Without LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers fought hard against the Sacramento Kings, but yet again, they came up short and lost 120-114.
Los Angeles built a sizable lead in the second quarter but saw it trimmed to four at halftime and one at the end of the third quarter. Down the stretch, the Lakers couldn’t stop De’Aaron Fox, who scorched them by hitting 9-of-12 from the field in the second half and 5-of-7 in the fourth quarter.
They’re now in the midst of a five-game losing streak, and with a 2-10 record, their chances of reaching the playoffs this season are starting to shrink.
Anthony Davis: B+
Once again, Davis played very well in the first half, but he almost disappeared after halftime, as he managed only one made field goal on four attempts in the second half.
Overall he was 8-of-17 from the field to score 24 points. He did a better job of drawing fouls, as he went 8-of-11 from the free throw line.
Davis’ energy and effort defensively and on the boards continue to be impressive, as he grabbed 14 rebounds and came up with two steals and three blocked shots.
Wenyen Gabriel: B+
Gabriel had two rebounds and two blocks in 19 minutes, but he helped the Lakers the most in an area he usually doesn’t really contribute in – scoring.
He made all four of his shot attempts, and three of them came early in the fourth quarter while Davis was resting. Gabriel certainly did his job of holding down the fort while Davis was on the bench.
Troy Brown Jr.: D
Brown was almost invisible tonight, especially on the offensive end. He missed all but one of his six shots and both of his 3-point attempts, as he mustered just two points, to go along with three rebounds and two steals.
Patrick Beverley: C
Beverley brought some energy and hustle defensively, especially earlier in the contest, and his outside shooting may be improving a bit. He came into this contest shooting just 25.9 percent from downtown, but he went 1-of-3 versus the Kings, and in his last three games he is 4-of-9 from that distance.
But overall he was ineffective offensively, as he went 2-of-8 from the field.
Lonnie Walker IV: A
Without James, the Lakers needed a big game from Walker, and that’s pretty much what they got from him.
He shot 8-of-14 overall and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc to finish with 19 points while also adding two steals.
Russell Westbrook: B
Although Westbrook shot just 6-of-17 from the field, he seemed to have a positive impact on the game.
The Lakers have come out very weak in third quarters, partly because they’ve started walking the ball upcourt and becoming deliberate offensively. But Westbrook is one man who is never too deliberate, and he continued to give his team a healthy dose of energy and pace.
Sacramento did a good job of keeping him out of the paint and not letting him get good looks at or near the rim. But he did an excellent job of setting up his teammates, which allowed him to rack up 11 assists.
For some strange reason, Westbrook continues to be hot from downtown, as he went 4-of-7 from that territory tonight.
However, he committed a mental mistake that contributed to the Lakers’ loss. Towards the end of the second quarter, with L.A. up 8, Westbrook committed a take foul to stop a Sacramento fast break. It led to a made free throw, and on the ensuing inbound pass with 2.0 seconds left, Fox hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
For the game, Westbrook had five turnovers, which also hurt L.A.’s cause.
Austin Reaves: A-
Reaves is continuing to emerge as the Lakers’ new Alex Caruso, only he is more skilled offensively than Caruso.
The undrafted second-year man was 7-of-12 from the field, as he drove the ball into the heart of the Kings’ defense, absorbed contact and converted multiple tough baskets. He also made all five of his free throws and continued to make hustle plays.
He finished with 19 points, four rebounds and one steal in 33 minutes. The one blemish was his inability to hit from downtown; he was 0-of-2 from 3-point land.
Max Christie: B
Who would’ve ever thought that Christie, who was a poor shooter during summer league play, would emerge as a solid 3-point marksman this early in the season?
He went 2-of-5 from deep to score seven points in 17 minutes, and in his last three games he is 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Christie also snatched four rebounds and got one steal and one assist tonight.
Juan Toscano-Anderson: B
Toscano-Anderson hit only his second 3-pointer of the season tonight and his first since Oct. 20. Overall, he was 2-of-3 and finished with five points, three rebounds and one assist in 13 minutes.
Damian Jones: B
Jones’ job right now is to hold down the fort while Davis is on the bench, much like Gabriel, and he did a solid job of that on Friday.
In seven minutes he had four points, two rebounds and one steal. Both of his buckets came off nice assists from Westbrook.