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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Kings – Game 31

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (13-18) | Sacramento Kings (17-13)

 

The Lake Show failed to hold the Sacramento Kings as they fell 134-120 without AD, compounded by poor efforts on the glass and defense

 

Lakers vs Kings
Photo Credit: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images

Anthony Davis and Juan Toscano-Anderson remained out. Davis initially made the trip to Sacramento but stayed at the hotel for treatment on his right foot during the morning shootaround, per the Lakers.

Russell Westbrook was also out against Sacramento due to left foot soreness. He started the day out questionable but was unfortunately made unavailable. It was his second straight game missed with a sore foot. Austin Reaves was downgraded to out with his right ankle sprain, and now the Lakers had to play an up-and-coming Sacramento squad without Reaves, Westbrook, and Davis. However, at least the king returned to action.

The Lakers’ starters against Sacramento were Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker IV, LeBron James, and Thomas Bryant.

Bryant got the game started with a three, which is something he could hold over AD’s head, but we’ll need to see more of those for him to be a real threat on the court. James finished at the rim, and it was a 5-0 start for the Lake Show.

Despite that, after a possession that featured two offensive rebounds for the Kings, Sacramento went on a 7-2 run to tie the game up. These were the early signs of AD-itis, where we’ll suffer heavily on the rebound battle every time he’s out, but that’ll happen anytime when you’ve got three 6’4 or smaller guys on the court when the NBA average height these days is 6′ 6-6 ‘7.

As much as the fanbase likes to be harsh on Beverley, he does things on the court that the stat sheet will never record, as he prevented a Sacramento fastbreak by forcing a turnover. Beverley’s biggest problem is that he’s around 6’1, and he’s not a true point guard. If the Lake Show decides not to trade him but someone else, hopefully, it’s for a lanky skilled forward or an all-purpose big because that would be the best fit for Beverley.

Back to the game, Bryant showed off his playmaking ability with a pass to a wide-open Max Christie, who has received an uptick in playing time, and for good reason, as he splashed home the corner three.

Despite not having three of their key players, the Lake Show was up three at 22-19 with 2:20 left in the first quarter. Of course, there was still a ton of game left to play, but it’s a bright sign to know that your reserves can step up. It depends on who they’re playing, though, because nobody stepped up defensively against Phoenix

After Walker IV made two free throws, the first quarter ended with LA in the lead at 26-25. Seven out of the eight Lakers to play scored, with Bron and Schroder leading the way with six points apiece. The Lakers held the Kings to 33.3% from the field and 20% from three. Both teams had six turnovers

Heading into the second quarter, De’Aaron Fox tried to get an awkward floater to go but was rejected by James, who sent the ball into the second row. Damian Jones and Kendrick Nunn checked in for the first time. Still, they quickly showed why they’re buried in the rotation, as Nunn promptly turned the ball over, while Jones gave up an alley-oop dunk to Neemias Queta that erupted the crowd and swung the momentum pendulum towards Sacramento.

Jones, in particular, was having trouble as he gave up back-to-back scores in the paint to Queta and Fox but was fortunate enough that his teammates picked up the slack, as the game was tied at 38 apiece with 7:48 left in the second.

LA was doing a good job guarding Domantas Sabonis, as with less than five minutes remaining in the first half, Sabonis only had two points off free throws with four turnovers. The problem was that they couldn’t contain him on the glass, as he had 11 rebounds already.

A scary moment for Laker fans, as James was found down on the court, visibly in pain, after Christie drilled a three to bring them within four, although upon closer inspection, the king may have just been hit in his nether regions. James seemed to shrug the pain off as he glided past Kings defenders to throw down a dunk over Kevin Huerter in transition.

 

It wasn’t the best ending, as the Kings got hot to finish the first half, but the Lake Show was still within reach as they were only down 66-58. The Lakers held Sabonis to just five points, but the Kings were shooting 16-18 (88.9%) from the free throw line and 8-24 (33.3%) from three. 

 

Lakers vs Kings
Photo Credit: José Luis Villegas/AP

Entering the second half, Sabonis caught a body but was matched by a Beverely three-pointer, slowly but surely quieting the haters. Bryant saved a sloppy possession with a contested corner three to beat the shot clock, but after another offensive foul by the Lake Show, they were down 77-67 with 7:46 left in the third quarter.

Schroder kept things in reach as he dumped off a pass to Bryant for a two-handed flush, but the Kings made their 10th three of the game courtesy of the rookie Keegan Murray, where the three-point battle was one that the Lakers were losing.

It also didn’t help that Fox was locked in, as he converted the and-1 play to retake a 10-point lead, totaling 18 points with a whole quarter and a half left. Things got out of hand as Sacramento went on an 18-2 run to take a 23-point lead with 1:28 remaining in the quarter. Schroder and Bryant thankfully ended what was nearly a four-minute drought to end the quarter.

James wasn’t in the game when Sacramento made their run to take complete control of the game but was in to start the fourth quarter, though expectedly, he wasn’t going to stay long if Nunn was going to continue to practically give the ball back over to the Kings with back to back missed layups.

A flagrant foul was called on Wenyen Gabriel as he dangerously hit Sabonis on the head, plus a technical foul was called on Darvin Ham, resulting in three free throws for Sacramento and a three-from Murray on the ensuing possession, a staggering six-point possession for the Kings to take a 121-100 lead with 7:23 remaining.

Somehow, the Lake Show stayed competitive, as they went on a little 8-1 run to cut the lead to 16. With 3:10 remaining, Fox was ejected from the game after earning two technical fouls in succession. The Lake Show earned additional free throws at the same time when Huerter committed a transition take foul on Schroder, further cutting the lead to 13.

Luckily for Sacramento, the Lakers decided to squander their run by playing zero defense, as back-to-back threes had the lead back up to 19. All that work and luck to go their way, just to give it all up, classic. There was nothing else to take away from this game besides some garbage time stats as the Lakers fell to the Kings 134-120.

 

Key Takeaways

 

Lakers vs Kings
Photo Credit: José Luis Villegas/AP

James did some stat padding in this one to finish with 31 points, six rebounds, 11 assists, and three blocks but shot an abysmal 0-4 from three. Walker IV played poorly defensively but was alright offensively with 19 points on 3-6 from three and five rebounds. Schroder, the shooter, totaled 18 points on 2-4 from three. Bryant produced a double-double with 17 points and ten rebounds with 2-2 from three.

Fox, despite the ejection, put up 22 points and six assists but was 0-3 from three and -3 in plus/minus. Sabonis was getting doubled all game but was just too good, as he had a triple-double, 13 points, an insane 21 rebounds, and 12 assists. Huerter led the squad in scoring with 26 points. 

The Lake Show shot better than Sacramento from three at 45.8% but was outmatched with quantity, as the Kings out-made them 17-11. The Lakers also lost the rebound battle 46-39, and these were more than likely the top two reasons that they lost this one.

 

The Lakers will now travel back home to take on the Charlotte Hornets. They’ll face off Friday, December 23rd, at 5:30 p.m. PT at the Crypto.com Arena. The game will be available on Bally Sports South, Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass, and Spectrum SportsNet.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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