The Los Angeles Lakers traveled to Las Vegas looking for their first win of the preseason as they faced the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers dropped a pair of games to the Denver Nuggets most recently.
Center Brook Lopez made his Lakers debut after missing the first three preseason games with back spasms and Brandon Ingram also returned to the lineup after missing a game with a head contusion. Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball would sit out his second straight game with a sprained ankle.
The Kings boast a very different roster from a season ago, adding the likes of George Hill and Zach Randolph in free agency while letting Rudy Gay walk in free agency.
Before the game Magic Johnson addressed the Las Vegas crowd and asked for a moment of silence for the victims of the tragic shooting last weekend. All proceeds for this game will be donated to the victims of the incident.
In addition to Brook Lopez making his first start, the Lakers also added Larry Nance Jr. to the starting lineup to join Tyler Ennis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Brandon Ingram. Lopez’s presence paid immediate dividends as he hit a couple of shots from the post early and Ingram got a steal and layup to put the Lakers up 6-0 early.
Lopez would keep it going with a pair of three-pointers from the same spot on the floor. Ennis would then find Nance for an alley-oop as the Lakers pulled ahead 16-4.
The Lakers made some subs as Alex Caruso, Jordan Clarkson, Ivica Zubac, and Kyle Kuzma all came on. The offense cooled down some, but the defensive intensity remained as the Lakers maintained a comfortable lead.
Kuzma hit a nice floater and Julius Randle followed up with a transition layup as the Lakers lead 22-11 after one quarter.
Randle got things going for the Lakers in the second, following a free throw with a layup and three-pointer to push the Lakers lead to 16.
The Kings made a slight run, but baskets from Zubac and Kuzma kept the Lakers ahead by double-digits midway through the second quarter. The Lakers offense continued to struggle as a 10-2 Kings run cut the lead to seven before four straight Ingram free throws pushed the Lakers back ahead by double digits.
The Lakers ended the half very well as a Nance jumper was followed by two Randle dunks, each of which started with a Randle steal on the defensive end. L.A. went into halftime with a 41-29 lead.
Lopez’s 10 points lead the Lakers, while Randle added nine points, six rebounds, and three steals. Ingram and Clarkson each had five points and the Lakers held Sacramento to just 27.9 percent shooting.
The second half started off just like the first half for the Lakers as Lopez hit a short basket to start the scoring. Unfortunately, baskets were hard to come by for the Lakers after that.
The Lakers went completely cold in the third quarter allowing the Kings to slowly chip away at the lead. A 10-0 Kings run capped off by a Bogdanovic three-pointer cut the lead to only three-points as Luke Walton went to his bench in search of answers.
A KCP three-pointer finally ended a nearly seven minute scoring drought for the Lakers and a Clarkson layup kept the Lakers ahead by just three points. A jumper from Hill gave the Kings their first lead of the night, but a pair of Clarkson free throws put the Lakers up 52-51 after an ugly quarter.
Randle started off the fourth with an alley-oop from Caruso who would follow it with a steal and assist to Kuzma, but the Kings slipped ahead by two thanks to an impressive layup from Buddy Hield.
Randle would split a pair of free throws and then hit Clarkson on a pair of alley-oops to push the Lakers back ahead by three. The two teams fought back and forth as a Kuzma three put the Lakers ahead, but Garrett Temple fought to keep the game even.
Kuzma continued his strong play with a pair of free throws and followed it up with an assist for a Caruso three. Randolph would answer with a three of his own to bring the Kings within two.
It would be the rookie Kuzma to help bring the Lakers home as he found Randle for a basket and followed up with a great basket of his own to put the Lakers up for good. One last dunk on an out of bounds play for Kuzma would provide the final margin as the Lakers picked up their first preseason win, 75-69.
Kuzma finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, but it was Randle who led the Lakers in scoring with 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds, three assists, and three steals.