Nothing to say in Lakers’ defense after 132-114 loss to Kings
Byron Scott sat at the dais and made one thing clear.
“The first thing that Magic [Johnson] taught me when I got in this league is that we win championships by defending every single night,” Scott said. “You’re going to miss shots, you’re going to make shots. But the one thing you control every single night is your effort on the defensive end.”
On July 29, 2014, Scott was hired as the Lakers’ 21st coach. Happier times were seemingly ahead.
The final score Friday reflected nothing Scott hoped to bring to the franchise that employed him for 11 years as a player: Sacramento Kings 132, Lakers 114.
Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl, right, talks to Kings’ Rajon Rondo during their game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Sleep Train Arena on Friday.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, left, complains to referee Steve Anderson during the game against the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena on Friday.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, right, and Sacramento Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins go for the loose ball at Sleep Train Arena on Friday.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings’ Omri Casspi reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Sleep Train Arena on Friday.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell, right, tries to pass after falling as Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo tries to block the pass.(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein, left, stops the drive of Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle during the first quarter on Friday.(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Sacramento Kings’ Rajon Rondo goes up for a shot against Lakers defenders at Sleep Train Arena on Friday.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings’ Rudy Gay goes up for a shot over Lakers’ Julius Randle at Sleep Train Arena on Friday.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
Sacramento’s Ben McLemore is fouled by the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant at Sleep Train Arena on Friday.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, left, tries to shoot over Lakers’ Roy Hibbert at Sleep Train Arena on Friday.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
Sacramento’s Rudy Gay shoots over Lakers’ Kobe Bryant at Sleep Train Arena on Oct. 30.(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
This was ugly from the start, the Lakers already surrendering 50 points early in the second quarter. It’s a wonder the Kings didn’t get to 75 before halftime, but they almost did (74).
The Lakers gave up so many points in the paint, it was laughable (80). The Kings kept sneaking behind them for easy fastbreak points (33).
It was silly to count how many open three-point looks Sacramento had at Sleep Train Arena.
Scott told the Lakers at halftime to “man up,” he said, still unhappy after the game because the Lakers were “soft” from the start of it, he added.
“We just sucked,” he said. “I’ve never seen 80 points in the paint. I really haven’t.”
Rajon Rondo, hardly known for his scoring, teased and taunted with plenty of scoop shots in the lane and 21 points (plus eight assists). There was Rudy Gay, slipping behind everybody for a long lead pass and easy emblematic dunk.
The score could have been worse, but the Kings missed plenty of long-distance looks, their fans groaning when Gay had several seconds by himself above the left side of the arc, only to miss.
D’Angelo Russell had 13 points, five coming in the meaningless fourth quarter, and had trouble staying with Rondo.
“It’s a good learning experience,” Kobe Bryant said. “Rondo’s an animal, man. It’s a tough matchup for anybody. It’s one thing to see him on TV. It’s another thing to actually be against him and see his speed and his tempo.”
Bryant had 13 points and again struggled from three-point range, making only one of eight from distance in 22 minutes. He said he was being deferential to the Lakers’ young players.
“Especially D’Angelo,” Bryant said. “Let him call the game. Let him read the flow, which is part of me taking a step back, which needs to be done.
“You have to let the young guys make those reads and you have to be able to help them and support them with those reads. You’ve got to let them develop, man.”
Jordan Clarkson had 22 points on efficient 10-for-15 shooting. Julius Randle had more fouls (five) and turnovers (five) than points (three) and rebounds (two).
At some point very early in the game, the Lakers led by two. It was irrelevant. It’s hard to keep a lead for a team that simply can’t defend.
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