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Lakers’ long trip begins with long night in Sacramento

Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson (6) tries to guide Coach Luke Walton, left, to the locker room after he was ejected during the first quarter on Monday.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Lakers Coach Luke Walton ripped off his gray suit jacket as he stormed off the court seconds after being ejected with a double-technical foul with 4:14 left in the first quarter.

“I just felt like I needed to stand up for my guys,” Walton said. “What happened on the floor wasn’t right. My only concern is our guys in the locker room and our team. If I feel like something’s not right, I’m going to stand up for our guys.”

It was one of seven individual technical fouls called in the game, six against the Lakers, who lost to the Kings, 116-92, Monday for their seventh consecutive defeat. It dropped the Lakers to 10-17, while the Kings improved to 9-15. The game evened the season series between the teams at 1-1.

The Kings outscored the Lakers, 39-13, in the third quarter, after the Lakers had entered halftime with a nine-point lead.

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“Felt like in the third quarter we gave in and never, as a team, got it back,” Walton said.

The Lakers got double-figure scoring from Luol Deng, D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams. Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins had 31 points, after scoring 28 last month in the teams’ first meeting of the season. Kings guard Darren Collison had 20 points and made seven of 11 shots.

But the most notable statistic in the game involved the number of technical fouls assessed.

Julius Randle, Russell, Williams and associate head coach Brian Shaw, who took over after Walton was ejected, were also hit with technicals.

Cousins had Sacramento’s only technical foul , but his was assessed during the second half, long after his most eventful episode of the game.

That came with 4:14 left in the first quarter, when a contentious battle, left over from the first Lakers-Kings meeting, flashed. In that first meeting, Cousins and Randle, both Kentucky products, met after the game ended, and had to be separated.

On Monday night, Cousins grabbed Randle’s arms from behind, causing him to fall to the floor, and then Cousins fell down too.

Furious that no foul had been called, Walton stormed all the way to the middle of the court and unleashed a furious tirade at the officials. As the coach approached midcourt, Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson held him back, and rookie forward Brandon Ingram later joined the effort. Walton didn’t physically move forward, but his words still reached the official, who assessed two technical fouls to Walton and added one for Randle on the same play.

Collison made all three free throws.

“I love Coach, man,” Randle said. “He backs me up with everything, and has all of our backs 100% so I love coach. It makes you want to go out there and bust your butt for him.”

Said Cousins, who leads the NBA in technical fouls with nine: “It happens. He was angry. He did what he had to do. I’m not mad at it. It helped us out, so not mad at it.”

“The referees don’t matter; the other team doesn’t matter; I’m a huge fan of DeMarcus Cousins’ game,” Walton said after the game. “I thought that it wasn’t right what happened out there so I stood up for my guys like I will every time.”

The Lakers led 17-14 when Walton was ejected, then the Kings went on a short run after he departed. By the end of the first quarter, Sacramento had a 31-24 lead.

The second quarter saw the Lakers grab a nine-point lead as no Kings starter scored at all .

It was in the third quarter that the Lakers collapsed.

“We kind of fell apart a little bit,” Lakers guard Nick Young said. “They made shots and we couldn’t find our rhythm after that.”

Walton said the third quarter, during which the Lakers were outscored by 26 points, was the first time all season he’d seen his team give in. It was too much for the Lakers to overcome.

The message of the night, though, rang clearly, and technically, afterward.

tania.ganguli@latimes.com

Twitter: @taniaganguli


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