The Los Angeles Lakers fell behind by double digits to an inferior opponent for a second time in as many nights, but failed to claw out a comeback victory against the Sacramento Kings. The 113-102 loss snapped the Lakers’ modest two-game winning streak and sent them into a four-day break on a sour note.
Billed as a duel between Lonzo Ball and De’Aaron Fox in what was their first matchup between the rookie guards since Kentucky eliminated UCLA from the 2017 NCAA Tournament, they were more of a second act than Broadway showcase. Ball finished the night with 10 points, 11 assists and six rebounds.
His biggest highlight came on an alley-oop pass from Corey Brewer on a designed play out of a timeout in the second quarter. Ball’s one-handed slam dunk on Willie Cauley-Stein pulled the Lakers to within seven points of the Kings.
Ball’s first 3-pointer on the night trimmed the deficit to 11 points with just under five minutes remaining in the first half. He was 4-for-8 from the field and 3-of-5 behind the arc.
Fox turned in 13 points, three rebounds and four assists. He was overshadowed by Zach Randolph, who had 11 points in the first quarter, 22 overall, and seven assists, both of which were season highs.
In addition to Randolph, contributions off the bench from Bogdan Bogdanović, Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield and Frank Mason were instrumental to Sacramento maintaining control of the game.
Cauley-Stein scored a game-high and season-high 26 points, Bogdanović had 14 points and a season-high seven assists, Hield scored 10 points, and Mason chipped in with 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Kings’ 54-41 lead at halftime was second only to when they were up 14 points on the New Orleans Pelicans earlier this season. Whereas that ended in a loss, the Kings seemingly had an answer for each run the Lakers mounted.
Their lead swelled to 19 points, and the Lakers never managed to get closer than seven points. A 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter put the game out of reach for Sacramento.
Clarkson and Randle led the Lakers with eight points each at halftime, but were largely kept in check after that, finishing with 15 and 14, respectively. Clarkson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kuzma tied for a team-high with 15 points each.
Despite being the worst rebounding team in the league, the Kings out-rebounded the Lakers, 51-37, and pulled down 10 offensive boards.
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