The Los Angeles Laker turned in one of their best halves of the 2021-22 season en route to blowing out the Sacramento Kings, 117-92.
Talen Horton-Tucker got the start with LeBron James out of the lineup and scored the Lakers first bucket of the game while Anthony Davis looked to carry the scoring burden early. Davis looked like he injured his hand as he was caught grimacing while holding it, although he stayed in the game and the Kings took a 13-8 lead after a Buddy Hield three.
Turnovers from Horton-Tucker and Russell Westbrook allowed Sacramento to up their advantage to nine, though Malik Monk found Dwight Howard for a pair of lobs to narrow the gap. The Lakers had trouble defending the 3-point line and went into the second trailing 28-20.
Sacramento tore up Los Angeles with several pick-and-roll plays in a row in the second, generating dunks and layups to take a 12-point lead. The Lakers failed to make any defensive adjustments as Tyrese Haliburton and Richaun Holmes carved them up with the same play, though a Carmelo Anthony and-one helped stopped the bleeding.
Fortunately for L.A., Sacramento struggled to hold on to the basketball themselves, which allowed them to slowly chip away at the deficit, with a Monk and Davis putback bringing them within five. The Kings once again found little resistance moving the ball for good looks and though Monk nailed a buzzer-beating three, the Lakers found themselves down 59-50 at the half.
Howard got the start at center to start the second half, though it did not matter much as Sacramento picked up where they left off scoring the basketball. The Lakers responded with an 8-0 run to make things interesting, with Monk staying hot from the field.
Los Angeles turned things around on the defensive end by earning multiple stops which allowed them to get out in transition where a Davis lay-in finally gave them a lead. The Lakers continued their onslaught and they somehow went into the fourth ahead 87-74.
Wayne Ellington kicked things off with a three to briefly extend the Laker lead to 18 while the defense did a great job preventing the Kings from hitting from the field. Holmes did his best to keep Sacramento hanging around, though Davis and the Lakers kept them at arm’s length.
Westbrook and the offense were clicking as he was relentless getting into the paint to find shooters or scoring at the rim. Los Angeles rode the momentum all the way to the end and came away with the victory.
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