LeBron James exits early as Lakers surrender 19-point lead and fall to Kings

Lakers forward LeBron James is fouled by Kings center Alex Len while driving to the basket

Ugly losses produce frustrated locker rooms, and considering what happened Wednesday to the Lakers against the Kings, it should be no surprise people were upset.

“It was a game that we needed and we came out with all the energy. Both ends of the floor,” Anthony Davis said. “Then the second quarter dictated the game.”

The Kings out-scored the Lakers by 24 in that quarter on their way to winning 130-120 in Los Angeles. The Lakers, riding that early energy, built a 19-point first-quarter lead. They led by 18 when Davis picked up his second foul late in the first and checked out of the game. The Kings scored 53 of the next 73 points to stun the Lakers.

“It sucks,” Davis said.

It got worse.

The Lakers' Rui Hachimura reaches out for a rebound in front of the Kings' Harrison Barnes and Laker Anthony Davis

Late in the fourth quarter, LeBron James grimaced and went back to the locker room after a Lakers’ timeout, the team’s 39-year-old star continuing to deal with ankle soreness despite a treatment over the all-star break that cost him a pair of Laker games.

“It’s just my ankle. It’s just what I’ve been dealing with before the break, after the break. I’m just managing it the best way I can,” James said. “I played the whole third, sat a little bit to start the fourth and when I got back in, it kind of just — whatever. It’s just something I’ve been dealing with.”

James scored 31 points Wednesday, the fourth time he’s had at least 30 since the break.

Kings forward Domantas Sabonis plays tight defense on Lakers forward Anthony Davis.

“I’ll be all right,” he said.

The injury scare helped shield the Lakers from some of the harsher truths about their second-quarter collapse.

“Some of the things we were in defensively allowed them to, allowed De'Aaron Fox, Malik Monk to get whatever they want. Live in the paint,” Davis said. "And if I go help, then [Domantas] Sabonis is wide open. So, uh, they did a good job manipulating what we were doing.”

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Fox scored 44, Monk had 26 and Sabonis had 16 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists.

And the inability to get stops put the Lakers in a funk they couldn’t escape.

“Frustration makes cowards of us all, just like fatigue," Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. "You try to get something back, you start going out on your own or you [get] preoccupied, which is something that you can't control such as officiating. Instead of just figuring out how you can make plays, get stops. And a lot of times, just competing harder.… When we play like that, that physicality, that needs to be our identity. That right there we've shown when we play like that, things turn out great for us.”

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.