Kings muscle past Lakers
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- In some respects, the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers are traveling similar paths. Once fierce rivals who fought for Western Conference supremacy, both clubs now are young and trying to emerge from a recent history of losing.
For a night, the Kings appeared to be a bit further ahead in the race.
“It’s great,” rookie guard De‘Aaron Fox said Wednesday after the Kings rode a combined 48 points from Willie Cauley-Stein and Zach Randolph and double-digit scoring from four other players to a 113-102 win over the Lakers at Golden 1 Center. “But it’s not the only one we want.”
Indeed, the Kings hardly seemed satisfied with a one-sided victory at home in a game that featured the first matchup between Fox and Los Angeles’ Lonzo Ball, two of the top five rookies picked in the June draft.
Sacramento (5-13) won for the fourth time in its past five home games.
“They should feel good about it,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said.
Cauley-Stein scored a season-high 26 points off the bench, starter Randolph added 22, and the Kings posted their biggest victory margin of the season. Sacramento cracked the 100-point mark for the first time in seven games and only the fifth time all season.
The two frontcourt men combined to make 20 of 30 shots, and the Kings blazed away for a season-best 55.3 percent shooting. Ten of the 11 Kings who played more than a minute contributed points.
“It’s just the energy, we’re drawing a lot of energy from the fans,” Fox said. “When we go on the road, that’s just something that we have to bring from within.”
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope topped the Lakers (8-11) with 20 points. Rookie Kyle Kuzma scored 17 points, and Jordan Clarkson tallied 15 off the bench for Los Angeles, which had won its previous two.
The Kings’ 31-point opening quarter was Sacramento’s best at home since a 40-point effort against the New Orleans Pelicans on Oct. 26. That game, like Wednesday‘s, also was on national television.
Cauley-Stein made 10 of 14 shots, two of them dunks on lobs to the basket after pick-and-rolls, and two on dribble-drives from the top of the arc that ended in dunks. Randolph scored 11 in the first quarter on 5-for-7 shooting.
Sacramento closed the first 12 minutes with a 16-5 run.
“To start the game, we got our steps we needed. We were able to get out and run,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said.
“We got some really good open looks, and we didn’t make them. And when Sacramento starting hitting some and made the little run they went on at the end of the first, it just kind of felt like we kind of fell apart.”
Fox scored 13 points but also turned over the ball five times for the Kings. Ball tallied 11 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and four turnovers for the Lakers, who gave the ball away 17 times. The game marked the first meeting between the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft (Ball) and the No. 5 pick (Fox).
“We have a lot of turnovers, especially in transition,” Ball said. “We just need to make the right play, the simple play. ... We just have to execute better.”
Buddy Hield returned from a two-game absence caused by a sprained right ankle to score 10 points for Sacramento. Six came during a 15-6 run to start the fourth quarter that extended the Kings’ lead to 91-73.
Kings forward Vince Carter scored two points in his return from a seven-game absence caused by kidney stones.
The Lakers, who entered the game fourth in the league in rebounding, lost the battle of the boards 44-32, including 10-4 on the offensive end. The Kings were being outrebounded by 7.8 rebounds a game entering the contest, the worst mark in the NBA.
NOTES: Rookie F Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers’ leading scorer at 16.7 per game, ate dinner with Kobe Bryant on Tuesday, the Orange County Register reported. Bryant led the Lakers to five championships in 20 seasons. Kuzma told the Register, “I want to be good. Why not learn from the best?” Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, Bryant’s former agent, told the Register that Kuzma was “in awe by everything he heard.” ... Sacramento’s reserves outscored the Lakers’ 67-38. It marked the third time this season the Kings’ subs totaled 60 points in a contest. ... The Lakers scored 46 points in the paint Wednesday. They average 55.1 per game. ... Sacramento F Garrett Temple and F Skal Labissiere are a combined 8-for-45 from the floor while teaming up as starters the past three games.