'The cavalry ain't coming.' Why the Lakers' home loss to the Kings was a costly one



The Lakers had a big opportunity in front of them on Wednesday night, a chance to put some pressure on Sacramento in the Western Conference, an opening to get closer to the Kings as they jockey for position in the standings.

Instead, the Lakers flopped.

And they did it in an unbelievable fashion.

They led the Kings by 19 points in the first quarter. They also trailed the Kings by 22 in the third, a stunning turn of events.

As a result, the Lakers dropped to 10th in the West, 2½ games behind the seventh-seeded Kings.

The Lakers are one game behind the eighth-seeded Dallas Mavericks and a half-game behind the ninth-seeded Golden State Warriors.

The season is winding down and there’s not much time for the Lakers to make up ground.

“The cavalry ain’t coming,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said after his team dropped a 130-120 game to the Kings at Crypto.com Arena. “We got 18 [games] left. We just gotta buckle down and try to do a better job.”

The Lakers have lost all three games to the Kings, giving up an average of 129 points per game.

They face the Kings once more in Sacramento next week, but the Lakers have already lost the head-to-head tiebreaker.

“We talked about it before the game. We saw the rankings and we talked about the team and this is going to be a big game,” said Rui Hachimura, who had 29 points. “And, like we said, that was a big game. I think we going to have one more against them next week. Yeah, this was a big one.”

The Lakers had no answer for De’Aaron Fox, who had his way with 44 points.

Domantas Sabonis dominated the Lakers with a triple-double of 16 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists.

Malik Monk had 26 points and eight assists off the bench for the Kings.

Hachimura said the Lakers remain “pretty confident” that they can get on a run to end the season.

“We just got to lock in,” he said. “We don’t have the time to relax, like today’s game. We were up like 20-something in the first quarter and all of a sudden we kind of relaxed and they were up by 20. We can’t relax anytime.”

Lakers bench struggles

The Lakers’ bench didn’t provide much offense, scoring 18 points as a group. Meanwhile, Sacramento’s bench had 50 points.

Ham has an idea of how his bench can be better.

“Play faster, play the right way,” he said. “Move the ball, shoot it when you’re open. Simple as that. We’ve had games, we had six, seven guys in double figures, and that was the recipe. Play faster, be disciplined with your running habits. Play for one another, make the simple play, and be shot-aggressive.”

Lakers bad on the backboards

The Lakers were outrebounded 46-34, including 9-3 on offensive boards.

Anthony Davis had 11 rebounds, but no other Laker had more than five.

The biggest offensive rebound by the Kings came late in the fourth quarter.

The Lakers had pulled to within 12 points and were making a dent in their deficit. They had played good defense and forced Monk to miss a shot.

But Sabonis got the offensive rebound and scored, putting the Lakers in a 14-point hole with 4:49 left.



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