The Los Angeles Lakers will host DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings for the first time this season after they dropped their first two games in Sacramento. Despite their best comeback effort from a 27-point deficit a few weeks ago, the Lakers ultimately fell short in the final minute of the game.
The young Lakers core of Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, and Julius Randle were integral in the comeback effort against the Kings and they should enter tonight’s game with enough confidence to get their first win against Sacramento this season. The Lakers are looking to end their three-game losing streak tonight at Staples Center before the San Antonio Spurs come into town on Friday.
The Kings scored the first six points of the game, all in the paint, before Lou Williams and Roy Hibbert scored back-to-back buckets of their own. The Lakers managed to keep the game competitive halfway through the quarter, but they allowed the Kings to have their way inside and they trailed 14-10. After a Kings turnover, D’Angelo Russell dropped an absolute dime in transition to Ryan Kelly who finished with a dunk at the rim to cut the Lakers deficit to three points with 3:56 remaining in the first quarter. Not to be outdone, Rajon Rondo drove down the lane and dunked in Kelly’s face before he crashed to the ground and eventually completed the three-point play. Rondo’s highlight dunk sparked a run for the Kings, and after the first quarter the Lakers trailed 28-18.
The Lakers continued to allow the Kings to score easy points in the paint, but D’Angelo Russell scored five straight points, sparking a 7-0 run, cutting the Lakers deficit to seven points. The Lakers started to score easy points in the paint of their own and they were able to gain some momentum halfway through the second, but still trailed by six points. Kobe cut the lead down to three after knocking down a triple assisted by Russell, but the Kings scored four straight points that were capped off by an athletic alley-oop finish by Rudy Gay. With 2:54 left in the half, Kobe managed to get to the free throw line to cut their deficit back down to three. The Lakers could not gain anymore ground on the Kings in the first half and trailed 57-52 after the second quarter.
The third quarter started with a sequence where both teams were scrambling on offense, but Jordan Clarkson ended up with the ball and rose up for a Michael Jordan-esque dunk with his right hand over Ben McLemore on the break. After Clarkson’s highlight dunk cut the Lakers deficit to just two points, the Kings went on a huge run and suddenly the Lakers trailed 71-61 with 5:55 remaining in the third. The Kings made back-to-back threes in the midst of a Lakers scoring drought, and the Lakers trailed by 16 points with 3:37 to go in the third quarter. Brandon Bass temporarily stopped the bleeding with a spin move on Kosta Koufos that resulted in a dunk, plus the foul. Bass had a big third quarter and he along with Kobe led all Lakers scorers with 15 points apiece, and the Lakers trailed 86-77 heading into the fourth quarter.
Bass picked up where he left off in the third quarter and was a monster on the defensive in, blocking three shots in the first two minutes of the fourth. Russell dished out his third assist of the quarter to Bass who finished with a dunk plus the foul, and the Lakers trailed by just five with 8:19 to play. The Kings responded with a quick 9-0 run and the Lakers were in trouble midway through the fourth. Back-to-back jumpers from Rondo and Cousins made it a 13-0 run before Lou ended the drought with a layup, but the damage had already been done as the Lakers now trailed by 15. The Kings continued to pull away down the stretch as a Cousins putback increased the Kings lead to 18 with two minutes left. The benches cleared for each team in the final two minutes as the Lakers fell to the Kings 112-93.