The Los Angeles Lakers met the Sacramento Kings for the second time this preseason, this time in Las Vegas. Like the first match-up, the team fell behind early and clawed themselves out of the hole. Unlike the first contest, the Lakers ultimately fell short of a win.
The first half was a mixed bag for the Lakers, leaning to the negative end of the spectrum. The team received a huge scoring burst from D’Angelo Russell who went 4-4 from three in two quarters. It was a great effort from the sophomore after a dismal shooting night on Tuesday against the Blazers. Russell finished the game with 31 points (10-14, 5-6 from three) and 11 assists.
However, he did not receive much support from his teammates. The offense bogged down when Russell was not on the court. The defense was lackadaisical with multiple instances where the extra help was not present.
That has been a consistent theme this preseason as the Lakers have often been solid on the initial rotation to send help but not the secondary. The lack of consistency led to a 62-44 deficit at the break.
The second half began better for the Lakers. Russell continued his incendiary shooting and added plenty of great playmaking, looking like an all-star with the ease at which he ran the offense. Julius Randle made several big plays including a tough lay-up in traffic and a transition assist to Lou Williams for a corner three in back-to-back positions. The big man did not score much (only six points on 3-9 shooting) but grabbed ten rebounds and dished out five assists.
Brandon Ingram also showed a little more comfort in the flow of the offense, finishing with seven points on 3-7 shooting.
LA got within two points of the Kings but once again, the offense crumbled without Russell. On the defensive end, the team had no answers for Anthony Tolliver and Lakers legend Jordan Farmar, who finished with seven (!!!) and four made threes, respectively.
Despite a last-ditch effort from Nicholas “Spectacular Defender Who Also Cannot Miss” Young, the Lakers fell to the Kings 116 to 104.
The Purple and Gold have one more game in Vegas on Saturday against the Golden State Warriors at 7 PM PST. The Lakers should hope that GSW beat Denver on Friday so that they can enter the match-up with a 3-1 record.