For really the first time this season, the Lakers flexed their muscle in the second half against the Kings on Tuesday night, outscoring Sacramento 67-33 to win going away by a final of 117-92. Included in that was a 40-8 run from the early stages of the third quarter through the beginning of the fourth quarter.
The Lakers have struggled to blow anyone out this season with Tuesday being just their third double-digit victory of the season. And it all came on a night when LeBron James entered health and safety protocols just hours before the game, likely ruling him out for at least the next 10 days.
Yet despite the constant whirlwind that has surrounded the Lakers this season and their wildly erratic play, the team came together on the road in the second half in Sacramento and beat the Kings so badly, interim head coach Alvin Gentry apologized on behalf of the team to the fans to open up his press conference after the game (h/t Sactown Royalty)
“I guess the very first thing I should do as a coach is apologize to the fans here,” Gentry said. “They don’t deserve what they got tonight … as the coach of this team, I want to apologize to every King fan out there, because you do not deserve this; you deserve much, much better and we’ll find guys that will give you better. You can’t do what we did the second half.”
Starting with a half-court heave from Malik Monk to beat the halftime buzzer, the Lakers scored 40 of the next 55 points in the game.
Malik Monk ... from Los Angeles pic.twitter.com/egDyGGrtuP— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 1, 2021
The lead peaked at 27 points late in the fourth quarter as the team continued piling on and kept the foot on the accelerator in a manner they hadn’t done all season. Monk scored a team-high 16 points in the second half alone while Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis had 15 and 12 points, respectively, in just the final two periods alone.
As a team, the Lakers shot 56.5% from the field and hit eight of their 17 3-pointers. At the same time, Sacramento shot 10/35 (28.6%) from the field and did not make a single one of their 11 3-point attempts. Outside of Richaun Holmes, who went 6/7 from the field for 15 points, the rest of the Kings shot 4/28 from the field and managed just 18 points, 10 of those coming at the free throw line.
It was as comprehensive of a beatdown as the Lakers have not only handed out this season but in recent years. The difference in this one is no coach has ever apologized for how badly his team was beaten by the Lakers in any of those previous blowouts. Gentry has obviously been throw into a rough situation in Sacramento, having to coach the Kings while also doing so mid-season after Luke Walton’s firing. But as far as first impressions go, being forced to apologize for your team’s performance five games into your tenure is not a great start.