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Expect The Unexpected: Kings Defeat Lakers In Thriller

(Image courtesy of the Sacramento Kings)

Trailing by 10 points heading into the fourth, Sacramento used a complete effort to spoil LeBron James’ return

The game of basketball truly is an unpredictable one.

Just 48 hours after suffering a gut wrenching 49-point loss to the Utah Jazz, the Sacramento Kings put forward what could be their most impressive showing of the season against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, winning by a final of 110-106 on Friday night at the STAPLES Center.

Trailing by 10 points going into the final quarter, the Kings would strong performances from their bench duo of Delon Wright and Terence Davis to get themselves back into the game before Tyrese Haliburton and Richaun Holmes would check back in to aid the two for a final push.

After a three from Davis put the Kings up 104-99 with 2:45 remaining, Lakers forward Anthony Davis would answer with a bucket to cut the deficit to three.

Richaun Holmes finished off a beautiful dish from Tyrese Haliburton to keep the pressure on Los Angeles, but LeBron James would nail his biggest field goal of the night, a three-pointer to put the Lakers behind 106-104 with less than two minutes remaining.

Both teams would go scoreless for almost a minute before Holmes drew a foul and knocked down two free-throws to extend the lead to 108-104 with 57 seconds left on the clock. Another basket by James cut Sacramento’s lead to two points with 39.8 seconds left before a block by Anthony Davis gave the Lakers a chance to tie or win the ballgame with 7.8 seconds remaining.

James’ game-winning attempt would be no good, allowing Haliburton to snag the rebound, draw the foul and put the game away with two free-throws to give the Kings a much-needed win.

Sacramento (26-37) was able to shake off their worst home loss in franchise history that took place on Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz, where they lost by 49 points and allowed Utah to establish a franchise-record for points scored in a game with 154.

A shorthanded Kings team showed heart and tons of effort for all 48 minutes on Friday night, with seven members of the team finishing with 10 points or more in the win.

Even with a double-digit deficit staring them in the eyes to begin the fourth, Sacramento outscored the Lakers 32-18 in the final period to deliver a massive blow to a Los Angeles team that is hanging onto the sixth-seed spot in the Western Conference standings by a thread.

How did we get here?

Although the main storyline around the league was the return of LeBron James, Sacramento would make a case for their own headlines early with a 28-15 run to open things up in the first quarter.

Tyrese Haliburton got into a rhythm early, knocking down three three-pointers to help lead the Kings to a 30-23 lead through one period of play. The rookie guard also dished out three dimes in the first quarter, including a highlight alley-oop lob to Richaun Holmes.

The defending champion Lakers would respond, using an 18-3 run in the second quarter–with nine of those points coming from old friend Ben McLemore–to erase the deficit and take a 56-55 lead over Sacramento into the halftime break.

Through 10 minutes of action in the third quarter, the Kings were within six points before the Lakers would end the period on a mini-run of their own to take an 88-78 lead into the fourth.

Terence Davis, Delon Wright, Tyrese Haliburton and Richaun Holmes would all get on the board in the fourth quarter to help lead the Kings to arguably their most improbable win of the season against the 2020 champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Rounding out the box score

For the fifth time this season, Tyrese Haliburton finished with a double-double, scoring a team-high 23 points (nine-of-14 from the field, four-of-eight from three-point range) to go along with 10 assists, four rebounds and two steals.

The rookie guard has made it clear that–contrary to what many have been saying on social media over the past week–he has no clear ceiling in this league. Watching what the 21-year-old has been doing on a nightly basis for his entire rookie season (with no summer league, an abbreviated training camp and a shortened offseason) has been truly remarkable to witness.

Richaun Holmes just narrowly missed another double-double, finishing with 22 points on nine-of-14 from the field while also pulling down nine rebounds over 31 minutes of playing time.

Terence Davis was dialed in late, scoring 15 points to help lead the charge in the fourth quarter. Davis got help from fellow backcourt mate Delon Wright, who flirted with a triple-double on Friday night (11 points, six rebounds, seven assists).

Marvin Bagley III made his return against the Lakers, scoring 11 points on four-of-nine from the field over 21 minutes. Bagley was playing under a minutes restriction, but the young forward looked comfortable in his first game back in over a month.

Damian Jones chipped in with 10 points off of the bench to round out the Sacramento scoring.

Injury Notes

  • Chimezie Metu exited Friday night’s game in the first half after suffering a back injury that took place on a scary fall with 2:54 remaining in the second quarter. The young forward scored 10 points and pulled down three boards over just 14 minutes before departing.
  • Marvin Bagley III made his return to game action after missing 23 games with a fractured fourth metacarpal in his left hand.
  • Lakers star forward LeBron James made his return to action on Friday night after missing the past 19 games due to a high-ankle sprain suffered on March 20th.
  • According to head coach Luke Walton, De’Aaron Fox is still without a timetable for a return due to health & safety protocols.

Coming Up

Sacramento will travel to Dallas for another matchup with Luka Doncic and the Mavericks on Sunday night.

On Monday night, the Kings used a 24-point effort from Richaun Holmes and a double-double from Tyrese Haliburton to defeat the Mavs by a final of 113-106 at Golden 1 Center.

Be sure to tune in for all of the action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, with tip-off coming to you live at 5:00pm PST from American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

  • May 2 @ Dallas Mavericks
  • May 4 @ Oklahoma City Thunder
  • May 5 @ Indiana Pacers
  • May 7 vs San Antonio Spurs
  • May 9 vs Oklahoma City Thunder