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Kings offense flourishes in 113 to 102 victory over the Lakers

No dessert tomorrow will be sweeter than a Kings victory over the Lakers

Kimani Okearah

We haven’t seen many nights of offensive excellence from the Kings this season, but against the visiting Lakers, Sacramento scored 113 points on 55.3% shooting and led the game for most of the night. Zach Randolph (22 points) and Willie Cauley-Stein (season-high 26 points) became the first two Kings players this entire season to score 20 points in the same game, and four other Kings scored in double digits.

This night was hyped up because of the matchup between De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball, but that wasn’t what this actual game was about. While Fox and Ball both played alright, other players stole the limelight, whether it was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma dropping threes or Bogdan Bogdanovic and Frank Mason III sparking the Kings off the bench.

Sacramento’s defense wasn’t all that impressive this game, as the Lakers themselves shot 50% from the field and 51.7% from the perimeter (they dropped in several in the last few minutes that made the final score appear closer than it was). Six Lakers finished in double digits, led by Caldwell-Pope’s 20 on 7-12 shooting. But the Kings scored more and more efficiently. The Kings also dominated the rebounding battle 44 to 32, only allowing the Lakers to get 4 offensive boards all night. That’s not something we’ve seen all season. It was a team effort too, as Skal Labissiere’s 8 rebounds led the team but every starter had at least 3 and Willie Cauley-Stein, Frank Mason and Kosta Koufos combined for 16 off the bench.

While the final score indicates a shootout, both teams struggled out of the gate. The Kings might even have been in some trouble if Zach Randolph wasn’t hitting his shots early. Randolph put together his finest performance as a King yet, manhandling the Lakers inside but also showcasing some nice range with two made three pointers. He also added 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals.

Sacramento’s offense didn’t really get going until Frank Mason and Bogdan Bogdanovic came in. Those guys helped set the tone and hit some big shots to give the Kings a double digit lead after the first. Over the course of the rest of the game, the Lakers wouldn’t let the Kings get super far ahead, but to the Kings credit, they responded to each Lakers run with a run of their own to keep them out of reach.

Bogdanovic and Mason each had the best games of their NBA careers to date. Bogdan got going early and it seemed to give him a little more confidence seeing his shot go in but he really connected as a playmaker, dishing out 7 assists, at least 5 of which were lobs to Willie Cauley-Stein. Those two have shown a real affinity for each other as of late and Bogdan is always seemingly looking for him near the rim whenever he has the ball.

Mason also ran the offense well, dishing 7 assists of his own to go with 11 points and 5 rebounds. Mason was a team-high +17 and was a steady presence for the Kings whenever he was in the game. He does not play like a rookie, and he has a fearlessness about him that’s inspiring. On one possession with Cauley-Stein at the line, the free throw missed and Mason came from the three point line to get the rebound and a new possession for Sacramento.

Cauley-Stein had a field day against the Lakers lack of size. Brook Lopez only played about 17 minutes due to foul trouble and with nobody really able to protect the rim, Cauley-Stein thrived. He attacked the basket over and over, even driving it once from the three point line for a monstrous slam and-one on Julius Randle.

Cauley-Stein really seems to be coming into his own as of late.

With the win, the Kings go to 5-13 before facing that other team from L.A. on Saturday. For the opponent’s perspective, visit Silver Screen and Roll.

Game Highlights:

Random Observations:

  • Lot of Lakers fans in the building tonight, so it was immensely satisfying when most of them rolled out early and Kings fans starting singing “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye”.
  • De’Aaron Fox in particular seemed to be way too amped about the “Fox vs. Ball” part of the game early. Both players struggled with their shot in the first half before settling down in the second, but De’Aaron had some incredibly ugly misses.
  • Speaking of ugly misses, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game that had more airballs in it, from both teams. And both teams shot 50% or better!
  • For all the attention that Lonzo Ball gets, Kyle Kuzma is the Lakers best rookie. Hell, he might be their best player. That guy’s going to be a good player in this league for a while. He’s got athleticism, a handle and a shot.
  • Julius Randle was a pain in the butt whenever he was on the floor, so it’s a bit surprising that he wasn’t on the floor more. He always seems to kill the Kings, and he was the only Laker that really proved to be an answer for Z-Bo.
  • Andrew Bogut looks done. He can’t get up and down the court anymore.
  • George Hill played 22 minutes according to the box score but I wouldn’t be able to tell you what he did tonight and I was at the game. It’s amazing how a player as good as Hill can disappear for such long stretches. He has yet to find his groove in Sacramento.
  • Skal really needs to work on his finesse, especially around the basket. He kinda just tries to bulldoze his way in there and throw something up right now.
  • Buddy Hield might not be the most effective defender, but he is busting his ass out there this year. Looks like that ankle’s just fine too.
  • Buddy, Frank and Bogdan passed up so many good open looks tonight, it makes me want to pull what little hair I have left out. These guys are too good of shooters to pass up on wide open threes, especially tonight when they were hitting them!
  • Vince Carter got some extended playing time at the expense of Kosta Koufos tonight as Dave Joerger tried to match up a little bit with the Lakers small ball. The box score doesn’t really reflect much, but I thought he played well.