Kentavious Caldwell-Pope jogs after hitting a 3-pointers against the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 24, 2018.
(Ty Nowell/

KCP Sinks 8 Triples in Best Game of Season

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Everything flowed through Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

It had to. Rarely does a player get hot enough to score 34 points and hit eight 3-pointers in a single night, but that’s exactly what happened for KCP in Saturday’s win over Sacramento.

The Lakers’ offense revolved around their beyond-the-arc threat. Oftentimes they drew up plays for him to specifically get clean looks. Other times he was a diversion to open it up for teammates.

That blend of steaming shooting and on-court gravity paved the way to the Lakers’ victory.

Caldwell-Pope’s first bucket of the night was a well-crafted out-of-bounds play drawn up by coach Luke Walton, who has a knack for designing scores out of timeouts.

This one is an elevator screen set by Julius Randle and Brook Lopez. KCP starts on the other side of the court before dashing between the two bigs, who “close the doors” on Sacramento’s Bogdan Bogdanovic, allowing a clean look from 3-point range.

Caldwell-Pope knocked down three triples in the opening quarter, the last of which was another one drawn by Walton.

KCP sets a dummy screen that freezes Bogdanovic, who thinks that the play is designed to get Brandon Ingram a basket at the rim.

But Caldwell-Pope continues around the arc and receives a screen from Lopez. Bogdanovic unwisely goes under on the screen and KCP makes him pay.

KCP really hit his stride in the third quarter, scoring half of his 34 points and draining five treys.

It was during this frame that he hit all three of his transition 3-pointers. (On the night, he also made two off screens, two on spot-ups and one in isolation.)

This fast-break 3 can be credited to three players.

Ingram directs the offense in transition, Randle smartly runs in front of Bogdanovic so he can’t contest, and Caldwell-Pope snipes.

By this point, Caldwell-Pope has hit three 3-pointers in two minutes, so Sacramento is (rightfully) terrified of letting him loose beyond the arc.

In this play, Bogdanovic is literally holding onto KCP, who sets a double screen alongside Lopez for Ingram.

Suddenly Lopez (credited with six screen assists on the night) flips his pick for Caldwell-Pope. But instead of popping out for another triple like Sacramento expects, he sprints to the hoop.

The Lakers have evacuated their players out of the paint, leaving nobody around to challenge KCP on the easiest bucket of the night.

“You’ve got to anticipate how we would guard a player who gets really hot that’s a good shooter,” coach Luke Walton said, “and then try to manipulate it a little bit to try to get either him or his teammates better shots.”

Caldwell-Pope torched Bogdanovic all night, shooting 7-of-9 from the field, including six 3’s, when guarded by him.

So Sacramento switched Buddy Hield onto KCP for most of the fourth quarter. However, the move wasn’t enough to keep a red-hot scorer from delivering in crunch time.

Up by just one with less than five minutes remaining, Caldwell-Pope catches the ball in the corner while Hield scrambles to contest a potential 3-pointer.

KCP attacks the closeout but Hield stays with him. So the night’s most lethal weapon hits him with a slick crossover into a step-back jumper.

Caldwell-Pope swishes the tough attempt, putting the Lakers one step closer to knocking out their Pacific Division foes.

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