The Sacramento Kings lost 103-90 to the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Sunday night, as L.A. improved to 2-0 since firing Mike Brown with a rout of an inferior opponent.
The Kings already had their backs against the wall, as two of their key players in DeMarcus Cousins and Thomas Robinson were serving suspensions. Add in the fact that they were facing a powerful team hungry for wins after a disastrous start, and it was a recipe for disaster.
Jason Thompson started in place of Cousins at center, and he fouled out after recording 15 points and 10 rebounds. Travis Outlaw recorded 11 points in 26 minutes in place of Robinson.
“It’s unfortunate for our team right now to have those missing pieces, because there were a lot of good things we had been doing,” coach Keith Smart said. “Tonight we did a lot of good things, even with our depleted team. We still had chances to maintain, but obviously we were playing against an elite group of players tonight.”
“Elite” was exactly the right word to describe the Lakers tonight, as they played and acted like the team that many predicted they would be after landing Dwight Howard in the offseason.
Howard manhandled the Cousin-less Kings inside, finishing with 23 points and 18 rebounds. The Lakers wound up out-rebounding the Kings 50-39.
FOX News describes how the Lakers pulled away from the Kings in the fourth quarter:
The Lakers took a 77-66 advantage into the fourth and the lead grew after the home team netted the first 12 points of the final frame. Howard had five points during the run, which was capped when he split a pair from the foul line for an 89-66 Lakers advantage with 7:28 remaining.
One bright spot tonight was the performance of Jimmer Fredette, who led the Kings with 18 points off the bench. Coach Smart said after the game that he will try to find more playing time for the sharpshooting Fredette.
The Kings will return home to take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday at Sleep Train Arena.