The Los Angeles Lakers gear up for their final two games of the season, traveling to Sacramento to play the Kings on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Lakers were extremely short-handed, being forced to sign guard Vander Blue for the final two games after Dwight Buycks broke a bone in his hand. That gave the Lakers only three available guards in Blue, Jordan Clarkson, and Jabari Brown and no small forwards, forcing Ryan Kelly back to the three spot.
The Kings were also missing key players as both DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay were unavailable, robbing the Kings of their two best players. Neither team had any playoff hopes so both sides were playing for pride. The teams split their first two meetings of the season with each team winning on their home court.
Jabari Brown got the Lakers off to a good start with two early buckets as the Lakers lead 6-5. The Kings quickly responded as Omri Casspi blew by Jordan Hill to give the Kings the lead. Hill came right back with back-to-back jumpers, but a three-point play from Carl Landry put Sacramento ahead 12-10. Another Hill hook and jumper gave him eight early points and the Lakers a 14-12 lead. The Lakers offense continued to look good in the quarter as Hill increased his total to 10 points and Ed Davis checked in and had a huge dunk. Clarkson hit Brown for a layup as the Lakers pushed ahead by six, 24-18 nearing the end of the quarter. Casspi got another easy layup after blowing by Ryan Kelly. The Kings bench came in and contributed down the stretch as well, an Andre Miller layup tying the game at the end of the quarter at 24.
Carlos Boozer hit a jumper, but Miller hit one right back to give the Kings a 27-26 lead. Vander Blue came in and got his first bucket as a Laker, this was followed by a Clarkson floater and Boozer layup to put the Lakers back in front by a point. The Kings were able to get points from the free throw line as Ben McLemore and Derrick Williams both cashed in, but Clarkson and Hill each hit jumpers to keep the Lakers ahead by four. Hill continued his hot night with another jumper, but the Lakers allowed Williams to beat them up the court for an easy layup as the Kings got within two points at 40-38. A pair of free throws from Casspi and a Landry three-point play gave the Kings a one-point lead before Brown put the Lakers back in front with a pair of free throws of his own. The teams continued to trade baskets as Clarkson hit Black for a dunk and Blue got a steal and dunk of his own. Ray McCallum and Landry got baskets for the Kings with McCallum’s floater giving Sacramento a one-point lead. Landry hit a jumper and Clarkson hit Black for a layup to tie the game at halftime, 51-51.
Landry got the first basket of the half and the Kings took a four-point lead after a pair of free throws from Casspi. More free throws from Landry put Sacramento up six, but Kelly got a dunk to bring the Lakers back within four. The Lakers fought back and both teams traded baskets early on. Clarkson was able to get a steal and finish with a beautiful transition layup, but again the Lakers were beaten up the court as McCallum got his own easy dunk to keep the Kings up by two. Hill got another jumper to fall and hit Clarkson for a layup to put the Lakers up by a basket. Clarkson hit the Lakers’ first three of the night as the team remained ahead by only two points. Casspi continued to spur the Kings with a pair of free throws and a three sandwiching a beautiful drive and layup from Clarkson. Brown hit a three to put the Lakers back ahead by a point, but Williams hit one of his own to put the Kings back ahead by two. Carlos Boozer tipped in Clarkson’s miss at the buzzer to bring the Lakers within a point, 75-74 at the end of three.
Miller checked in and hit Williams for a huge alley-oop to get the Kings on the board. Boozer got a layup for the Lakers after numerous offensive rebounds to keep the Lakers right with them. A Williams three-point play was met with a Clarkson jumper as the Kings remained ahead by a basket. Clarkson hit a three to bring the Lakers within a point, but a charge on the next possession kept the Lakers down one. Miller hit a jumper, and after a series of turnovers, the Lakers were finally able to get a basket via an Ed Davis putback to remain behind 84-83. A three from McLemore and an easy layup for Miller gave the Kings a little bit of a cushion at 89-85. Blue hit a big three to bring the Lakers back within one, but Casspi made another trip to the free throw line to put the Kings up three. The Kings went up five before Davis split a pair of free throws to make it a four-point game. McCallum hit Miller for a layup to push it to six and free throws from Thompson gave Sacramento their biggest lead of the game at eight points. Casspi beat Hill for a layup as the Kings pulled ahead by double-digits with only two minutes left. Clarkson turned his ankle for the second time of the night and would walk off the court with a minute left. Just for good measure, Casspi got one more three-point play to ice the Kings victory as they would win 102-92.
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