Road Reaction: Sacramento Kings 99, Los Angeles Lakers 92

 
Dwight Howard‘s Hollywood debut was spoiled by the Sacramento Kings, who beat the Los Angeles Lakers 99-92 at the Staples Center in L.A.

Notes and Analysis

  • Aaron Brooks didn’t play Friday, but he didn’t miss a beat when called into action Sunday. ¬†In 18 minutes, the Kings’ top free agent acquisition scored 16 points on four of five shooting.
  • Both Brooks and Jimmer Fredette played well for the Kings at the expense of Thomas’ playing time. ¬†Thomas started the game, but played just 16 total minutes.
  • Evans wasn’t shy about shooting his jumper this evening. ¬†The Kings swingman attempted five of his 10 shots from outside the painted area. ¬†He didn’t shoot particularly well from the field (40 percent), but it was good to see Evans hoisting in situations where he’d normally force a drive.
  • Hamady Ndiaye got a chance to showcase himself in meaningful minutes. ¬†With six ticks remaining and the Kings holding a narrow 83-81 lead, Ndiaye checked in and played five minutes. ¬†He showed some hustle when he chased and blocked a layup attempt by Metta World Peace, only to have it called goaltending.
  • The Kings took advantage of some careless errors by the Lakers on the offensive end. ¬†Los Angeles turned the ball over 22 times, while the Kings surrendered just 13 possessions.
  • Stat of Night:¬†¬†The Kings found their stroke from the free throw line. ¬†Sacramento was a perfect 21 of 21 from the charity stripe this evening. ¬†In a game that was decided by just seven points, free throws made the difference.

Three answers to three questions pondered

1. Will Dwight Howard don a Lakers jersey for the first time ?

Laker fans and the rest of the world got their first glimpse of Howard in his new digs and the three-time Defensive Player of the Year was impressive.  Howard scored 11 of his 19 points in the first half and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds in the process.  He responded well to contact and is still figuring out how to play with his new teammates.  However if his first basket as a Laker is any indication, the six-time All-Star will have no trouble fitting in.

2. Will Keith Smart begin to settle on a rotation?

Smart seems settled on his bigs rotation. ¬†And it seems like Marcus Thornton, who played his third preseason game as a reserve, is being groomed for a sixth man role. ¬†But as far as small forward and point guard are concerned, the dust is hardly settled. ¬†Travis Outlaw and Aaron Brooks got the call in the first half of tonight’s game, while Jimmer Fredette and Francisco Garcia earned time after intermission. ¬†Both Brooks and Fredette played well Sunday night and it’s not going to be easy for Smart to determine who plays between them and Thomas. ¬†That is, however, a good problem to have.

3. Can DeMarcus Cousins make Dwight Howard wish he had taken a few more days off?

Foul trouble reared its ugly head for Cousins early in Howard’s Laker debut. ¬†Cousins picked up four of his five personals in the first half. ¬†But the Kings center bounced back and had a solid showing against the Lakers after halftime. ¬†Cousins adjusted to playing against the Lakers frontline and scored 12 of his 16 points following intermission. ¬†He disrupted the Lakers’ passing lanes and recorded team-high four steals in the win. The Gasol-Howard tandem is a whole lot to handle, but Cousins managed to hold his own against the duo.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.