After a rough loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at home, the Los Angeles Lakers kicked off their seven-game road trip by getting back on track with a 115-94 blowout win over the Sacramento Kings.
Marc Gasol was re-inserted back into the starting lineup and found Markieff Morris for a lob early in the first. Although the Lakers committed five turnovers, they were able to hold on to a 15-9 lead midway through the first because of their defense.
Gasol was a factor on both ends as he deterred shots at the rim and moved the ball on offense to keep Los Angeles’ offense flowing, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knocked down a pair of threes to put the team ahead 13. However, Sacramento responded with a 10-0 run at the end of the quarter and L.A. saw themselves only up 29-27.
Early in the second, Wesley Matthews was forced to exit the game after hitting his head on the stanchion. He was later ruled out for the rest of the night with a neck strain.
Talen Horton-Tucker sparked the Lakers atop the second with a couple of crafty drives to the rim, while a Kyle Kuzma three gave them some breathing room. The Los Angeles bench continued to play well on both ends and managed to extend their lead to as much as 16.
Although the Kings went on a brief run to cut the deficit, the Lakers were able to answer with a spurt of their own to stay comfortably ahead. Harrison Barnes did his best to keep Sacramento close, but Los Angeles went into the half leading 65-53.
It was sloppy start to the third for the Lakers as they struggled with turnovers and poor possessions but still led by 15 after another Kuzma 3-pointer. Each time Sacramento looked like they would go on a run, the Lakers responded to keep them from making up any ground.
The two teams traded a flurry of shots from beyond the arc, with the Lakers still holding a double-digit edge. Horton-Tucker converted on a difficult layup at the end of the period and L.A. went into the fourth up 91-76.
The Lakers took a 20-point to begin the final quarter after they swung the ball to Alex Caruso for a corner three. Caruso later followed it up with a poster dunk over Moe Harkless that energized the rest of the team.
For L.A., the 3-point shooting was a huge positive as the team has struggled greatly in that department as of late. Another positive sign was the play of Kuzma, who was the best player on the floor for either team, finishing with 30 points, five rounds and three assists on 11-of-18 shooting.
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