Recap: Lakers Struggle In Crunchtime Once Again, Losing Close One To Kings
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night in the fourth and final regular-season meeting between the two Pacific Division foes.

Both teams were without their star big men in Anthony Davis and Domantas Sabonis, but in the end, it was the Kings that came out on top with a 116-111 victory.

The two stars that did play were LeBron James and De’Aaron Fox and they both got off to quick starts, knocking down the first buckets of the night. James had the first five points for the Lakers and then came up with a steal that led to a Troy Brown Jr. layup in transition. The Lakers as a whole got off to a quick 13-9 start, forcing Mike Brown to call an early timeout.

Fox and rookie Keegan Murray drilled back-to-back 3-pointers out of the timeout as the Kings began to settle in, although Russell Westbrook and Wenyen Gabriel continued doing what they do best and that’s bringing the Lakers energy off the bench. They combined for six straight points after entering the game for their first shift.

That was the start of a run by the Lakers’ second unit as they stretched the lead to double digits after Kendrick Nunn made a pair of 3s. L.A. eventually went into the second quarter leading 39-28.

Westbrook got a little silly with the ball in the second quarter, committing some careless turnovers to allow the Kings to get back within four after a 3 by Fox.

The Lakers closed the second quarter on a dry streak. Meanwhile, Fox continued to get some favorable bounces and Murray knocked down another 3. Max Christie ended the half with a big 3, but the Lakers still went to the locker room trailing 61-60 after once leading by 14.

The halftime break didn’t cool off the Kings as Harrison Barnes and Murray both hits 3s early in the third. Luckily, James and Patrick Beverley hit deep shots of their own to keep the Lakers within striking distance. Unfortunately though, the Lakers could not cool the Kings off from deep and they eventually took their first double-digit lead of the game.

Max Christie made some nice plays on both ends to close out the third quarter, but the Lakers still went into the fourth trailing 90-82.

Nunn continued his strong play with another 3 early in the fourth. Even Westbrook got in on the action with a pair of triples to cut the deficit to two. It didn’t take long for the Lakers to regain the lead as James found Dennis Schroder for a floater midway through the quarter.

The game stayed within one possession for a majority of the fourth, setting up for an exciting finish. Kevin Huerter hit a big 3 to put his team ahead by three going into the final couple of minutes. James bullied his way into the paint for a three-point play though, tying the game once again.

Sacramento responded immediately with Barnes getting past Beverley for a three-point play of his own. With the game in the final minute, the Lakers badly needed a response but unfortunately James missed a 3. Juan Toscano-Anderson then fouled Fox on a jump shot and he made a free throw to extend the lead to four.

Nunn hit a huge 3 to give the Lakers a chance, but then Christie committed a clear-path foul so the game was put out of reach.

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