The Kings had three days to think about their terrible finish Sunday, and for a bit, it looked like they were about to add insult to injury against the Lakers. Fortunately, that funk only lasted for a few minutes, as they took care of business in a 123-120 victory.
The Kings had the rest advantage and the Lakers were without three starters, and yet the Lakers jumped on the home team early, going up 14 in the first quarter thanks to some hot shooting. The Kings stayed the course, and it was Cory Joseph who brought the spark with the bench shift. He scored seven points in the first half on 3-of-4 shooting and hounded Dennis Schröder on the other end. The L.A. point guard had three turnovers, out of a total seven that led to nine points for Sacramento.
Buddy Hield also got going in the second quarter. After a scoreless opening frame, he was sizzling hot in the second, making all six of his shots for 16 points. He had a personal 8-0 run to give the Kings their first lead of the game at 45-43.
8-0 run— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 4, 2021
in 30 seconds
Buddy Buckets pic.twitter.com/c3V2nLflro
The two teams basically played even from that point on, and a Richaun Holmes layup out of the pick-and-roll at the buzzer gave Sacramento a two-point lead heading into the break. The one concern in the first half was that Luke Walton rode his starters for heavy minutes. Joseph was the only guard off the bench, and DaQuan Jeffries got a short shift as the eighth man.
The Kings started the third quarter with a 6-0 run to extend the lead to eight but the Lakers came right back, and it was back-and-forth the rest of the way. The margin never got to double digits in the second half, and there were 10 lead changes, including four in the final two minutes.
Fortunately, it was Harrison Barnes who changed the lead for the last time as he rifled through the defense for a lay-up with 30 seconds left to play.
The Lakers had several chances to regain the advantage on the ensuing possession, but Holmes and the Kings stood them up at the rim. That allowed Barnes to put the game away at the foul line, and this time, the Kings made their free throws.
Hield finished with 29 points and six assists. De’Aaron Fox added 23 points, Barnes had 20, and the seven-man rotation got the job done.