The Los Angeles Lakers look to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss to the New York Knicks as they look to avoid the season sweep to the Sacramento Kings for the first time in franchise history. After playing extremely well over the last couple of weeks, the young core for the Lakers struggled tremendously in their last outing, combining to score just 23 points.
Luckily for them, they have a favorable match-up tonight as they take on a Sacramento team that has lost nine of its last 10 games, while also being one of the worst defensive teams in the league. However, the Kings do have All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins who’s has given the Lakers fits all season.
The Kings were first on the board after a bad pass from D’Angelo Russell led to a fast break bucket for L.A. area native Darren Collison. After three straight possessions with a score for the Kings, the Lakers got their first bucket off a reverse lay up from Metta World Peace, who started in place of Kobe Bryant to make it 8-2. The purple and gold continued their horrible start to the game while Sacramento capitalized by scoring on six of their next eight possessions to take a commanding 22-8 lead. The Kings would continue to pour it on as they finished the quarter up 32-15 after the Lakers shot just 25% from the field, while committing seven turnovers.
After giving up yet another turnover on their first possession of the quarter, Larry Nance Jr. got it going with two straight buckets including a thunderous dunk over two defenders to cut the lead, 32-19. Marcelo Huertas took control of the offense after dishing out all four of the Lakers’ assists, before Lou Williams found him for an easy layup to cut the lead to 13. The Kings were able to take back some momentum after Marco Bellineli hit a step-back three, only to be answered by a three from D’Angelo Russell to make it a 42-32 game. Sacramento then took complete control as they added to their already impressive fastbreak total with easy buckets from Collison and Gay to go up 50-33. Both teams traded scores in the final minutes including three straight buckets from Julius Randle. But Sacramento would go into the half with a comfortable 57-41 lead.
The Lakers got off to a nice start, as they opened the second-half with two fast-break layups from Clarkson and Russell to bring the score to 57-45. Sacramento finally scratched with two straight scores of their own from Cousins and Collison to increase their lead back to 15. After a hot start to the second half, the purple and gold cooled off as they fell down big again after a 9-3 run to give the Kings the biggest lead of the game, 71-51. Both teams continued to trade baskets, with Sacramento managing to hold on to their dominant 20-point lead. But the Lakers remained resilient as they fought back to go an an 8-0 run to end the third quarter down, 79-67.
The Kings struck first in the fourth quarter with a lay up from Belinelli, before it was answered by three straight scores from the Lakers, including a three-pointer from Sweet Lou to make it an 83-72 game. As quickly as they were able to heat up, they cooled down just as fast as they came up empty on their next four possessions while the Kings took back their commanding 92-76 lead midway through the fourth. But similar to game fashion, L.A. scored on four of their next five possessions thanks to Russell and Nance to cut the lead back down to 10 with five minutes to go. the Lakers continued to cut into the lead after a trio of Russell free throws cut the margin 100-94 with three minutes left in the game. But Sacramento would go on for the 106-98 victory, and the first season sweep of the purple and gold in franchise history.