Despite LeBron James’ return, the Los Angeles Lakers blew a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter and lost to the Sacramento Kings, 110-106.
Andre Drummond got going early by scoring twice in the lane but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed his first three attempts from the field which allowed the Kings to take a 10-7 lead. The offense struggled to score on open looks, though defensively Los Angeles was able to get enough stops to prevent Sacramento from going up much more.
The Lakers looked even more out of sorts with James off the floor, turning the ball over and getting too deep into the shot clock without generating a quality look. Los Angeles managed to scrape together a couple of buckets the final minute but went into the second trailing 30-23.
L.A. briefly fell behind by double digits, but moved the ball to get Ben McLemore and Marc Gasol back-to-back threes while a James running hook tied the game at 34. McLemore caught fire, draining two more 3-pointers while Anthony Davis came up with plays on both ends to go up by five.
With the Lakers leading, they looked more energized on both sides of the floor and were able to keep maintain their modest lead. However, Sacramento turned things around toward the end of the half and L.A. walked into the half with a slim 56-55 advantage.
The two teams toggled with the lead to begin the third, though the Lakers eventually took control after getting out on the break. Los Angeles did a job of forcing more stops, but Sacramento strung together a couple of good offensive possessions and brought the game within two.
Davis got into an offensive rhythm, hitting his patented turnaround jumper and finishing around the rim. Montrezl Harrell returned to the game after taking a shot to the face in the first half and gave the team a boost, allowing them to go into the final quarter leading 88-78.
Sacramento would not go away so quietly, once again trimming the lead down to make it a competitive game. Sloppy play allowed the Kings to get within one point, though the Lakers did enough to hold on to a slim lead toward the middle of the period.
However, things quickly turned as Sacramento retook the lead after another Los Angeles turnover led to a transition dunk. Davis came up with a steal in the final minute to set up the Lakers’ last possession but James missed a potential game-winning three.
James played 32 minutes and recorded 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
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