Facing a Sacramento Kings team on the second night of a back-to-back, the shorthanded Los Angeles Lakers wrapped up a three-game homestand with a 84-83 loss. Lonzo Ball (left knee contusion) and Brandon Ingram (concussion-like symptoms) each missed the contest.
Being without their top two playmakers further inhibited a Lakers offense that has tended to grow stagnant at times this season even with a full complement of players. Despite the Kings shooting a lowly 39 percent in the first half, they were even with the Lakers through the first two quarters.
The Kings went on 10-2 run late in third quarter to take a lead but back-to-back 3-pointers by Josh Hart and Channing Frye put the Lakers ahead by four points heading into the fourth.
But due to missed shots or turnovers, L.A. failed to take control during the final 12 minutes. As a result, Willie Cauley-Stein’s tip-in tied it at 74 with just under five minutes remaining, and the Kings took a three-point lead a couple possessions later.
The Lakers ran their offense through Julius Randle down the stretch, and the bruising forward proved effective at either scoring or getting to the free throw line. Randle sunk four in a row before the string was snapped with consecutive trips to the charity in which he split the attempts.
The second such instance left the Kings and Lakers tied with one minute left in the game. Sacramento turned the ball over on their ensuing possession, only for the Lakers to follow suit, resulting in a Buddy Hield go-ahead slam dunk.
It was good for his first points in the second half after scoring 17 through the first two quarters. Rather than call a timeout, head coach Luke Walton again allowed the Lakers to push the ball up the court.
Alex Caruso’s entry pass to Randle was deflected, and De’Aaron Fox got a teardrop to fall. Brook Lopez’s 3-pointer got the Lakers to within a point but they needed to foul twice in order to send the Kings to the free throw line, and there wasn’t enough time to do so.