Following an impressive defensive performance to take down the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers were in Las Vegas for their final preseason game Friday night. Opposing them were the Sacramento Kings who were also playing in their last tune up.
Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer were held out of the starting lineup as Robert Sacre and Ed Davis took their places for the night. Joining them were Ronnie Price, Wayne Ellington, and Wesley Johnson.
The Kings meanwhile sent out a lineup that could be their opening day look. Kings coach Michael Malone sent out Darren Collison, Ben McLeMore, Rudy Gay, Jason Thompson, and Demarcus Cousins to take on the Lakers.
The Lakers had a record of 3-4 while the Kings came in 2-4.
Davis started the scoring for the Lakers with a putback basket. Already thin at point guard, there was a scare early as Collison drove right into Price’s knee two minutes into the game. Price stayed in the game momentarily before Jeremy Lin came in to relieve him. Cousins proved to be a tough matchup for the Lakers frontcourt as both Sacre and Davis picked up three quick fouls in the quarter. With all the fouls, Cousins led the Kings in scoring with 11 while Davis paced the Lakers with 9. The Kings ended up taking 12 free throws compared to the four the Lakers took. Despite the foul trouble, the Lakers never trailed in the quarter and entered the second with a 26-22 lead.
The Lakers began the quarter missing their first five field goals allowing the Kings to take the lead momentarily 27-26. Lin attacked the rim and was able to draw foul to get the first Laker points of the quarter. After another Lin drive and Julius Randle basket, the Lakers found themselves up 32-27 as the Kings took a timeout with eight a half minutes left. Following the timeout, the teams remained tightly contested. Once Cousins and Gay came back into the game, the Kings fought their way to a 46-39 lead. The Lakers responded by going a mini run to end the quarter and half down by one, 49-48. Randle had a good quarter and entered the break with ten points and six rebounds.
Coming out of halftime, the Lakers drained four of their first five to take a a 57-51 lead three minutes into the quarter. Cousins went up for a highlight slam over Sacre, but the Lakers were able to stretch their lead to double digits after Lin found Davis down low bringing the score to 65-55 midway through the quarter. The two teams continued to trade baskets for the next four minutes. Entering the final minute, the Lakers were up 11 when Ramon Sessions drove into the lane to draw a foul on Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson responded by hitting a three as the Lakers ended the quarter on top 76-64. Davis continued to be a stat sheet stuffer for the Lakers and had himself a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Clarkson continued to make his mark on his game by connecting on a coast to coast layup in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Three minutes later, he threw a half court lob to Roscoe Smith as the Lakers added to their lead, 82-68. Jabari Brown looked to make the most of the preseason’s final minutes and was aggressive on the court. He missed a transition layup but able to score on the team’s next trip down the court. Jeremy Lin came back into the game with 5:50 remaining and scored five quick points to bring his night total to 18. A collision between Ellington and McLemore led to a big cut for McLemore and both needing to leave the game. The Lakers got sloppy late committing some bad turnovers allowing the Kings to get back in the game late. The Kings cut the lead down to two, but the Lakers would steal the ball. Roscoe Smith would miss two free throws giving the Kings a chance to tie with 30 seconds remaining. Ray McCallum tied the game with a midrange jumper but Lin drew the foul and made one of two free throws with 10 seconds left. The Kings got multiple chances to win and McCallum took advantage with a putback layup at the buzzer to give the Kings a comeback 93-92 win.[divide]
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