the Lakers He struggled to defend the paint, and both LeBron James and Russell Westbrook were having a relatively few nights, But the Lakers devoured a 122-114 victory over Sacramento Kings Thanks to some James clutch buckets, excellent performance from Talen Horton-Tucker on the bench and major contributions from Malik Monk and Dwight Howard too.
James only went 12-26 off the field after a slow start, but he managed to lead the Lakers in scoring with 31 points, including two massive 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to keep the Lakers in the game as he shoots. -To shoot nearly the length of the stretch with Laker Body Held (who finished the evening with 26 points and seven three-pointers of his own).
James came out on top in that duel, and wasn’t afraid to tell the kings about it. Overall, LeBron scored or assisted 20 of the Lakers’ 37 points in the most recent period.
LeBron scored 14 out of 31 points in the last 8 minutes of the game after starting 6 of 18 from the field. He finished 12 out of 26.
– Mike Trudel (@LakersReporter) January 5 2022
Westbrook had a horrible start to the night, starting the game 1-7 off the field and receiving a technical foul late in the first quarter. But although his shooting problems continued into the second half, his Westbrook teammates picked him up, as the Lakers outnumbered the Kings 31-28 in the period to cut their deficit to two points before the break.
Ross finally settled down during the second half to finish the game with 19 points, and even more impressively he finished the game without any turnovers, the first time he had done so in 407 games (!).
Russell Westbrook finished Tuesday with 0 turnovers versus the Kings.
This was the first time since March 14, 2016 that he had not scored a turn in a game.
This cuts the 407-game streak with turnover, which was the longest since it began tracking turnover in 1977-78. pic.twitter.com/OaN0f8Lxjm
– ESPN Statistics and Information (ESPNStatsInfo) January 5 2022
And while Westbrook struggled to shoot the ball, Horton-Tucker had his best game in weeks, scoring his first 3-pointers in five games and scoring 19 points from the bench. The Lakers young winger looked confident and aggressive all night, playing with the level of fluidity and control he had He’s been out of his game recently. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.
Also off the bench, Dwight Howard nearly doubled in the first half, scoring 12 points and 8 rebounds en route to… 14 points, 14 rebounds. On the other hand, shooting started with the guard Malik Raheb He continued his last offensive play on attack, rebounded from a grueling volley start to finish with 24 points, including some of his own late buckets, to keep the Lakers’ neck and neck with the Kings in fourth before they pulled away too far.
“It’s hard not to know if you’re going to play… It’s all about sacrifice. For me, it’s about preparing and staying positive.” @Dwight Howard (14 PTS, 14 REB) talks with studio staff after a productive outing against the Kings. # lexo pic.twitter.com/c5Zm4OTG2I
– Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) January 5 2022
Carmelo Anthony had limited movement in the first half as he made three quick fouls. But Anthony also came back with two sets in time to help finish the third quarter with an 8-2 score for the Lakers which proved the team’s importance even to staying in this game, not to mention having enough leeway to win the end of regulation.
And like Westbrook, the rest of the Lakers have done a much better job of limiting turnovers, with just 5 per night compared to 17 Kings, including two charged on back-to-back possessions from Sacramento with less than a Togo minute.
However, Los Angeles’ defensive problems remained, especially at home. Four different Kings scored in double digits, led by DeAaron Fox with a score of 30 while Fox’s men and the top Kings men tore up the Lakers’ poor defense.
Alex Lane and former Laker Damian Jones, who were both home base in Sacramento on Tuesday, collected 20 points, showing the limits of the Lakers’ small ball style with Trevor Ariza clearly not at 100% after ankle surgery and a game with COVID-19 and Howard effective Only on small bursts (the more we say about DeAndre Jordan, who never played in this game, the better).
But even though Los Angeles experienced much more offensive success with LeBron playing heavier minutes than he used to in the center, they still lacked a lot defensively without Anthony Davis in good health, as evidenced by the way they were burned by two. From flight hubs in Jones and Lane tonight. This game was an example of how they can stay small and take advantage of the extra spacing it gives, clearing driving lanes for James and Westbrook, but also how they can combine a little more volume with Howard when necessary to help stop the bleeding in defense.
This victory moved the Lakers to 20-19 on the season, and the team will now have two days off before returning to The Crypt to host Atlanta Hawks on Friday. Hint is offered at 7 p.m. PT on ESPN.
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