The Los Angeles Lakers avenged their triple-overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings by blowing them out on the road, 117-92, on Tuesday night.
It was a tale of two halves as the Lakers came out slow and fell behind early to the Kings, who took a nine-point lead into halftime. However, Russell Westbrook was the catalyst in a third-quarter where Los Angeles outscored Sacramento 37-15 and never looked back.
Westbrook overcame a rough first half where he struggled with his floor game and made plays on both ends in the third to energize the team. Westbrook finished with 23 points, five rebounds and six assists while limiting his turnovers to only four on the night.
Anthony Davis led the Lakers in scoring with 25 points, but the offensive story of the night was Malik Monk, who poured in 22 points in 33 minutes off the bench.
Monk had been struggling with his jumper the past few games but caught fire from the field as he finished the evening shooting 8-of-16 from the field, including 6-of-10 from beyond the arc. The shooting guard had several highlight plays, including a sweet up-and-under layup as the shot clock was expiring that essentially served as a dagger.
Dwight Howard was another key figure who turned the game around in L.A.’s favor as his energy and physicality on both ends frustrated Sacramento. Head coach Frank Vogel pulled DeAndre Jordan early in the first and rode with Howard the rest of the way, and the big man responded with a 12-point, 13-rebound double-double.
Richaun Holmes was a one-man wrecking crew as the Kings center dominated the painted area, scoring 27 points on 12-of-13 shooting. He and Tyrese Haliburton were a lethal pick-and-roll tandem throughout the night as the two connected on several lobs that gave the Laker defense fits.
Sacramento was in clear control in the first half but seemed to run out of answers once Los Angeles turned the effort and intensity levels up. The Lakers’ second-half performance was their best showing in a half so far during the 2021-22 season and it will be interesting to see if this is something they can build on.
Next up for the Lakers
Riding a two-game win streak, the Lakers will look to extend it to three when they take on their Staples Center co-tenants, the L.A. Clippers, in what should be a competitive game on Friday night. Following that, they get another date with their long-time rivals the Boston Celtics, where they get an opportunity to rectify the embarrassing loss they suffered earlier this season.
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