When the Lakers had clawed back from a 19-point deficit and found themselves tied with only six minutes remaining, they went to the youngest player on the floor. Brandon Ingram fought through three defenders on his way to the paint, where he scored on a short floater to begin a run that sealed the Lakers’ 101-91 victory in Sacramento.
Ingram’s tough bucket was followed by a 3-pointer from Lou Williams — who provided another huge fourth quarter in which he scored 13 of his 21 points.
Then it was the “Swaggy P” show, as Nick Young added a layup, stole the ball on the other end and splashed another triple to cap his team’s burst of 10 unanswered points.
The Lakers (5-4) kept their foes at a distance from there, snapping a franchise-worst, seven-game losing streak to Sacramento.
Despite the Kings’ brand-new Golden 1 Center being packed for this Pacific Division showdown, the Lakers were able to come out hot, making their first five shots. But Sacramento found its groove from there and ended the first quarter on an 18-5 run.
“We weren’t ready to play, honestly,” head coach Luke Walton said. “We’ve had a bad habit, even going back to preseason, of starting games slow. It’s not acceptable. Our guys have proven that when they play hard and they’re engaged in what they’re doing, they’re capable of beating anyone on any night.”
The situation had to get even worse before the Lakers would turn it around, as an 11-2 sprint by the Kings built their lead to 49-30 with five minutes left in the first half.
However, Julius Randle — who finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists — steadied his team by scoring seven points before intermission, helping bring the deficit down to 55-45.
“Julius started to bring the fight and it was a huge end of the half for us,” Walton said. “He kind of put the team on his shoulders.”
Randle’s energy proved to be contagious in the second half, as the Lakers used a 25-18 third quarter to pull within three points and then scored the first eight points of the fourth period to steal the lead.
From there, the teams battled back and forth before Ingram’s basket began the run that eventually ended the game.
With Timofey Mozgov battling All-Star DeMarcus Cousins down low, Los Angeles was able to fight back with more physical and aggressive defense.
The Kings shot 50.0 percent (22-of-44) in the first half but just 29.3 (12-of-41) in the second. Cousins, meanwhile, went just 3-of-11 in the second.
After the game, Cousins — who racked up 28 points and nine rebounds — walked over to the Lakers’ side of the court and had some words with Randle, though he later said it was just “some friendly UK love” between University of Kentucky products and that Randle is “like my little brother.”
Randle expressed similar feelings about the situation.
“I don’t get into personal battles or one-on-one,” Randle said. “I just do what it takes to get my team wins.”
And while Walton was happy with the way Randle and his teammates rebounded from their big deficit, he wouldn’t say that this win was more special than any other.
“They’re like your kids — you love them all,” Walton said.
D’Angelo Russell scored 17 points while Young added 16. … Larry Nance Jr. returned after missing Tuesday’s game due to a concussion and had two points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes. … The Lakers outscored the Kings in the fourth quarter, 31-18. … A crowd of 17,608 sold out Golden 1 Center.