Los Angeles wins shootout versus Kings

Los Angeles wins shootout versus Kings

The night after an impressive win against the Atlanta Hawks, the Los Angeles Lakers headed north to face the Sacramento Kings.

In a good old-fashioned shootout that was gripping from start to finish, the Lakers held on superbly and continued to make big plays to come out on top against a team of the caliber of the Kings, 136 -134.

Los Angeles had outstanding balance, having four players score at least 23 points while shooting 61.0 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from 3-point range.

The win gives the Lakers a five-game winning streak and moves them to within two games of the .500 mark. They are now just 1.5 games back of the sixth seed in the Western Conference, which is currently held by the Los Angeles Clippers.

James showed no signs of fatigue on the second night of a doubleheader. He played 38 minutes and scored 37 points with eight rebounds and seven assists.

Time after time, he attacked the basket and took advantage of a Kings team that lacks shot blocking. With 48.1 seconds left, he drove to the basket, scored and fouled Domantas Sabonis, who hurt the Lakers with 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

Toscano-Anderson had four points, one rebound, one steal and one blocked shot in 18 minutes. His energy and defensive effort have been helpful, but sooner or later the Lakers will need him to start hitting 3-pointers consistently to open up the floor for his teammates.

Besides James, Bryant was the MVP of this game.

He’s made his living taking easy baskets with spoons at or near the rim, and that led to him shooting 12 of 14 from the floor to score 29 points. He also hit some perimeter shots while grabbing 14 rebounds, and he had some offensive rebounds in crunch time that helped lead to this win.

Beverley’s defense wasn’t very good tonight, as Sacramento’s starting guards De’Aaron Fox and Kevin Huerter both had big games, but he made 2-of-3 shots from the floor (all three field goal attempts were three-pointers) and finished with six points, one rebound and one assist.

Schroder has been hot lately just when the Lakers need him. He was 8 of 11 overall, 4 of 5 from 3-point range and 7 of 7 from the free throw line Saturday to finish with 27 points.

He made perhaps the two biggest plays of the night. First, he dropped an inbounds pass with 22.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter, leading to a huge Sacramento turnover. He then made a layup and drew a foul with 3.6 seconds left, then hit two free throws to provide the final margin of victory.

Gabriel had six points and three rebounds in 13 minutes, but he struggled to guard Sabonis in the paint. As a result, Gabriel was in foul trouble for most of the night, and he was fouled with 39.7 seconds left in the third period.

Once again, Westbrook played an excellent and efficient all-around game, shooting 7-of-14 overall and 2-of-5 from beyond the arc. His 23 points and 15 rebounds were a major factor in LA’s win.

He might just be playing his way out of a trade, and he might even earn a new contract to stay with the Purple and Gold if things work out satisfactorily.

A night after his best game of the season, Nunn went back to being invisible. He only got 14 minutes of playing time and didn’t assert himself, making only three shots and one of them.

Christie was also something of a non-factor on Saturday after making a fine contribution on Friday. He went 1-for-2 and finished with two points and two rebounds in 24 minutes.

The Lakers’ newest addition got two minutes of playing time and made no contribution to the stat sheet other than picking up a foul.

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