L.A.

Lakers can’t overcome DeMarcus Cousins’ big night, fall 97-96

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night faltered to yet another loss falling to the Sacramento Kings, 97-96. 

It was a contest that turned to be dictated by the Lakers’ shooting woes for much of the night. Despite a late push led by Lou Williams, the visitor held onto their fourth straight win. That said, here are few takeaways from Los Angeles’ fourth straight home loss to Sacramento: 

Offensive struggles 

With four days off ahead of Tuesday’s tilt against the Kings, the Lakers showed much rust with their shooting problems throughout the night. 

It didn’t look like the Lakers could buy a bucket in the first half shooting just 37.2 percent from the field, including 33.3 percent in the second quarter. They also committed 10 turnovers, which was one more than their total number of assists in the first two quarters. 

Los Angeles had no players in double-figure scoring in the first half with Julius Randle leading the team with just seven points. This also included no player having no more than three made field goals. 

Things didn’t improve much more in the second half with their shooting woes continued despite the ball movement improving. Los Angeles did shoot at a high clip in the fourth quarter hitting 72.2 percent by knocking down 13 of 18 attempts from the field. 

Williams played a huge part in that efficiency nailing seven of 10 attempts, including three of six from beyond the arc. However, their shooting problems for much of the night led to their shortcomings on the scoreboard. 

“It felt there was something off, and I was surprised that we were only down two at the half,” head coach Luke Walton said. “I didn’t feel like we were playing with the energy that I expect our guys to play with. The ball was moving, but it was kind of moving without a purpose.” 

Cousins dominates

With the Kings in town, DeMarcus Cousins once again put together an impressive performance against the Lakers notching a near triple-double with a game-high 40 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists. 

Cousins got off to a strong start out of the gate with 12 points in the first quarter on 4-of-7 shooting, which played a major part in Kings shooting 63.2 percent from the field in the period.  

The 26-year-old picked it up in the second half with the bulk of his production coming in the final two quarters racking up 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field and eight rebounds during that span. The Lakers simply had no answer for Cousins on the defensive end of the floor that forced Tarik Black to foul out of the game late in the fourth quarter. 

“He’s an All-Star-caliber player,” Williams said. “He’s the best player on the team. One of the best bigs in the league. He did everything he was supposed to do tonight.”

It marked another strong performance in an All-Star caliber campaign for Cousins with his 32 double-double and fourth 40-point outing on the season. This also provided another clear example that backs the growing reputation of being the top big man in the NBA. 

Mr. Reliable 

For much of the season, Williams has been the sole dependable offensive firepower for the Lakers. 

This was once again on display on Tuesday night as he scored a team-high 29 points against the Kings, which was his 24th game with at least 20 points. A large amount of that came in the fourth quarter scoring 19 of the team’s 32 points in the period.

He recorded nine of the Lakers’ first 13 points in the period to tie the score at 79 with just over six minutes left. Williams hit another timely bucket tying the game at 91 with a 3-pointer with 1:57 remaining in the contest.

He then nailed another game-tying shot from beyond the arc with 30.4 seconds. He had an opportunity to win the game in the waning seconds but missed his 3-pointer in transition with time expiring. 

“Absolutely,” Williams said in regards to the loss stinging. “Especially like that when we have an opportunity to win. Definitely.”

Prior to the game, Williams was averaging a career-high 18.4 points, which also leads the team in scoring this season. 

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia IV is a sports journalist from Southern California. He's currently the Los Angeles Lakers beat writer for Sports Out West. He was previously the beat writer for LA Rams Report for Scout.com, which is a website dedicated to covering the Rams. Lastly, he was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.
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