The Kings gave the Lakers about all they could handle tonight at the Staples Center, but a series of defensive breakdowns in the mid-fourth quarter allowed Steve Blake and Steve Nash to hit three wide-open 3-pointers that vaulted Los Angeles to victory.  The Kings fought hard down the stretch, but fell short by a final of 113-102.

Antawn Jamison scored a game-high 27 points off the Lakers bench, shooting 8-for-14 from the field and 5-for-8 from long range.  Nash added 19 points and 12 assists, while Metta World Peace finished with 22 points on 10-for-12 shooting for the Kobe Bryant-less (left ankle sprain) Lakers.

Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Kings with 26-points, while Patrick Patterson added 22 in the loss.  Sacramento turned the ball over just six times, but failed to move the ball effectively in the second half and it cost them.

Notes and Analysis

  • Thomas used both Nash and Blake like speed bumps, flying right past the veteran duo with ease.  He finished with a team-high 26 points and added six assists in 34 minutes of action.  Smart went to Toney Douglas to start the fourth and by the time he got Thomas back in the game, it was too late.
  • While it’s still early to make judgements on the long-term winer of the Thomas Robinson for Patterson swap, there is no question that the Kings got better end of this deal for this season.  The former Kentucky Wildcat started his second straight game for the Kings and once again put up big numbers.  P-Pat finished with 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting and nailed both of his 3-point attempts in 36 productive minutes.  Patterson’s rebounding numbers (five total) are not where you want them to be, but this kid brings a lot to the Kings line-up.
  • Tyreke Evans looked great early, but the Lakers used to World Peace to wear him down as the game continued.  Evans scored 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and handed out seven assists, but shot an abysmal 6-for-19 from the field and 1-for-6 from behind the arc.  The Kings needed more than that from Tyreke with Cousins missing the game with a left thigh contusion.
  • With Keith Smart using just nine player, the pressure was on Marcus Thornton to provide the bench scoring.  Thornton responded with 15 points in 21 minutes.  Douglas added a sneaky 11 points and Chuck Hayes finished with eight points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes of play.
  • John Salmons has once again disappeared in the Kings offense.  After an outstanding stretch in late February and early March, Salmons has scored a total of 20 points in Sacramento’s last five games.  Without his perimeter shooting, the Kings are a different team and tonight he was 1-for-7 from the field and 1-for-3 from deep.
  • Like Evans and Salmons, the Kings needed big night out of Jason Thompson and he couldn’t deliver.  Starting for Cousins at the center position, Thompson finished with four points and seven rebound in 25 minutes of foul plagued ball.  He also had a costly turnover on a 3-on-1 break that would have tied the game at 90-90.  After that mistake, the Kings came undone down the stretch and were outscored 23-14 by the Lakers.
  • Stat of the Night: The Kings finished the first half tied at 56-56 with an incredible 16/2 assist-to-turnover rate.  The second half was a different story, as the Kings turned the ball over four times and handed out only six assists.  When this team stops passing, bad things happen.

Three answers to three questions pondered

1.  Will DeMarcus Cousins play in tonight’s game in Los Angeles?

For the second game in a row, the Kings were without starting center DeMarcus Cousins.  Thompson slid over from his customary power forward position and made it all of four minutes into the game before picking up his second personal foul trying to guard Dwight Howard.  Smart used a combination of Thompson, Hayes and Cole Aldrich to combat Howard, who still finished with a solid, but unspectacular 12-point, 17-rebound double-double.

2.  Will Kobe Bryant play in tonight’s game in Los Angeles

Bryant has defied logic with his ability to play through pain, but he was a no-go tonight against Sacramento.  Jodie Meeks replaced the future Hall of Famer in the starting line-up, but finished with six points on 2-for-6 shooting in 28 minutes.  Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni used Blake alongside Nash for long stretches.  The 33-year-old Blake responded with 16 points and eight assists in 34 minutes, while hitting some huge shots with the game on the line.

3.  Will these two teams combine to score more than 230 points?

The Lakers did their best to push the score up, shooting 57 percent from the field and 43 percent from distance.  But the Kings struggled to keep their end of the bargain, scoring just 46 points in the second half on their way to a 102 point night.  Without Cousins and Bryant, this game had a very different feel than a typical Kings/Lakers battle.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.