Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Kings – Game 45

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (20-25) | Sacramento Kings (25-18)

 

The Lake Show failed to close out the season series against the Sacramento Kings, losing 116-111, with LeBron James being the only starter with double-digit points

 

Lakers vs Kings
Photo Credit: Ashley Landis/AP

Sterling Brown’s 10-day contract ended, and the Lakers didn’t seem to be in a rush to fill their 15th roster spot.

Anthony Davis is reportedly aiming for an early February return. Darvin Ham told reporters that AD has started to increase the intensity of his workouts and came out of them “pain-free.”

Lady luck smiled upon the Lake Show. As for Sacramento, they would be without Domantas Sabonis (Non-COVID illness) and, of less importance, Matthew Dellavedova (Non-COVID illness).

The Lake Show’s starting lineup against the Kings was Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley, Brown Jr., James, and Thomas Bryant against Sacramento.

King James wasted no time in this one, scoring back-to-back buckets to open the game. He’d only continue to pour it on, playing aggressively and putting the pressure on Sacramento, forcing the Kings into a timeout as the Lakers led 13-9.

Sabonis’ replacement Richaun Holmes, let it known that he wasn’t a pushover, as he snagged an offensive rebound and slammed it back in over Bryant and James. Brown had himself a highlight play as he passed it behind his head to the king for a ferocious one-handed dunk.

Kendrick Nunn had it going early, draining a three to give the Lakers their largest lead of the game yet of eight points. Max Christie had a chance for a highlight himself, as he stole a pass and took it the entire length of the court, only to be fouled before taking flight. Christie is already showing flashes, and it’s not a secret that the Lake Show may have a hidden gem within their grasp. 

Nunn continued his strong showing with another three as he broke down his defender for a clean look from the corner. Lake Show fans may not know, but Nunn was fantastic for the Miami Heat. He just needed time to adjust. LA scored easily on the Kings’ 24th-ranked defense in the first quarter and led 39-28. They shot 60% from the field and 50% from three.

Russell Westbrook was called for a technical after he was called for traveling. Understandable, considering that he was bumped off balance multiple times, but of course, the refs didn’t call that. Rebounding was an issue early on, though it always should be without AD and when you’re running three-guard lineups. The Kings were ahead 10-2 in offensive rebounds and 16-6 in second-chance points. Despite the considerable advantage in rebounding, after a transition finish by Westbrook, the Lake Show was ahead 47-36 with 8:27 left in the first half.

Classic Westbrook would come out, not in the good way we all want, though, as he tried to break down Trey Lyles, but he lost control of the ball on the way up. Sacramento fought their way back, expectedly, as they went on a 9-4 run over three minutes to cut the Lake Show’s lead to six.

The Lakers were caught ball-watching Harrison Barnes’ drive baseline, allowing Kevin Huerter to get a good look from three. De’Aaron Fox wouldn’t let the Lake Show off easy, either. As he’s become an expert in the pick-and-roll game throughout his short career, along with his developed jumper, he’s evolved into an all-around threat at all times.

Sacramento fatefully took the lead after Keegan Murray had a three fall from the corner. After another bucket from Fox, the Lake Show found themselves behind by three points. The rebound battle was the primary catalyst, as because of the early game split in offensive rebounds, the Kings were ahead in total rebounds as well, with a lead of 25-16.

 

At halftime, the score read Kings 61, Lakers 60. LA let their foot off the gas, and their 14-point lead was erased.

 

Lakers vs Kings
Photo Credit: Ashley Landis/AP

Heading into the second half, Bryant sank a mid-range jumper. That part of Bryant’s game has been a delight for the Lake Show, as he can score anywhere on the court, spacing things out a bit. However, he’s a spot-up shooter and can’t create for himself. That’s why we have King James and Russ.

The Kings were rolling, and the Lakers needed to keep pace. Luckily, James remained a constant, as he drilled a three to keep the game within two. However, the defense needed to be a key focus, as Barnes made a three to give the Kings a five-point cushion. The Lake Show isn’t a team that can outgun opponents; they’re going to have to clamp down defensively to give themselves a chance at winning games.

Despite Sabonis being out, Holmes replaced him nicely, and he was a thorn in the side of the Lake Show, as he still hadn’t missed after six attempts. The Kings had taken control of the game and flipped the Lakers on their side. Sacramento had their largest lead of 12 points at 86-74 with 2:53 left in the third quarter.

Nunn got a little ahead of himself, as after hitting a three, he came back down and tried to get a heat check off, but he was rejected by Davion Mitchell. At the end of the third quarter, the score read Kings 90, Lakers 82. LA’s defense remained nearly non-existent though the bench did make up some ground at the end.

A 9-0 Lakers run bridging the third and fourth quarters had them within four points after Sacramento had opened a 14-point edge late in the third. With 7:10 left in regulation, the Lake Show was only down 100-99. Though Juan Toscano-Anderson got a layup to fall, the lead was back in the hands of the Lakers.

However, a 5-0 run for the Kings had them ahead by five after a triple from Huerter and an inside finish from Fox. All the while, the Lake Show struggled to find anything offensively, with back-to-back possessions ending with chuck-up shots because of the shot clock. Although, those possessions may have ended like that because James seemed to be catching his breath.

King James finally started to take control after bullying the rookie Murray for an and-1 finish. After making the free throw, the Lake Show tied the game at 108-108 with a minute left in regulation. However, LA’s defense would not hold up once more, as Barnes took Beverley one on one and scored through a double team as Westbrook made a sorry attempt to help out.

James tried to equalize the game with a three, but he unfortunately missed. The miss placed the Lake Show in a tough spot with just 30.4 seconds left. However, lady luck shined upon the Lakers again, as Fox could only make one free throw. James got it to Nunn, who made a prayer of a three as he fell sideways, cutting the Sacramento’s lead to one. 

Afterward, the Lakers failed to foul in the frontcourt, which allowed Holmes to be wide open downcourt, and Christie made the mistake of fouling him from behind, leading to the foul being named a clear path. That allowed the Kings to have the ball after Holmes made both free throws. There wasn’t any comeback after that, and the final score read Kings 116, Lakers 111.

 

Key Takeaways

 

Lakers vs Kings
Photo Credit: Ashley Landis/AP

The Lake Show lost for the fourth time in five games to drop to 20-25. King James totaled 32 points (2-9 3PM), eight rebounds, and nine assists. Westbrook had 19 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Nunn had 14 points on 4-6 3PM. Wenyen Gabriel and Christie combined for 22 points off the bench. James was the only starter with double-digit points. Nunn was a team-best +18, while James and Pat Bev were a team-worst -16.

Fox controlled this game with 31 points and six assists. Holmes made his best Sabonis impression, totaling 16 points (7-7 FGs) and 11 rebounds. Huerter contributed 18 points and eight assists. Barnes had 20 points and six rebounds. Murray finished with 10 points and ten rebounds.

Darvin Ham told reporters after the game that he “feels bad” about James’ workload lately, “It’s tough because he’s such a competitor, and we’re in these games, and he wants to win, we want to win, so you kind of lose sight until after the game when you check the stat sheet.” 

With 25 losses on the season now, It won’t get any easier for the Lakers with Ja Morant and the Grizzlies coming to town. The next seven games to finish out the month include Grizzlies, at Blazers, Clippers, Spurs, at Celtics, at Nets, and at Knicks.

 

The Lakers will now take on the Memphis Grizzlies. They’ll face off on Friday, January 20th, at 7:00 p.m. PT at the Crypto.com Arena. The game will be available on ESPN, Spectrum SportsNet, Bally Sports South, Bally Sports Southeast, Bally Sports Southwest, and Bally Sports Midwest.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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