Coming off a lackluster effort against the Mavericks, the Lakers faced off against the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers found themselves down big in the second quarter but were able to claw their way to an impressive 101-91 victory.
Sloppy turnovers and an overall lack of energy created a 19-point deficit in the first half. Fortunately, they came out of the locker room with more energy and played with more efficiency. As a result, the Lakers started to make their shots and force the Kings to miss theirs.
Larry Nance Jr. returned from a concussion injury and made his presence felt. Nance continues to be the unsung hero of the squad. He guards multiple positions, plays with energy, and makes smart decisions. At one point in the game, he blocked a shot and ran down the court and dunked the ball.
So far this year, opposing big men have crushed the Lakers. A big part of this is Walton’s decision to go small in the fourth quarter. In today’s game he opted to stick with center Timofey Mozgov in the fourth quarter. Cousins had 28 points but not many of his points came from the paint. Mozgov and the Lakers did a fantastic job of containing Cousins after the first quarter.
Luol Deng had another subpar performance. I am positive that Deng is a great locker room veteran, but the Lakers are paying him $72 million to perform well on the court as well. Deng has looked a step slow on defense all season and his shot continues to not fall. Deng will have to perform better in the future especially since many Lakers’ fans are now thinking about getting the eighth seed.