Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Kings – Game 40

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (19-21) | Sacramento Kings (20-18)


The Lake Show won their fifth straight game and remain undefeated in 2023 without Anthony Davis, defeating the Sacramento Kings 136-134


Lakers vs Kings
Photo Credit: José Luis Villegas/AP

Austin Reaves was diagnosed with a left hamstring strain, while Lonnie Walker IV was also diagnosed with left knee tendinitis, and both will be re-evaluated in approximately two weeks.

LeBron James (left ankle soreness), Damian Jones (right great toe soreness), and Russell Westbrook (left foot soreness) were made available, while Troy Brown Jr. (left quad strain) was out.

The Lakers rolled with the same starters as the night before with Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley, Juan Toscano-Anderson, King James, and Thomas Bryant.

The Lake Show started this game locked in, shooting out to a 7-2 lead that included a Pat Bev three. But they lost focus, as they let Sacramento get back into it, outscoring the Lakers 16-10 to secure their first lead of the game with five minutes left in the first quarter.

The King got his first points of the game in transition. The man has always been terrifying in transition. It was also a tale of two threes for James as he nailed his first attempt but airballed the second. Schroder showed no hesitance shooting as he drained another three to extend the Laker lead to seven.

Kendrick Nunn was still feeling hot as he got his first jumper to go, and Bryant ran the floor hard, with Russell Westbrook rewarding him with a fast break layup. But another Laker turnover led to a three for the Kings. LA still led 30-27.

Kings guard Davion Mitchell was 3-3 from three, the most triples he’s hit in a game since October, and the first time he’s hit two or more since Dec. 21 vs. the Lakers. He’s shooting 30.2% from three this season. At the end of the first quarter, Sacramento pulled ahead at 38-37, and defense felt optional.

Heading into the second quarter, James was hunched over on the other end of the court, as it looked like he got hit in the face. Because of that, Darvin Ham was called for a tech after that no-call for James. The Kings started to take control of the game, but James would not be denied as he bullied his way into multiple Kings defenders and scored an awkward bucket, pushing the Lake Show back up 48-46.

The Lakers were frustrated with the officiating crew, and with good reason. The whistles were rough, as the free throw attempts were 15 for Sacramento and six for the Lakers. James drew a technical, LA’s second, for arguing about it after he didn’t get an and-1 call, while Fox did.

A 6-0 Kings run had them up 60-52. However, LA was shooting 64.9%, including 8 of 12 from three. After shots from Schroder (his third) and Westbrook (his second), the game was tied at 62 as the offenses took turns.


At halftime, the score read Lakers 73, Kings 73. LA fought back after a poor stretch (including bad officiating) to climb back into the game. The Lake Show scored a season-high 73 points in the first half. James and Schroder had 16 points each. Westbrook had 14 points and eight assists. Bryant had 13 points.


Lakers vs Kings
Photo Credit: José Luis Villegas/AP

Heading into the third quarter, after Sabonis got called for his third personal foul, James went straight at him twice. The first time, Sabonis got out of the way for a dunk by James. The second time, James drew a foul on Sabonis, his fourth. Sabonis ended up sitting with 9:33 left in the third, and LA was only down by two.

With Sabonis in foul trouble, the Lakers should be relentlessly attacking the rim. Case in point, Russ went straight at him and scored. However, Sabonis did this on the other end by taking advantage of Wenyen Gabriel, who had five fouls, and Gabriel eventually fouled out after a lousy reach-in.

LA scored the final four points of the third quarter, enough to tie the score at 109 in a total offensive showcase. The fewest either team scored in a quarter was 35. The Lakers were at 61.5% from the field.

To begin the fourth quarter, the Lake Show came out gunning, shooting out to a 9-2 run. LA’s energy remained high on the second night of a back-to-back.

James continued to be aggressive, as he knew that Sabonis was in foul trouble, and he went right back at him again to draw Sabonis‘ fifth foul. James tried to draw his sixth foul, but Sabonis played passively, allowing the king to score another easy bucket. However, the Kings stuck with it and cut the Lakers’ lead to two points at 124-122 with 5:32 left in regulation.

Bryant continued his huge night, securing an offensive rebound and scoring the second-chance points. He’s been huge in AD’s absence, stepping up when the Lake Show needs him the most. His heart was on full display as he denied a shot on the defensive end and ran back to the offensive end to score another bucket.

De’Aaron Fox wouldn’t be denied, though, as he hit a floater to tie the game up at 130-130 with less than two minutes left. The Lake Show couldn’t counter, as James was called for an offensive foul, which might’ve been excellent acting by the rookie Keegan Murray.

King James had to be feeling upset because he accelerated straight into the paint for an and-1 bucket, and the foul was on Sabonis, his sixth, and that effectively took him out of the game, with Trey Lyles entering in for him. 

That substitution may have cost Sacramento as Lyles threw a bad pass to Fox on an inbound, resulting in a steal for Schroder, and the Lake Show had possession with a 133-132 lead and only 22.3 seconds left.

Westbrook broke free for what should’ve been an and-1, but it was ruled just a regular foul, putting Brodie on the line, and he could only make one free throw. That enabled Fox to come down and score a fadeaway jumper to tie the game.

The Lake Show looked a bit scrambled on their inbound and eventually got it to Schroder, who took Fox one-on-one for the potential game-winning bucket. He missed the layup, but a foul was called on Fox. Sacramento challenged the play, and the referees ruled that the call would stand, sending Schroder to the free-throw line.

Schroder would make both free throws, forcing Fox to throw up a half-court shot, and thankfully he was off. The miss resulted in a massive win for the Lake Show, their fifth in a row. The final score read Lakers 136, Kings 134.


Key Takeaways


Lakers vs Kings
Photo Credit: LeBron Wire

The Lake Show won their fifth straight game to improve to 19-21. King James had 37 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists but was 1-6 from three. Bryant was electric, finishing with 29 points on 12-14 shooting and 14 rebounds. Schroder had 27 points on 4-5 shooting from three. All the while, Westbrook became only the second player to record 20+ points, 5+ rebounds, and 15+ assists off the bench since starters began to be tracked in 1970-71.

Fox desperately wanted to win this game, totaling 34 points and nine assists. He even took things to Twitter, questioning the late-game foul on Schroder, but he loses some merit considering he took 14 free throws himself.

Sabonis did his part, totaling 25 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists. Harrison Barnes had 18 points, Kevin Huerter had 17 points along with six rebounds, and Murray finished with 16 points on 4-5 from three.

The Lakers currently have the NBA’s longest active winning streak at five games (tying Memphis), despite being without Anthony Davis, Walker IV, Reaves, and Brown Jr. After starting the season 3-10, the Lake Show has also gone 16-11 since despite being without Davis for the last 12.5 games.

Ham on LA shooting 61%, “Seventy points in the paint. That’s who we are. We want to play fast, physical and free, with force. That was a representation of our physicality. Guys were not settling, staying in constant attack mode.”

James on Bryant, “He’s taking full advantage of his opportunity. He’s a guy that plays really hard, knows how to play, and is probably one of the most skilled big men in the game.” James also told reporters that he’d had visions of what he, AD, and TB could look like.


The Lakers will now take on the Denver Nuggets. They’ll face off on Monday, January 9th, at 6:00 p.m. PT at the Pepsi Center. The game will be available on Altitude and Spectrum SportsNet.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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