Never holding a lead in the game and being down 104-80 to start the fourth quarter on the second game of a back-to-back, most would have expected that LeBron James and Anthony Davis were done for the night.
The Lakers had other plans.
James was a leading voice in the huddle prior to the quarter tipping off and looked passionate, rallying his troops into the final 12 minutes of play. Not only did James and Davis return, they helped lead the charge as the Lakers began chipping away at the deficit.
The Lakers started the quarter on a 22-9 run and suddenly, it was Sacramento calling timeouts, pressing on offense and searching for answers against the Lakers' zone defense. The hosts got within nine points, but with 1:26 left, the Kings did just enough to put the Lakers away, closing the game on a 6-0 run.
The Lakers forced Sacramento to play the entire game and tested their composure, but with a huge lead and time on their side, the Kings did what good teams do and found a way to win while things started to go against them.
After the game, head coach Darvin Ham commended his team's fourth-quarter effort.
"Just the competitive fight within our group," Ham said postgame. "I told them at the break, at the end of the third, we got about four or five minutes to see if we can do something to dig into this lead and minimize the deficit. And they came out, we switched up our defense, went to a zone, which helped slow them down a little bit and we were able to make shots on the other end.
“And like I said, whenever we get stops, we take care of the ball, we're usually fine. And I know the amount of scoring that we have on our team, particularly those guys, the five guys that finished for us, you got to give them a chance and see what we can do…It was disappointing to lose after having such a big win yesterday but again, there's a lot of things we can learn from it and we will."
Ham discussed Austin Reaves, James, Davis, Rui Hachimura and D'Angelo Russell being the players that could go on a run before, but against the Kings, only James and Russell gave that kind of offensive production. You don't need everyone to have a good game, but it's hard to win when only two of your five guys do and no one else steps up from the bench to score.
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