Nothing like snapping a five-game losing steak at the expense of your archrival. The Sacramento Kings (12-15) took care of business in the second half to defend their home court against the Los Angeles Lakers (8-19), 108-101.
“Honestly, I don’t really are how we did it, as long as we did it,” DeMarcus Cousins stated after the game. “We can correct the other stuff later on, but it feels good to get a win.”
A victory was far from certain. The Lakers held a 60-52 halftime lead in part to their hot shooting from deep and dominance on the offensive glass. Los Angeles made 7-of-10 triples and gobbled 11 offensive rebounds through the first two quarters. Sacramento’s bench fell flat in the second quarter and struggled throughout, finishing with 11 total points on 3-of-13 field goals.
Out of the half Los Angeles shot 8-of-9 field goals to help him go up by as much as 13, but Sacramento clawed back by leaning heavily on their starters. Ben McLemore scored 10 in the third period, while Cousins and Rudy Gay each added six.
Cousins, in his second game back from a viral infection, recorded 29 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. McLemore notched 23 points and eight rebounds, Rudy Gay produced 24 points and six assists, and Darren Collison added 19 points, three assists and two steals.
Kobe Bryant suffered a rare, embarrassing off-night against the Kings going for 25 points on 8-of-30 shooting, five rebounds, three assists and nine turnovers.
“You know, it was a great team effort, and Kobe’s a great player,” Tyrone Corbin told the media. “He’s a Hall of Fame guy, he’s going to make some tough shots, he’s going to take some tough shots and make those shots as we saw during the course of the game. But we wanted to make him work for everything we got, and I thought Rudy did a great job on him, Ben for the most part did a great job on him, and teammates. When he came off, he saw bodies, he didn’t see a lot of openings or gaps, so it made it hard for everything he got.”
Ed Davis was the only other Lakers starter in double-digit points with 10, and Nick Young scored 26 points off the bench.
The Kings did an impressive job shutting down the entire Lakers offense (37.9 percent shooting) and limiting their own turnovers to 14. They sprinted their way to 23 fast break points, which is Sacramento’s highest total since firing Michael Malone in part to his slower offensive pace.
Sacramento won’t have much time to celebrate the victory. They travel to Oakland tomorrow to face the Golden State Warriors (22-3) in the second night of a back-to-back.
Notes and Analysis
- DeMarcus Cousins continued his stellar play since returning from illness. The big fella carved up the Lakers frontline, finishing with 29 points and 14 rebounds in 37 minutes. With another game tomorrow night, Cousins’ level of fitness will get a huge test.
- Ben McLemore took the ball right at Kobe Bryant all night long. The 21-year-old shooting guard dropped in 10 of his 23 during the pivotal third quarter. On the defensive end, McLemore and Rudy Gay held Kobe to 8-for-30 shooting.
- Darren Collison put up his second straight solid performance, finishing with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting. The veteran guard only handed out three assists, but that was a trend with the Kings tonight who finished with just 15 assists as a team.
- Gay has grown leaps and bounds as a distributor in his time in Sacramento. The 28-year-old wing was averaging a career-high 4.7 dimes per game coming into today’s game and nudged that number up bit. Gay finished the night with 24 points and a team-high six assists in the win.
- None of the six players that came off the Kings bench tonight made an impact on the game. They combined to score just 11 total points on 3-for-13 shooting. Sacramento will need a much better effort from the group tomorrow when they face the Warriors on the second night of a back-to-back.
- Stat of the Night: The Kings ran all over the Lakers tonight, outscoring Los Angeles 23-9 on fastbreak points.
Quote of the Game
Rudy Gay on defending Kobe Bryant
“It’s Kobe Bryant. I think everybody in the gym knows he’s going to shoot.”