Basketball   |   February 8, 2023

The Lakers Blew a Winnable Game Against the Sacramento Kings Wednesday Night in Los Angeles

The Lakers lost a third time on Wednesday this week to Sacramento Kings 116-111, thanks to an 8-3 surge in the game’s last minute. LeBron James stated that the Lakers had zero room for errors due to the team’s injury situation.

James played the longest (36 minutes, 30 seconds) for the Lakers and finished with the most (32 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds). Darvin Ham had stated a month earlier that he wanted to play James for as many minutes as possible to secure the victory following the 38-year-40-minute old’s performance at the Charlotte Hornets. 

The Lakers’ head coach, Darvin Ham, initially said James wouldn’t play against the Kings because of his heavy workload. However, he {Darvin Ham} then changed his mind. 

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings: Team News

Despite a solid first quarter in which they led 39-28, the Lakers could not maintain their lead in the second or third quarters, and a late comeback attempt ultimately failed. Los Angeles lost 116-111 on Wednesday night to the visiting Sacramento Kings without Domantas Sabonis.

The Lakers have a record of 20-25 and are 2 matches out of a playoff spot. As a result of this loss, the team’s season series against the Kings is now tied at 1-3. The Kings are holding the tiebreaker. The Kings improved to 25-20 on the season thanks to solid efforts from De’Aaron Fox (31) and Harrison Barnes (20). LeBron James scored 32 points to lead the Lakers in the loss.

The Lakers needed a more solid defensive effort than the one that helped them beat the Houston Rockets, in which they allowed 134 points. The Kings’ most outstanding player, Domantas Sabonis, was ruled out with an injury intended to boost. But now that the slow-footed big is no longer on the court, the Kings can run even more than usual. 

Sacramento scored only 28 points in the first quarter, while the Lakers created four turnovers during the first 12 minutes. The Lakers had a strong defensive showing to start the game, but their lackluster offense in the 2nd half undermined their efforts. The Lakers led by 14 points at the half, but they were down by one going into the third after scoring only 21 points inside the second.

After the break, the “third quarter Lakers” returned to the court and struggled to score and defend. Harrison Barnes tallied 20 points by rolling in the third quarter, and Richaun Holmes averaged 2.8 points per game, replaced Sabonis, and started on fire. He scored 16 points on a perfect 7-for-7 performance from the field. Moreover, Sacramento dominated the game through three quarters and took an 8-point lead into the fourth frame.

Los Angeles, outscored by the Kings, made a ferocious comeback in the 4th quarter. LeBron barely rested since Darvin Ham wanted to avoid losing the game. However, youngster Max Christie chipped 7 of his team’s 12 points and made questionable decisions to equal each electric basket.

The Lakers had three consecutive attacking possessions where desperate shots had to be attempted with the shot clock winding down. Wenyen’s putback and LeBron James’ and-one basket tied the game at 108 with 1:10 remaining.

Barnes made a layup while driving to the basket and was fouled; Fox made one of two from the line; and Trey Lyles sealed the deal with a brace of free throw attempts. The Lakers could not score on their next possession and managed only a Nunn three-pointer in the final seconds. 

James’ weariness may have caught up with him in the 4th quarter against the Kings. He went 1-for-7 and played all but 25 seconds of the final session despite playing a game-high of 36 minutes and 30 seconds.

The Lakers have not had All-Star Anthony Davis for at least a month as he suffered a right foot injury. The team is still awaiting the returns of injured players Lonnie Walker IV (knee injury) and Austin Reaves (hamstring injury). Los Angeles has remained competitive despite the absence of three crucial rotation players but has yet to close out victories as of late.

Their previous three losses were by 4 points in double OT (overtime) against the Dallas Mavericks, a single point to the Philadelphia 76ers, and 5 points to the King’s side without Domantas Sabonis.

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