The Lakers got off to a good start. Within a few minutes, the team was up 14-6. The big start came by way of Robert Sacre and Pau Gasol. There seemed to be a conscience effort to get Pau some early touches. While Sacre was in, he did well with Steve Blake in the Pick-n-Roll. Before being benched with two fouls, he had seven points and four rebounds in about eight minutes. The Kings were staying in the game thanks to free throws, until the bench came in. Isaiah Thomas came in, and just torched the Lakers. No one on the Lakers could guard him. Thomas brought the Kings to a 30-28 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was the exact opposite of the first. It was the Kings who came out hot to start the quarter. Not having a backup point guard really hurt the Lakers. Xavier Henry just couldn’t run the offense, or stay on Isaiah Thomas. The offense got really ugly without a point guard to control them. Henry had two turnovers in just five minutes. Before anyone knew it, the Lakers were down by eight. The Lakers went on a 5-0 run to bring the lead down to three heading into halftime.
Coming out of the break, the Lakers brought it to within one, but the Kings were quickly back up by eight. The Lakers defense was a major struggle, especially in the Pick-n-Roll. Pau was one of the main reasons for this. Gasol was also struggling on offense; he just couldn’t get anything to go down. With the lead at four, Thomas came back in, and the lead went to ten on just two possessions — Thomas assisted on two straight Ben McLemore threes. After a timeout, the Lakers came out and scored on back-to-back possessions to bring the lead down to six going into the final quarter.
With twelve minutes remaining in the game, the Lakers had to step up their defensive intensity, and they did just that. Mike D’Antoni had been yelling at the Lakers to step it up all night, so the Lakers went out and forced nine turnover and blocked five shots. Yes, they did that in one quarter. Los Angeles started the quarter on a 7-0 run to take the lead, capped off by a Steve Blake three. It was a back and forth game, but the Lakers defense was too much. With Sacre leading the way on the defensive end, the Lakers went on an 8-0, thanks to two Jodie Meeks threes, and a mid-range jumper from Pau. Finally, Nick Young hit a #swaggerdagger to secure the Lakers win.
Jodie Meeks helped lead the team with 19 points on 7-11 shooting (5-6 from downtown). Gasol also scored 19 points, while also adding 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and a block. Pau wasn’t the only one who filled up the box score; Nick Young had 14 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and one block. Robert Sacre did a phenomenal job in his 17 minutes. He shot 5-7 from the field for 11 points, grabbed 5 boards, and had two key blocks in the fourth quarter. Every starter on the team scored 11 or more points.
It was a great team win, but there is still a lot to be desired. With Kobe coming back on Sunday at home against the Raptors, it will be interesting to see how the team responds, and how Kobe plays. The game will be on NBA TV and Time Warner Cable SportsNet at 6:30 PST/9:30 EST.