The Lakers finally played a sub-.500 team on Friday and still lost against the Kings 120-114. Amidst more players missing games, a protest bubbling outside the stadium, and a four-game losing streak, Los Angeles found a way to fall apart in the fourth.
Battling an illness that made him a game-time decision, Anthony Davis showed up to Crypto.com Arena clearly under the weather with his nose bright red. You didn’t see much of an effect on his game though; he started with a wonderful assist to Lonnie Sky Walker IV, dove into the stands to steal a pass, and had a chase-down block on Harrison Barnes. The Lakers still had their typical first-quarter shooting slumps, but against a weaker opponent, they were able to overcome them and come out of the first, even at 23.
It’s no secret the third quarter has been a challenge for the Lakeshow this season and on Friday night, it was more of the same. The quarter was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams exchanging leads with neither team taking control. Midway through the fourth, with De’Aaron Fox on the bench, the Lakers were able to take a four-point lead but were unable to extend it. They survived the closing minutes and lead by one entering the fourth.
In the final quarter, with Anthony Davis taking one final rest, the Lakers found a combination of Russell Westbrook and Wenyen Gabriel connecting on a couple of baskets. Wenyen ended the night with eight points going 4/4 from the field. Russ mainly ran the point, but Reaves was bringing the ball upcourt a lot and creating shots for himself. Once Anthony Davis returned, it was a one-possession game and stayed as such until De’Aaron Fox opened the game up for the Kings with four minutes left in the game. He ended the night with 32 and put the Lakers out of their misery with a turnaround floater on Austin Reaves with 0:32 seconds left.
Look on the bright side
The team is 2-10. I understand positivity can seem obnoxious at this point, but I do have a couple of things Laker Nation should be happy about.
- Anthony Davis has been an iron man this season. He’s dealt with a lower back injury, illness, and played through back-to-backs. He has shown up and played hard. Sans LeBron, he put the Lakers on his back and ended the night with 24 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist, being the leader this team desperately needs him to be.
- The Lakers are known for finding gems in the draft. 27 pick Kyle Kuzma, undrafted Austin Reaves, and now Max Christie. The second-round draft pick is getting an increased role as of late and looking good. On Friday, Max had 7 points and 4 rebounds. If he continues to play well and earn a rotation spot on this team, it’ll be another win for the Lakers' scouting department.
The Lakers would like a literal win on Sunday against the Brooklyn Nets. They’ll play the Eastern Conference opponent in Los Angeles at 6:30 p.m., looking to get their second win in a row.