The King Returns
The Los Angeles Lakers today take on the Sacramento Kings. Both teams are looking to turn it around and get back into the win column tonight. The Kings are are coming off one of the biggest losses in franchise history to the Utah Jazz. While the Lakers are looking to rebound back after a bad loss to the Washington Wizards. However more importantly it’s been reported that LeBron James will make his long awaited return today.
Obviously with the return of LeBron it is huge for the Lakers. The Lakers, in what seems like forever, are fully healthy now. The Lakers two main priorities are to build chemistry quickly, and hold onto that 5th seed in the standings. It is highly critical the Lakers achieve both priorities as the playoffs are just around the corner. And if the Lakers want to repeat as champions these two priorities must be achieved. Without further ado let’s recap how the Lakers did.
In the first half the Lakers got off to a really slow start in the first quarter. The Lakers were missing every shot even dunks at the rim by Andre Drummond. The Kings in the first quarter had it going. The Kings were moving the ball, flying everywhere on defense, and attacking the rim. It was not the start Laker fans were expecting with LeBron returning back to the starting lineup. The Lakers started the game flat, and were just out played that first quarter as they were down by as many as 15 points. The Kings shot 11/24 from the field in the first while the Lakers shot 9/22. The first quarter ends as the Lakers cut into the lead and are down 30-23.
Second quarter begins and the Lakers hit a different gear. The Lakers are now the ones that are moving the ball well, flying everywhere on defense, and attacking the rim. LeBron James presence on the court has made an impact for the team. It simply as put everyone back in their roles, and brings that sense of comfort knowing LeBron will get me the ball in the right spot for me.
The Lakers for the quarter shot 13/19 from the field shooting at 68% from the field. The Kings in the quarter shot 9/24 at 38% from the field. Unfortunately despite the energy level, and shot making this quarter the Lakers did not end the quarter on a high note heading into the half. The Kings came roaring back and cut the lead to one going into halftime down 56-55.
The Lakers in general played a decent first half. Lack of focus and energy is what stands out to me. The first quarter, and ending of the second quarter is what stands out the most. Along with lack of energy problems Andre Drummond despite the numbers has been a headache to watch. Andre has missed a lot of east buckets around the rim in the first half. If the Lakers can fix the lack of energy, and Andre make those easy buckets this game should an easy win. The stand out player so far for the Lakers is none other than LeBron James. LeBron has 9 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, and a steal. Now let’s see how the Lakers did in the second half of the game.
The third quarter has started, and the Lakers are flirting with losing this game. The Lakers themselves have looked good on offense, however their defense has taken a step back this quarter. The Kings are hanging around and are making their shots. The effort on defense thus far hasn’t been impressive in the third quarter. However Andre Drummond has looked much better this quarter finishing around the rim, and finishing lobs. Anthony Davis has come alive as well this quarter, and his trajectory is trending upwards every game he as played since coming back from injury as well.
In the latter part of the third quarter Montrezl Harrell has given the Lakers a boost in energy. Harrell is being activate on defensive coverages in the pick and roll, defensive rebounding, and creating put back opportunities. Because of Harrell he has helped create a 10 pt lead heading into the 4th quarter up 88-78.
The fourth quarter has started, and the Lakers are looking to put their foot down and get a win. However the Kings are not going away. The Kings come out the quarter, and cut the lead to 3 94-91. Tyrese Haliburton has been leading the way all game for the Kings. The Lakers later in the quarter get themselves in deeper trouble, and the Kings take a late lead in the fourth quarter up 99-97. Lack of energy, and their turnovers has created this great opportunity for the Kings to steal this game.
Still 3:11 left and Lakers are down two now 101-99. If Lakers are going to win this game they are going to have to go on a run, and please for the love of god play some consistent defense. Anthony Davis, and LeBron are hitting big time shots right now to keep the Lakers within striking distance. Lakers are down 2 with 7.8 seconds left, LeBron shoots a 3, and misses the 3. The Sacramento Kings with a stunner heading into the fourth quarter down 10 comeback and win in LeBron’s return.
The Lakers have now lost the last 5 of their 6 and are in grave danger of losing that 5th seed. With the Portland Trailblazers winning against the Brooklyn Nets tonight they are one game back of the Lakers now in the standings. What was suppose to be a gimme game on the schedule there is not a lot of lack luster opponents left on their schedule. Takeaways from this game are the turnovers which the Lakers committed 21 turnovers which the Kings scored 24 points off. Their team defense this game as well was terrible as well. The defense is the most surprising development since it has been elite without Anthony, and LeBron.
The Lakers allowed 32 points in the fourth quarter which is not going to get the job done for any team. What I expect next game now that we got to see this starting lineup fully healthy is Andre Drummond substitution patterns change a bit. I don’t think Drummond is going to be closing games if any at all which is where I see Kuzma being inserted early into closing situations. I also expect Marc Gasol to also eat at some minutes from Drummond. Gasol will provide that outside shooting and give Davis the space in the post to operate where as Drummond just clogs the paint up for Davis.
The Lakers next game which has now turned into a must win situation is against the Toronto Raptors this Sunday. For more NBA, Laker news, please give me a follow on Twitter @Real_Ajay_Virk, and @thePeachBasket_ for your latest news. Till then hope you ladies, and gentlemen had a great night despite the Lakers lost.
Vs. Toronto Raptors, Sunday May 2nd at 7:00PM Pacific
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