The Los Angeles Lakers have not fared well on the second end of a back-to-back, having a 1-4 record prior to their matchup against a fresh Sacramento Kings team.
However, the Lakers have been playing with a renewed sense of energy and urgency and that was apparent as they were able to keep pace and eventually outlast the Kings in what turned out to be a wild game.
It was a high-scoring affair as both teams scored over 100 points entering the fourth quarter. The level of ball movement and shot-making was at a high level, though it was the Lakers who were able to come up with stops when they absolutely needed them.
For the first time during the 2022-23 season, four players on the Lakers scored over 20 points. Leading the way for the Lakers was of course LeBron James, who had zero issues imposing his will on the rim. Domantis Sabonis struggled with foul trouble for most of the evening, opening up the lane for James to rampage through.
James had 37 points and shot a solid 14-of-28 from the field, often forcing his way into better looks because his jumper wasn’t quite there. He was 1-of-6 from beyond the arc but made up for it by going 8-of-9 from the free throw line.
LeBron had plenty of help this time around, most notably Thomas Bryant who had arguably his best game of the season. Even with the Lakers playing on a back-to-back, Bryant was full of energy on both ends of the floor and he was perhaps the key to the team’s win.
Bryant was wildly efficient from the field, shooting 12-of-14 for 29 points with a mix of shots at the rim and near the foul line. He was also a monster on the glass, pulling down 14 rebounds with four of them coming on the offensive end. For the night, Bryant finished with a hefty 29-point, 14-rebound double-double.
Aside from Bryant, Dennis Schroder also had his way with the Kings defense. Schroder had a masterful offensive performance, scoring 27 points on 8-of-11 shooting including 4-of-5 from the 3-point line and 7-of-7 from the charity stripe. The speedy guard was able to knock down what would be the game-winning free throws after taking the ball to the cup.
Last but not least, Russell Westbrook was his usual self with the basketball. Westbrook got his fair share of easy looks en route to 23 points, but importantly he had 15 assists compared to just four turnovers.
What’s next for Lakers
The Lakers conclude their mini-road trip with a matchup against the Denver Nuggets on Monday before returning home where they then draw the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.
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