Looking to gain some momentum with only 4 games left until the season opener the Lakers traveled to Las Vegas to take on an old rival in the Sacramento Kings. Coming off an impressive victory over Israeli team Maccabi Haifa, the Lakers looked to carry on that momentum against a more formidable foe.
The Kings are led by DeMarcus Cousins, but he would sit out tonight’s game. The team still has some recognition, however, with forward Rudy Gay and newly-signed point guard Rajon Rondo. The Lakers were 1-3 coming into this game while the Kings were 3-1.
Lakers started the first quarter with a nice flow to their offense, mainly due to Kobe scoring with great efficiency. With DeMarcus Cousins out of the game, the Kings had much less firepower offensively and defensively. Kosta Koufas was placed into the starting unit and had issues controlling the paint allowing the Lakers to score inside with ease. Hitting 4-7 Kobe Bryant lead all scorers in the first quarter with 8 points. Julius Randle continued his strong play he chimed in with 6 points and 2 assists, but despite their offense, the Lakers had issues with defense. They continued to struggle with guard penetration which sparked the Kings offense. The Lakers were continually out of position on defensive rotations and trailed 31-27 at the end of the quarter.
The Lakers looked to take control of the game started the second quarter with a 7-0 run. From there the Lakers seemed to lose focus on the defensive end allowing the Kings to score with ease, shooting 50% with 5 minutes left in the half. The team was no longer in control of the lead or the game and fell down 9 points before Coach Scott chose to bring the starters back into the game. Now with the starters back in the game the Lakers continued their lackadaisical play and the bleeding didn’t stop, the Lakers ended the half losing 63-51. The Kings outplayed the Lakers within the first half shooting 54% with 23 rebounds and 15 assists. Jordan Clarkson and Kobe Bryant lead the Lakers with 10 points each however Marco Belinelli was the standout in the game shooting 3-4 from beyond the arc.
The third quarter started off no better than the second. A new leak sprung in the Lakers defense and the Kings were scoring in transition to start the third. Kobe Bryant had a injury scare in the 3rd quarter in an isolation post up against Rajon Rondo and was kneed in the calf muscle and was taken out almost immediately to be nursed by the Lakers’ medical staff. The injury was diagnosed as a lower leg contusion and Kobe was ruled out for the rest of the game. Jordan Clarkson continued his strong play, seemingly the only player who could score throughout the 3rd quarter, he became the Lakers leading scorer with 17 points. The quarter ended with the Kings ahead by 14 points 88-74.
Both teams started off slowly before Lou Williams got out in transition for a three-point play. The Lakers inability to rebound allowed the Kings to remain comfortably ahead until back-to-back baskets from Young and Williams cut the deficit to nine. Williams hit another open three, but the Lakers remained behind by 10. The Lakers had a couple of moments midway through the quarter, particularly thanks to Williams continually getting to the free throw line, but continued failures on the defensive end wouldn’t allow the Lakers to make a major dent in the gap. After a tough James Anderson runner the Lakers trailed by 14 with less than three minutes left. A Bass dunk in transition and a Russell three cut the Kings lead to nine. One last three from Russell gave the final 107-100 margin as the Lakers fell.