter. Byron Scott and company hope to bounce back with a much needed win on the road.
The Lakers get off to a sloppy start against the Kings with a few ugly turnovers. Sacramento takes advantage getting out to a five-point lead, 7-2. Los Angeles fought back and eventually tied the game with a three from Ronnie Price. DeMarcus Cousins shows his dominance with a nice move in the post giving Sacramento a four-point lead. Cousins continued to show his versatility grabbing the ball on defense, bringing the ball up the floor and driving right by Jordan Hill for the easy bucket. Ugly basketball continues for the Lakers with the team facing a six-point deficit. Kobe Bryant was able to cut into the lead slightly due to a technical foul call on Rudy Gay. Bryant hit the free throw scoring the team’s 12th point. Darren Collison hits a three giving the Kings an eight-point edge. On the Kings’ next possession, Gay hits a jumper extending Sacramento’s lead to 10. Nick Young goes to the line after being fouled by Carl Landry and makes both free throws. Carlos Boozer gets invovled hitting a mid-range jumper. After Robert Sacre draws a charging foul, the third-year center heads to the line. Sacre hits one of two. Gay hits a jumper that is then countered by a three from Kobe. Lead down to five for Sacramento. Young cuts into the lead a bit more with a bucket from two feet giving the Kings only a three-point edge until Ben McLemore connects for his fourth point of the night. Bryant then was fouled by McLemore sending the five-time champion to the line. Kobe hits both free throws making it a three-point lead for Kings as the first quarter comes to an end, 26-23.
With an impressive layup by Young, the Kings’ lead is cut to one, 29-28. Derrick Williams attempts a three, but falls short. Young does the same on the other end with the same result. After a handful of empty possessions for both teams, and some ugly basketball in the process, the lead is gone for Sacramento with Jeremy Lin connecting on a drive to the basket. Reggie Evans heads to the charity stripe for two. Hits both giving the lead back to the Lakers. Lin then hits Boozer for the slick pass under the basket with the veteran forward finishing with ease. Cousins heads to the line for two more attempts. Converts on both. Lin turns it over resulting in an easy layup for the Kings, but Young counters with a three to tie the game at 35. Cousins goes back to the line and misses his first attempt badly. Second also falls short with Hill grabbing the rebound. Wayne Ellington connects with a three and then heads to the line on the next possession. Ellington makes the first and misses the second. Cousins gets back to work in the paint drawing the foul on Hill. The star center hits the first and is gone on the second. Lakers lead down to two. McLemore ties the game at 39 with a nice drive to the basket on Kobe. Hill connects on a put-back from a missed shot by Bryant, but McLemore drives the basket yet again to keep the game tied at 41 apiece. Cousins gets back to the line once again. The Lakers bigs getting in foul trouble with no able to lockdown Cousins in the paint. DeMarcus hits both free throws giving the Kings a two-point lead. Hill then counters with a basket of his own tying the game once again at 43. Wesley Johnson commits the foul sending Gay to the line for two. The veteran forward hits both. Bryant drives to the basket and finishes at the rim, but is called for charging. Gay connects on a three giving Sacramento a five-point lead with about three and half minutes left in the half. Johnson fires back with a three of his own. With chants of “MVP” from the crowd in Sacramento, Bryant hits a free throw after a three-in-the-key call. Kobe hits the freebie and gives the Lakers the lead. Ed Davis rebounds Kobe missed jumper. Collison hits a jumpshot and then heads to the line after an empty possession for the Lakers. The UCLA product misses the first and makes the second tying the game at 51. Kobe is fouled by Gay and lands awkwardly on his left hand. Despite a potential injury, the veteran guard hits both free throws giving Los Angeles a two-point lead. Bryant nails a three with less than a minute in the half. Price heads to the charity stripe for two free throws after being fouled on the way to the basket. Price hits the first and the second giving Los Angeles a six-point lead with 18.0 seconds left in the second quarter. Collison is fouled by Price. Heads to the line. Misses the first and hits the second. An ill-advised foul with about three seconds on the clock sends Lin to the line. Lin hits the first and second. Lakers lead by eight to close out the half, 60-52.
Cousins gets the second half underway with an easy bucket in the paint. Gay then steals the ball and misses badly on a dunk attempt, but is bailed out by McLemore who finishes it off. Price uses his strength to bully Collison in the paint for the basket. Johnson turns it over, but Cousins ultimately gets called for the foul on Hill on the next possession. Kobe hits an incredible shot from way beyond the arc with the buzzer on the shot clock about to sound. Gay counters Kobe’s late three with a thunderous dunk. Johnson heads to the line for two. Hits both. Bryant hits the cutting Hill for the easy bucket. Cousins hits a pair of free throws to cut into the Lakers’ lead. Bryant misses a three-point attempt, but Ed Davis cleaned it up with a put-back. McLemore hits a three giving the Lakers only a six-point lead. Off a failed dunk attempt, McLemore went to the line hitting one of two. Johnson headed to the bench after committing his fourth foul. Kobe converts on a jumper and Young keeps it going with one of his own on the next trip down. An offensive foul is called on Collison leading to another Kobe jumper in the paint. Bryant continued to turn it on in the third quarter stealing the ball from McLemore and going the distance for a layup. Gay misses a pair of free throws. Lakers lead by 13. Collison fouled hard by Price. Referees review the play to see if a flagrant should be assessed. Ruled a personal foul. Collison hits the free throw. Hill misses a mid-range jumper. Collison counters hitting a mid-range shot. Kobe called for traveling, but Kings don’t take advantage coming up empty on the other end. After a missed three-point attempt by Lin, McLemore hits a shot on Young making it a 7-0 run for Sacramento. Kobe loses the ball on an upfake which leads to Landry drawing the foul on Young. Landry hits both free throws cutting the Lakers’ lead to four. Bryant misses a jumper resulting in Cousins making it a two-point game with an easy basket. Gay ties the game with about a minute and a half left in the third quarter. McLemore takes advantage of a bad miss by Lin giving Sacramento the lead. Sacre draws the foul on Cousins. Misses the first and makes the second. One-point game. Cousins back to the line. Misses both. Kobe and Sacre both miss attempts before the buzzer sounds to end the third with the Kings leading, 81-80.
Carlos Boozer gets the fourth and final quarter underway with a shot-clock violation. Following three empty and ugly possessions for the Lakers, Cousins hits a jumper extending the Kings’ lead to three. Boozer connects with an easy bucket in the paint ending the Lakers cold spell. Young connects on a three giving the lead back to the Lakers. Young hits a three and draws the foul from Gay. Young connects on the free throw. Lead up to six. Gay responds with a three of his own. After a missed layup by Young, Derrick Williams drives the basket and draws the foul from Ellington. Williams hits the free throw. Game tied at 89. Sacre hits a jumper. Offensive foul called on Gay. Kobe comes back in the game with the Lakers up by two. Davis called for the foul on Gay. Rudy misses the first and makes the second. One-point game. Cousins powers his way inside for the bucket. Bryant misses badly. Kings go back to Cousins who gets back to the line with Davis forced to foul. McLemore hits a three extending the Kings’ lead to six. Kobe has his shot blocked leading to a fastbreak with McLemore finishing at the rim after a nice pass from Collison. Kobe nails a jumper. Lead down to six. Cousins hits Collison on a drive to the basket. Kobe called for charging making it eight turnovers on the night for the veteran guard. Hill cuts the lead to seven, but Cousins gets it done on the other end with a reserve slam. Young loses the ball out of bounds, but the Lakers maintain possession. With 5.8 seconds left in the game, Young goes to the line. Young cuts the deficit to five, but it simply wasn’t enough to keep the Kings from coming out on top, 108-101.
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