(J Alexander Diaz/Lakers.com)
Williams Drops 29 In Last-Second Loss to Kings
DeMarcus Cousins and Lou Williams went toe-to-toe on Tuesday night, putting on a performance as close to one-on-one basketball as it gets in the NBA.
Williams was a flamethrower off the bench, leading the Lakers with 29 points in 25 minutes, but even that wasn’t enough against Sacramento’s three-time All-Star, who piled up 40 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists toward a 97-96 win.
It truly came down to those two players, as no other King or Laker finished with more than 13 points.
The head-to-head clash was at its apex with the game on the line, as Williams poured in 19 fourth-quarter points while Cousins countered with 16.
Sacramento (24-32) appeared to have finally pulled away with 10 minutes left, as it took the game’s largest lead at 79-66.
But then Williams willed the Lakers (19-38) back, as they responded with 13 unanswered points to quickly tie it all back up. Williams had a hand in each bucket, tallying seven points and three assists in this stretch.
The duel continued from there, with Williams drilling a game-tying 3-pointer with 1:45 left.
Then it was Cousins’ turn, as he splashed a fadeaway to push the Kings’ lead back to three before Williams took advantage of his defender sliding to the floor by hitting another tying triple with 30.4 seconds remaining.
From there, Cousins was fouled and shot 1-of-2 at the free throw line. Head coach Luke Walton elected not to take a timeout, instead allowing Williams to dribble up the floor and attempt the game-winning 3-pointer from the right wing.
There was no last-second magic this time around, as the ball bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
“It wasn’t a shot I probably would’ve taken for the game, but that’s how the circumstances (and) everything fell into place,” Williams said. “That’s the shot that I got.”
Cousins and co. escaped with the win despite playing what he called “lousy basketball” in the fourth quarter.
Nonetheless, the reigning Second Team All-NBA center was a beast down low, as the Lakers constantly had to send him to the foul line, where he shot 12-of-19.
“When he caught it, we were trying to bring two guys toward him,” Nick Young said. “He’s strong, he’s big and he can score around the rim. He’s a tough matchup for anybody.”
On the other side, the Lakers shot just 8-of-15 at the charity stripe, but Walton was more concerned with the way his team shared the ball.
“I didn’t feel like the guys were playing selfishly, but at the same time it wasn’t that chemistry and flow that we’re looking for,” he said. “The ball was moving, but, to me, it was kind of moving without a purpose.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Lou Williams dropped 29 points and added 5 assists in tonight's loss to Sacramento. pic.twitter.com/mmbJ5ErYiy— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 15, 2017
Sacramento has now won four straight games. … Larry Nance Jr. (eight points, six rebounds, three assists, three steals) and Brandon Ingram (six points, five rebounds, four assists) both provided some of everything for L.A. … Staples Center was sold out by a crowd of 19,997.