Rapid Reaction: Kings 107, Lakers 102
April, 2, 2014
By Dave McMenamin
SACRAMENTO -- In a clash between the NBA's seventh-worst and sixth-worst teams, the Los Angeles Lakers came away as losers against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
However, in the upside-down world occupied by these franchises prepping for the draft lottery, it means the Lakers were actually winners. They maintained their spot ahead of the Kings when it comes to potential pingpong ball positioning.
The Sacramento fans seemed to enjoy it nonetheless, breaking out a "Beat L.A." chant in the fourth quarter, no matter if their team was also beating its own lottery chances.
With both Pau Gasol (vertigo) and Chris Kaman (right calf strain) out of the lineup a night after the Lakers went with the twin towers in the starting lineup, coach Mike D'Antoni was forced to take another approach.
"We got to spread the floor, get out and run a little bit and just play very intensely with reckless abandon and see what happens," D'Antoni said before the game.
What happened was the Lakers losing for the 50th time in 75 games this season and a continued abandonment of any semblance of winning basketball.
How it happened: After trailing by as many as 12 in the first half, the Lakers came out of intermission on an 11-4 run to draw to within 64-63. The spurt was short-lived, however, as the Kings pushed their lead back up to 11 heading into the fourth. Wesley Johnson's tip-in with 1:04 remaining cut the Kings lead down to just three, but that was the closest the Lakers would get.
What it means: The Lakers came in with only nine healthy bodies -- no Kobe Bryant, no Gasol, no Steve Nash, no Kaman, no Jordan Farmar, no Xavier Henry -- and it showed. L.A. has done its best to bounce back from an assortment of injuries all season long, but the combination of the second night of a back-to-back, on the road, with so many guys missing this late in the season is not just something you easily overcome.
Hits: Jodie Meeks got back on track with 21 points.
Johnson had 12 rebounds and Kendall Marshall picked up 10 assists.
Kent Bazemore filled the stat sheet with 14 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Jordan Hill, a day after picking up a DNP-CD, had 18 points and 15 rebounds.
Bryan Cranston, aka Walter White of "Breaking Bad," was sitting courtside.
Misses: The Lakers made rookie Ray McCallum look like an All-Star, as the smooth-shooting guard went off for a career-high 27 points to go with five assists.
Rudy Gay scored 31 and DeMarcus Cousins scored 20 to go with 10 rebounds for the Kings.
Young followed up his 40 points with 17 on 6-for-17 shooting, also picking up a technical foul.
Stat of the game: 7. Young increased his franchise record for most four-point plays in a season by hitting his seventh of the year when he got Cousins to foul him on his follow through in the first half.
Up next: The Lakers are off Thursday before hosting the Dallas Mavericks on Friday as they continue to count down the final games left on their regular-season schedule. The Mavs will come in with plenty to play for, as they're in the hunt for one of the final two playoff spots in the West.