The Los Angeles Lakers have suffered another comeback loss this season, falling 125-116 to the Sacramento Kings despite holding onto the lead for the majority of the first half.
After starting each of the first three quarters on a high note, L.A. failed to maintain the same quality of play as the game went on. The Kings chipped away at the Lakers’ lead in the final minutes of the first two periods, overcoming a 14-point deficit to make it 67-61 at halftime.
The Kings then jumped ahead after closing out the third with 22-11 run — and L.A. never recovered having fallen behind.
Lakers rookie Austin Reaves agrees the Purple and Gold needs to get better at protecting their leads, particularly toward the end of quarters.
“They just executed down the stretch and it’s kind of been, I’m not going to say weakness, but we’ve given up a couple leads going late into quarters,” Reaves said after recording career-high 19 points on Wednesday.
“I remember I think Memphis [Grizzlies] at Memphis we were up 13 or so and gave up a 7-0 run. Just got to pay attention to the details and finish quarters because it can win or lose you a game.”
Reaves emphasized the importance of maintaining the momentum as the game approaches halftime.
“Every time you lose a lead like that, I mean even going into halftime, it’s the NBA where you can’t put people away like that, but you can take momentum into halftime,” Reaves said. “That’s a big thing.
“Like I said, we got to end quarters better. The mood was good at half. We were playing good basketball and we just wanted to go out and do the same thing, but that’s the NBA. They’re trying to do the same stuff as we’re trying to do. They’re trying to win, so yeah, we just got to finish quarters better.”
Frank Vogel: Defense let Lakers down for second straight game
The Lakers allowed the Kings to shoot 55.1% from the field, the highest opponent field goal percentage of the season. That came after the Memphis Grizzlies made 54.7% of their shots just three days earlier, ranking second on that list.
Head coach Frank Vogel said his team needs to improve on the defensive end while playing small-ball, particularly when it comes to covering a nearby teammate’s back.
“I got to look at the tape, but I just feel like we weren’t strong enough in our help positions,” Vogel said.
“I feel like we were leaving teammates on an island and against a quick, attacking team like this, you have to show a presence. They have to see five defenders and I thought there were too many situations where we didn’t do that tonight.”
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