Road Reaction: Sacramento Kings 103, Los Angeles Lakers 98

 
On the road for the first time this preseason, the Sacramento Kings thwarted the Los Angeles Lakers, who played their starters big minutes Friday evening. The Kings defeated the Lakers 103-98 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Notes and Analysis

  • DeMarcus Cousins put the struggles of Wednesday night’s loss behind him and came ready to play in Las Vegas.  He recorded his first double-double of the preseason, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Marcus Thornton was back in the starting lineup and bounced back for the Kings, too.  The Kings guard found his shooting stroke from outside, making two of four 3-point attempts en route to 19 points in 27 minutes.  A few of his buckets came in transition, where he found himself able to leak out into the open court for easy lay-ups.
  • I’m seeing a different Jimmer Fredette this season.  The second-year guard continues to play aggressively and isn’t hesitating to take the open shot when he has them.  He made two of six 3-point attempts and finished with 14 points in 23 minutes of play.
  • I’m not so sure I can say the same about Tyreke Evans, who came off the bench for the first time this preseason.  He also finished with 14 points on five-of-nine shooting, but at times hesitated to take the open jumper he’s says he’s worked hard to improve.
  • The Kings’ offense was fueled by their defensive effort.  They were active in the Lakers’ passing lanes, forcing deflections and turnovers.  The Lakers turned the ball over 18 times.
  • Stat of the Night:  When it came to scoring, the Kings’ played fast and unselfishly tonight.  Sacramento scored 28 fastbreak points against the Lakers, who scored just 10.

Three answers to three questions pondered

1. Will the Lakers bench have any chance against the Kings’ second team fire power?

The Lakers bench was anchored this evening by Antawn Jamison and Devin Ebanks.  Jamison played 31 minutes and scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds.  Ebanks, meanwhile, was a lightning rod for Los Angeles, scoring 20 points on seven of 10 shooting in 22 minutes of action.  But outside of those two, the Lakers got nothing out of their reserves.

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

Judging by the players that played tonight, not yet it seems.  Going with Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton, James Johnson, Thomas Robinson and DeMarcus Cousins, Smart started his third different lineup of the preseason.  Aaron Brooks and Travis Outlaw started the previous two games and didn’t play at all Friday night.

3. Can the Kings have a strong showing against an elite team?

The Lakers played their starters heavily this evening.  Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash all recorded more than 25 minutes in the five-point loss.  The Lakers are now 0-5 following the defeat in Las Vegas.  For the Kings to play a balanced game on both offense and defense against an elite team looking for its first victory of the year, this was a satisfactory showing by the men in purple.

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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.