The Lakers had a week off before traveling to Sacramento to take on the Kings. Just a few hours before the game, news came down that Kobe Bryant would return to the court in the Lakers next game, but the Lakers have to stay focused on the task at hand as the Kings have a number of explosive scorers.
In a bit of a shocker, Robert Sacre was inserted into the starting lineup in place of Jordan Hill, giving the Lakers two traditional bigs. The Lakers are looking for their third consecutive road win tonight.
The bigs got the Lakers off to a great start. The Kings struggled to contain the Blake-Sacre pick and roll as Sacre made Coach D’Antoni look great for inserting him into the starting lineup. Gasol did some great work in the post knocking down a couple of shots after beautiful post moves. The Lakers bench struggled with turnovers when they entered the game, allowing the Kings to come back and take the lead thanks to some John Salmons three-pointers and Isaiah Thomas penetrating at will. Jodie Meeks hit a couple of big threes late in the quarter to cut the lead to two at the end of the first as the Lakers trailed by two points, 30-28.
The Lakers got off to a quick start in the second thanks to a Shawne Williams three pointer and a Nick Young midrange shot. The Lakers are having trouble initiating offense without Blake on the floor. They would bring Blake back in and immediately get a wide open three from Wesley Johnson. Isaiah Thomas and Blake would trade three pointers to tie the game at 39. The Lakers bench is being completely dominated by the Kings tonight as Isaiah Thomas is outscoring the Lakers bench by himself. Sacre picked up his third foul, the one downside to his otherwise impressive first half. Thomas continued to have his way as he followed a three pointer with a great assist to put the Kings up by eight. The Lakers offense began to pick up late in the quarter but the defense struggled to contain Thomas and the offensive glass as the Kings have seven offensive rebounds already. Gasol with a short jump hook to cut the lead to three right before the end of the half as the Lakers trail 55-52.
Both teams came out of the gate looking sloppy with some turnovers before a Gasol three point play got things going for the Lakers. Wesley Johnson would hit a three pointer to cut the lead to one but more bad defense leads to an easy Derrick Williams dunk. The Lakers continue to get killed on the offensive glass as the Kings consistently get two or three opportunities. Sacre was left in the game despite picking up his fourth foul and has continued to play good basketball especially as the roll man on the pick and roll. The Lakers defense has been nonexistent this quarter as the Kings would push the lead out to eight. The Blake-Sacre pick and roll has been the Lakers best offensive weapon throughout the game, but turnovers and rebounds killed the Lakers in this quarter. Lakers offense got stagnant late in the quarter, settling for isolations and Gasol post-ups. Despite seemingly being outplayed the entire game, the Lakers trailed only by four with two minutes left in the quarter. Unfortunately for the Lakers Ben McLemore woke up with consecutive three pointers to push the lead right back to 10. Once again, the Lakers would end the quarter well and trail only by six heading into the fourth.
Jordan Hill would start the quarter doing what he does best, crashing the offensive glass as he gave the Lakers a couple of extra opportunities. Blake would then hit a three pointer to give the Lakers their first lead since the second quarter as the Lakers show their resilience again. Lakers defense has continually failed them but some timely shooting kept this game close as the Lakers trail by one. Lakers would get a couple of great defensive plays by Johnson and Sacre who has continued his great play over the last couple of games. The Lakers offense would stall and the Kings would push their lead out to four with only three minutes left. The Lakers got a great look out of the timeout that led to a Meeks three. A couple defensive stops followed by a Gasol jumper and another Meeks three and somehow the Lakers would take a four point lead with only a minute left. Wesley Johnson with an amazing steal and Young with a clutch jumper to ice the game as the Lakers move above .500