Despite a late fourth-quarter run, the Los Angeles Lakers fell short and lost to the Sacramento Kings, 125-116.
Trevor Ariza got the nod for his first start of the 2021-22 season, but picked up two quick fouls and was forced to the bench just 90 seconds into the game. Malik Monk was able to keep his hot streak against the Kings alive with a pair of triples, helping the Lakers take an early 20-15 lead.
Foul trouble started to become an issue when Monk also picked up his second foul, but LeBron James was able to keep the offense going by staying aggressive. Sacramento was able to crawl back in the game thanks to their bench, but Los Angeles took a 34-29 advantage at the end of the first.
The Kings were able to briefly tie the game, but a James 3-pointer and and-one from Austin Reaves put the Lakers back up by eight. Russell Westbrook was finally able to get going a bit with his relentless attacking the rim, keeping Sacramento from closing the gap.
Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley were able to extend Los Angeles’ lead to double digits with baskets near the rim, while defensively the team did a good job of limiting Sacramento to just one shot. However, the Kings closed the quarter on an 8-0 run and the Lakers would only go into the half ahead 67-61.
Monk continued his hot shooting from the first half, drilling two more threes but Sacramento was able to keep pace thanks to Harrison Barnes and De’Aaron Fox. The Lakers offense went cold for a stretch before Monk threw it off the glass to James for a highlight reel dunk.
Things turned sideways quickly for L.A. as their dry spell and turnovers allowed Sacramento to go on a 19-3 run that suddenly left them trailing by 10. Reaves was a much-needed spark on both ends of the floor but the Lakers still found themselves trailing 101-90 going into the fourth.
Despite a 3-pointer from Talen Horton-Tucker, a missed layup from Westbrook and a Harrison Barnes corner three left the Lakers still staring at an 11-point hole. Reaves continued to make plays and James began to heat up from the field to pull L.A. within six.
Reaves’ hustle kept several plays alive for the Lakers as they tried to get over the hump in the closing minutes. However, a six-point swing between a missed Westbrook three and a made one for Chimezie Metu shut the door on a possible comeback.
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