Rudy Gay scored nine of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and rookie Ray McCallum set a new career high in points for the second straight game as the Sacramento Kings avoided a season sweep by beating the Los Angeles Lakers 107-102 Wednesday at Sleep Train Arena.
For the Lakers (25-50), it is just the second time since moving to Los Angeles from Minneapolis in 1960 they have lost 50 games in a season; they lost 52 games in 1974-75.
The Kings (27-48) did most of their damage in the second quarter, when they shot 15-for-21 while holding the Lakers to 9-of-27 shooting. The only thing that kept L.A. in the game was they were 5-for-11 from long range in the period.
The teams were both short-handed in this one; the Kings played without backup center Aaron Gray, who was not with the club due to a stomach illness, and point guard Isaiah Thomas missed his fourth straight game with a bruised quad. The Lakers did not have Pau Gasol (vertigo) or Steve Nash (nerve root irritation) with them in Sacramento, while Xavier Henry (torn ligament in wrist) and Chris Kaman (sore right calf) did not dress.
Sacramento led by 11 after three periods, 87-76, but the Lakers tried to make it interesting down the stretch, twice getting the deficit down to three points. But Gay hit a pair of free throws with 1:18 left to put the Kings back up five and Wesley Johnson missed a layup with 29.9 seconds left that could have gotten L.A. to within one before McCallum made one of two at the line with 24.1 seconds left.
On McCallum’s miss, his rookie backcourt running mate—Ben McLemore—grabbed the offensive board to essentially seal the deal.
Gay was 12-for-24 on the night while McCallum dropped in 27 points on 12-for-22 shooting and also had five assists. DeMarcus Cousins was steady with 20 points and 10 rebounds in just 21 minutes due to foul trouble, McLemore scored 12 points, Travis Outlaw added 11 off the bench and Jason Thompson ripped down 12 rebounds.
McCallum and McLemore, with the backcourt very thin, combined to play 91 minutes—McCallum logging 46 and McLemore 45. McCallum has played 227 minutes (45.4 per game) in his last five games, including becoming the first player in the NBA season to play all 48 minutes in the Kings’ loss at Dallas on Saturday.
Jodie Meeks led the Lakers with 21 points and Jordan Hill went for 18 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots. Nick Young added 17 points and Kent Bazemore had 14 points to go with six assists. Kendall Marshall dished 10 assists and Johnson grabbed 12 rebounds.
Los Angeles was 37-for-96 (38.5 percent) overall, 12-for-28 (42.9 percent) from 3-point range and 16-for-20 (80 percent) at the foul line. Sacramento was 42-for-86 (48.8 percent), 5-for-15 (33.3 percent) and 18-for-27 (66.7 percent).
The Lakers had a 52-47 rebounding advantage, but the Kings dominated in the paint, 52-38.
The Kings are on the road Friday night when the head down I-80 to take on the Golden State Warriors in Oakland at 7:30 p.m.