The Staples Center crowd held their breath as the Los Angeles Lakers defense secured their tenth victory of the season with a last second stop of the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 15.
This Pacific Division contest came down to the final 5.5 seconds as Sacramento in-bounded the ball. Kings forward Harrison Barnes drove to the basket as time expired but Lakers forward Anthony Davis denied the basket resulting in a 99-97 win for L.A.
“A.D. is as good as anyone in the world at making that play.” Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel said after his team’s third win. “He made a terrific play to the save the game.”
Sacramento looked around for a call as there appeared to be some contact on Barnes’ final shot. However, the confetti came down from the Staples Center ceiling and that was it.
The final block was Davis’ fourth of the night. He finished with 17 points and five rebounds in 32 minutes.
Otherwise, Lakers forward LeBron James’ 11 points in the fourth quarter helped the Lakers close out the Kings. His two free throws were the Lakers final and game winning points.
“He was huge in the fourth quarter,” Vogel told the media about James’ performance. “He carried us through a tough stretch.”
James finished with 29 points and 11 assists in nearly 39 minutes versus the Kings.
“He’s a machine,” Lakers wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said about James’ performance in the fourth at age 34 .
Caldwell-Pope also came up big in the fourth, scoring 12 of his 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the period. K.C.P started the game for an injured Avery Bradley and went 1-of-4 from the field entering the last period.
“We tell him to keep shooting, just keep playing.” Davis said about Caldwell-Pope’s up and down performance. “He did that tonight, made some big shots especially in the fourth.”
Davis added the veteran guard helped them secure the win with his big play. Vogel also said K.C.P.’s season hasn’t been up and down so much as his scoring has been. The head coach credited the 26-year-old for his consistency on defense.
“I try to lean on my defense as much as possible.” Caldwell-Pope told the media after. “I’m great at it.”
L.A. also got a bench spark from guard and fan favorite Alex Caruso who added 10 points and three assists in 28 minutes. Forward Kyle Kuzma continued his efficiency by chipping in 13 points and five rebounds on 4-of-9 shooting.
Otherwise, Sacramento finished the game shooting 16-of-39 from three-point range. Yogi Ferrell and Bogdan Bogdanovic added double-digit scoring off the bench. Ferrell scored 14 in 28 minutes with a 50 percent shooting percentage from the field while Bogdanovic hit many crucial threes adding 15 points in 36 reserve minutes.
Former Lakers head coach Luke Walton made his return to the arena he coached at for two seasons as the leader of the Kings.
“We love the way our group competed tonight.” Walton told the media after the game. “… As of now this is the best team in the west and we gave ourselves a chance to win.”
The Kings also got a boost from big Richaun Holmes. Holmes scored 17 points and added eight rebounds. He was one of three starters in double-digit scoring. Forward Nemaja Bjelica scored 11 points in 22 minutes and guard Buddy Hield led the team with 21 points in 38 minutes.
“One call changed the whole game, it could’ve gone either way” Hield told the media after his team’s loss on the final possession. “It be like that sometimes.”
Hield did not elaborate on the one play he was talking about but he did say he did not think there was a foul on the final play. The Kings guard did say his team struggled getting calls to go to the line on the road.
“It’s a game we should’ve won.” Hield said. “It got stolen away from us.”
Notes from Los Angeles versus Sacramento
The Lakers were outscored from downtown in the first half. Sacramento shot 10-of-20 as a team from the three-point line in the first half versus the Lakers only shot 7-of-20.
Kings got off to a hot start beginning the game 11-4 thanks to three pointers from Buddy Hield. The Kings finished the first quarter 6 for 11 from three.
LeBron James hit a three from the top of the arc to make the game 13-15 at the 5:30 mark in the first half.
Kyle Kuzma would tie the game at 19 after back to back threes before the three minutes left on the game clock.
Buddy Hield answered Kuzma. The Kings would close out the quarter with a ten-point lead after Harrison Barnes hit a half court shot to make the game 30-20 as time expired.
The Lakers started the second with a 6-0 surge capped off with a K.C.P. three that made the game 26-30. Dwayne Dedmon stopped the run with a mid range shot and a few seconds later he hit the three that made the game 37-29 with nine minutes left.
Kuzma again flashed an offensive spark by hitting a three and then driving to the buck and finishing in traffic on the next Lakers possession. It was 42-36 with L.A. still down.
A Quinn Cook bank shot gave the Lakers a one point lead before the three minute mark in the second quarter.
It was 45-up just before the two minute mark when Hield gave the Kings a three-point lead off the dribble. James would answer with a highlight one-handed Jam. Lakers were down 47-48 at halftime.
The Second half started with more trading baskets. Alex Caruso hit a couple of layups to give the Lakers 64-58 lead before the seven minute mark of the third quarter. Caruso also answered a Richaun Holmes two-handed jam with his own three pointer to give the Lakers a seven-point advantage.
Bogdanovic helped cut the Lakers lead to 66-71 before the three minute mark in the third quarter with a couple of threes. Sacramento finished the third shooting 15-32 from deep thru three quarters.
LeBron James came on in the fourth quarter. He hit back-to-back threes on consecutive Lakers possessions which sparked a dance and an 82-74 lead for the Lakers in the first few minutes of the fourth.
After a Kings’ alley-oop, Harrison Barnes cut to the basket and made the game 80-84 on the Kings next possession.
The Kings would secure the lead until a K.C.P shot made it 86-85.
KCP would answer Holmes free throws with his own bucket and again give the Lakers a three point lead.
With 2:48 left, James found Davis for an alley-oop which made the game 95-90 with 2:48 left. Bogdanovic cut the lead to two with a three-pointer. He scored in transition to tie the game and hit the free throw to give the Kings a one-point lead with two minutes remaining.
James answered by driving to the basket to give the Lakers a two-point lead again. The Kings would answer and tie it up.
On the next possession, Sacramento fouled the Lakers which gave King James a chance to give the Lakers a two point lead with 5.5 seconds left in the fourth. Sacramento got one more shot on the rim but it was blocked by Anthony Davis resulting in L.A.’s 10th win.
The Lakers will continue their home stand on Sunday with their first matchup versus the Atlanta Hawks at 6:30 P.M. PST. They will look to get their fourth straight win.
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