LeBron James: Lakers’ defense evaporated when Anthony Davis picked up second foul

In the opening minutes of their game on Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers were looking good. They were defending well, limiting the Kings to one shot and getting out and running. As a result, they took a 37-18 lead.

But shortly after that, Anthony Davis was called for his second foul. He immediately went to the bench, and it allowed Sacramento to run off 10 unanswered points to close the period.

Nothing seemed right for the Lakers from that point on. They were massively outscored 44-20 in the second quarter, and they never recovered, as they lost 130-120.

LeBron James was asked about his team’s defense, which looked so outstanding in Monday’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he said it evaporated when Davis was assessed his second foul (at 1:47).

Davis returned with 8:20 left in the second quarter and L.A. still ahead by eight points. At that point, the team could’ve reasserted control of the game. Instead, it allowed the Kings to score 14 consecutive baskets, many of which were 3-pointers, and it permanently changed the tenor of the night.

This was a critical loss for the Lakers. They fell from ninth to 10th place in the Western Conference and now trail the seventh-place Kings by 2.5 games. A win would’ve brought them to within half a game of the Kings, a team they need to pass in the standings in order to avoid the play-in tournament.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire