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Kings 92, Lakers 95: Despite Hield and Mason’s best efforts, another comeback falls short

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The Kings lost an exciting matchup with their California rivals.

NBA: Summer League-Los Angeles Lakers at Sacramento Kings Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday night, the Kings fell to 0-3 in Summer League as their second half comeback against Los Angeles fell short in the final moments of an exciting contest.

Frank Mason III was the absolute highlight for Sacramento as he completely took over the game for the Kings in the second half. After the Lakers managed to take a 28 point lead in the third quarter behind Alex Caruso’s hot shooting, exciting passes, and pick pocket defense, our second round point guard put his head down and started the charge through pure determination and a refusal to be stopped. In the third quarter, Mason put up 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists while scoring from beyond the arc, in the midrange, and drawing multiple fouls.

With De’Aaron Fox sitting out the fourth quarter due to a tweaked ankle, the comeback was left in Mason’s hands and he continued his strong play in the final period. He managed to dump in another 10 points in the 4th, and ended the contest with 24 points (9/13 FG), 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals while only turning the ball over one time. Thankfully, Mason got some help from Buddy Hield, who caught fire for 16 points of his own in the final quarter, including nailing four of his five three point attempts. Unfortunately, his only miss from deep was a desperation three pointer to try and tie the game in the closing seconds.

While the Kings couldn’t quite catch up after falling behind by almost 30 points, it is encouraging that there was no quit in the team. In the final 17:05 of the game, Sacramento outscored Los Angeles 52-27 and would have easily won the game had it not been for an absolutely cringe worthy second quarter.

Other Player Evaluations

De’Aaron Fox had a solid scoring night, scoring 12 points on only 6 field goal attempts, and also knocked down all four of his free throws. Possibly because of his aggressiveness at the rim, his assist numbers were disappointing as he recorded only one assist in 20 minutes of play. Defensively, he seemed off as he let Alex Caruso get the best of him throughout the night. It also might have been because of an ankle tweak that caused him to sit out much of the second half.

Justin Jackson had another solid game starting for the Kings as Malachi Richardson is still being held out of the lineup. The rookie scored 16 points, including knocking down a couple of three-pointers, but the most impressive part of his game was his consistency with a midrange floater. He seems to be able to flip the ball into the hoop from almost any angle and that will certainly help him in his NBA career.

Skal Labissiere continues to look completely disconnected from the games, and one has to wonder if it’s a player simply trying new things, the squad focusing on the rookie’s development, the guard-oriented summer league not doing him any favors, or if a 21 year old in Vegas has other things on his mind. The Haitian Sensation scored two points and grabbed five rebounds in a forgettable 24 minutes of play.

What can I say about Georgios Papagiannis? Through two Summer League stints, and one NBA season, he hasn’t shown the instincts or ability of a professional basketball player. Outside of being a giant human being, his contributions on the court are a constant negative. Last night he managed to snag five rebounds in 15 minutes, but the Greek Peak constantly loses rebounds to smaller, opposing players. The epitome of his time in the league was demonstrated when he powerfully snagged an offensive rebound a foot away from the hoop, unnecessarily pump faked two or three times amidst a group of smaller defenders, and allowed them to gather themselves as they blocked his layup attempt. Sure, we can say it’s only Summer League, or that he’s only 20 years old, but I’m still waiting for a single, NBA skill to show itself from our lottery selection.

Several other players got a few minutes off the bench for the Kings. Jack Cooley had a quiet game and couldn’t seem to establish a rhythm, JaKarr Sampson played hard, but also seems to struggle with controlling his body, and Naz Mitruo-Long looked absolutely awful in his short time on the court. He managed to jack up 7 shots in just 12 minutes, but only managed to make one.

Tonight showed some different sides to our players in Summer League. Frank Mason III demonstrated why Vlade Divac and our Front Office were so high on him, Buddy Hield reminded us that he can still shoot the heck out of the ball, and Justin Jackson displayed his midrange abilities.

It was a fun game, and while we couldn’t snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, our players showed that there isn’t any quit in them, even in a Summer League matchup.