In their third game in four days at the Chase Center in San Francisco for the California Classic, the Lakers ultimately fell 87-75 to the Sacramento Kings.
L.A. trailed by 11 points heading into the fourth quarter, but did manage to take a brief lead midway through the period, and only trailed by one at 76-75 with 2:09 to play before they ran out of gas. Kings lottery pick Keegan Murray was the key for his squad, as he reached 24 points on 9 of 16 shooting, and made most of the key plays down the stretch.
L.A., lacking their starting center Jay Huff due to health and safety protocols, weren’t as dominant defensively as they’d been in blowout wins over Miami and Golden State over the weekend.
In fact, the Lakers hadn’t trailed against Miami, and only trailed the Warriors by two early in the first quarter, but they fell behind by as many as six in the first half against the Kings. Sacramento went up 32-26 early in the second quarter, before L.A. answered with a 13-2 run that made it 39-34 with 3:09 left in the half. The Kings managed to tie the score at the half, however, as a 5-0 push in the final minute knotted the score at 43.
Offensive rebounds from Sacramento proved a problem, as their six on that end (11 total) helped the Kings attempt five more shots in the half, making up for their 41.0 shooting percentage. The Lakers didn’t shoot the ball well, either, converting 41.2 percent, though they did manage to hit 11 of 14 free throws, to SAC’s 9 of 11.
Javante McCoy led the way in the first half on offense, hitting all four of his shots, including a triple, towards 11 points, as he continued to impress off the bench. Sacha Killeya-Jones, starting for Huff, was also perfect from the field, going 3 for 3 towards seven points.
Sacramento took the lead in the first minute of the third, when Scotty Pippen Jr. – who missed his first six shots of the game – got caught complaining about a no call, leading to his failing to see an offensive board that would have bounced right into his hands; the Kings converted a triple on the other end, starting a 5-0 run that put L.A. in a hole. Pippen, who’d played well in the previous two wins, continued a tough afternoon by committing an offensive foul.
Pippen did help the Lakers offense get going with a nice assist, but Murray went on an individual 5-0 run to push Sacramento’s lead to 10 with 4:24 left in the third. Murray added a three in the final seconds of the period to reach 20 points, and L.A. needed an and-1 from No. 35 overall pick Max Christie to get within 11 at 65-54 after three quarters.
LAL started the fourth quarter on an impressive push, when they trimmed an 11-point margin to five. Sacramento managed a triple after consecutive misses at the rim from L.A. failed to cut it to three, but they got it to three moments later after a tough three from Mason Jones and a transition layup from McCoy made it 68-65.
The run continued out of a Kings time out, when L.A. scored twice at the rim to go back in front, up 70-69, before a just-returned Murray answered for Sacramento. The teams exchanged buckets for the final few minutes, before Murray put the game away with a steal and fastbreak dunk that made it 82-75 with 41 seconds to play.
McCoy’s 15 points off the bench paced the Lakers, who 13 apiece from both Paris Bass and Vitto Brown. As a team, the Lakers shot only 37.1 percent from the field, and turned it over 16 times, to Sacramento’s 12.
The Lakers are set to take a flight to Las Vegas, where they’ll have a few days to practice and decompress before playing five more games, beginning on Friday night.