One night after a game head coach Frank Vogel called “definitely the heaviest game I’ve been a part of,” the Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t have looked lighter. The team started out the night with a 44-22 demolition of the Sacramento Kings in the first quarter, and despite a few third-quarter hiccups, they were able to coast their way out of the state capital with a 129-113 win.
There were a few tributes to the late Kobe Bryant from the Kings, but aside from that, the thing that really stuck out about this game was just how normal it all felt after a week that has been far from ordinary as the organization grieved the loss of its former star.
Just one day after an emotional loss, the Lakers came out intense and focused, and looked like a contender again as a result, jumping all over a bad Kings team. Avery Bradley — who had 16 points in the first quarter — started out particularly hot.
Bench play continued to be an issued for the Lakers, mostly in a third quarter in which the Kings nearly tied L.A. with 23 points to the purple and gold’s 25, but after a quick 11-2 run in the fourth when Vogel put his stars back in, that was about as competitive as things got in what was ultimately a wire-to-wire win. The Lakers may have a tough time when LeBron James isn’t on the floor, but against a team like the Kings, a 34-minute, 15-point, 11-assist and 13-rebound triple-double was plenty to get the job done.
Kyle Kuzma had his second decent game in a row, scoring 12 points on 10 shots while looking aggressive. Bradley finished with 19 points after his electric start, while Alex Caruso had 13 points while making three of his five threes. Anthony Davis had a quiet (for him) 21 points of his own in a well-balanced effort that saw seven Lakers score in double-figures.
This win moves the Lakers to 37-11, and snaps their two-game losing streak. The team will now get two days off before their next game, a home contest vs. the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night. Until then, enjoy this one. After this week, everyone has earned whatever small dose of happiness this win can provide.