After an 11-0 Sacramento Kings run early on in the fourth quarter, the Los Angeles Lakers were on their heels. But LeBron James was not about to let the Lakers take their first loss of 2022, and he had a lot of help along the way, particularly in the form of Malik Monk.
James and Monk combined for 25 of the Lakers’ 37 fourth-quarter points and the team scored on their last eight possessions of the game as they came away with a 122-114 victory over the Kings.
The win was the Lakers’ third straight and fourth in their last five games as they have moved back above the .500 mark on the season.
LeBron scored at least 30 points for the eighth time in nine games, finishing with 31 points, five rebounds and five assists. Though he shot just 3-of-10 from 3e-point range, he hit his last two attempts, a pair of huge shots late in the fourth to kickstart the Lakers’ push.
Monk was a huge part of that push as well as he knocked down 6-of-11 from deep on his way to 24 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists. Monk has now scored in double-figures in six straight games, with at least 20 points in four of those contests.
Russell Westbrook struggled shooting the ball on this night but still finished with 19 points and seven rebounds. But far and away the most important number for Westbrook was zero, as he had no turnovers in the game and the Lakers as a team gave it away just five times.
The Lakers also got major contributions from a pair of reserves. Talen Horton-Tucker had his best game in weeks with 19 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals.
Meanwhile, Dwight Howard made another case as to why he should be in the rotation regularly with 14 points and 14 rebounds in just 22 minutes.
Howard’s work on the glass was crucial as seven of those rebounds were offensive and the Lakers lost the rebounding battle by just one after being completely dominated against the Timberwolves. The Lakers also forced 18 Sacramento turnovers which helped to offset their shooting issues for much of the night.
The Kings were led by De’Aaron Fox, who had 30 points to go along with three rebounds and six assists. It was Buddy Hield who carried them late though, matching some of the big shots James and Monk hit and finishing with 26 points off the bench.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers have two games remaining in their five-game homestand and they have to take on arguably the NBA’s best young points guards. First up is Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks on Friday before their fourth and final meeting with Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.
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