The Los Angeles Lakers met up with the Sacramento Kings for the second time during the preseason, with both teams getting ready for the regular season to start in just a few short weeks.
Check out our recap below:
The Lakers started the game with their now-customary lineup of D’Angelo Russell, Lou Williams, Luol Deng, Julius Randle, and Timofey Mozgov. The Kings decided to give DeMarcus Cousins the night off, and I’m sure Randle wasn’t disappointed with that decision after the problems he had last time around. Coach Luke Walton has stated that lineup changes will come when the Lakers play the Warriors on Saturday.
D’Angelo Russell got off to a solid start, hitting his first two jumpers (one of which was a three) and finding the open man on offense. After getting lit up by Damian Lillard in his last outing, it was good to see Russell come back with confidence.
Brandon Ingram had an excellent pump fake on Rudy Gay and then finished with an up-and-under scoop shot and later hit a big three, to help cut into the King’s lead. Jordan Clarkson hit a big three near the end of the quarter, but the Kings led at the break, 30-26.
The Lakers opened the second quarter with the standard bench mob of Jose Calderon, Clarkson, Ingram, Larry Nance Jr., and Yi Jianlian taking the place of Tarik Black. Yi hit a nice jumper to showcase his ability to stretch the floor, but Kings’ big man Anthony Tolliver was hitting shots all over the court to keep Sacramento in front.
The Kings had former-Laker Jordan Farmar on the floor, and were getting all the looks they wanted from three by running big man Kosta Koufos with four shooters around him. The Sacramento lead swelled to 16 with six minutes to play in the quarter.
D’Angelo Russell continued his hot shooting by hitting another three, and Tolliver finally missed, which allowed Williams to leak out to get a scoop layup, but it still appeared that the Kings simply had more energy than the Lakers.
Darren Collison continued to give the Lakers fits just like he did the last time the two teams met, and the Los Angeles defense looked out of sorts.
As the quarter went on, things went from bad to worse for the Lakers, who found themselves down 62-44 at halftime despite 16 points from Russell.
The Lakers started the second half with the same lineup they used to start the game, and immediately ran Russell off of multiple screens which freed up a drive to the basket and a foul.
Mozgov finally got his offense going on a nice feed from Russell, and Russell splashed home another three. The Lakers showed a lot more energy to start the half, which is exactly what Walton wanted to see.
The Kings were forced into a timeout and set up a play to get Collison a baseline jumper, but Russell responded by finding Randle on a slip screen for a layup. The next possession down Randle grabbed the defensive rebound and took off down court, eventually kicking it out to Williams for a corner three. For the first time in what felt like ages, the Sacramento lead was single digits.
After a Russell floater and a drive by Deng, the lead was suddenly just three and the momentum was firmly on the Lakers’ side. The Kings wouldn’t go away, though, with Gay hitting a jumper in the lane and then Tolliver knocking in yet another three.
Russell got a steal from Tolliver and scored, and Brandon Ingram came in to replace Deng while Clarkson took Williams’ spot. Walton then changed his mind and decided to go small by putting Deng back into the game for Mozgov, which meant Randle became the team’s center.
Brandon Ingram hit a three after a bullet pass from Russell, and it appeared that the rookie was finally getting his legs under him.
Clarkson had a couple of nice baskets (as well as a bad turnover and foul), and the quarter ended with the Lakers down 82-80. Russell had 29 points on 9-13 shooting.
The Kings started the fourth with a three from–who else–Tolliver. Los Angeles responded with a lob from Nance to Yi to keep it close. The Kings appeared to not be interested in making the same mistakes they did the last time the two teams played, using veterans like Gay and Afflalo in the fourth instead of their bench.
Walton opted to bring Nick Young into the game for some much-needed offense, but his first look was a forced three that came up short. With the Lakers going small, the Kings went inside to score and upped their lead to 10.
Russell came back in and scored his 31st point, but the Kings still had a 102-88 lead with six minutes to play thanks to yet another Tolliver three. The young Lakers did what they could to battle back into the game, but it was tough with Tolliver shooting a perfect seven-for-seven from three.
When the final horn sounded, the Lakers came up short, 116-104.