The Lakers suffered another lopsided loss Monday night with a technical-happy officiating crew that doled out seven individual technical fouls, including six on the Lakers.
The big story of the night was Luke Walton’s first ejection as the Lakers’ head coach. It didn’t lead to the loss -- the Lakers actually led by halftime after Walton was ejected in the first quarter. But it did set a tone.
Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ Monday night loss to the Kings.
1. DeMarcus Cousins was involved in five of the seven technical fouls assessed Monday night. There was the contact with Julius Randle, which some have described as a tackle, that led to Randle’s technical and Walton’s two technicals. There was also an exchange with Brian Shaw, who took over for Walton, that led to both Cousins and Shaw being assessed technicals. After the game, Cousins objected to what was his ninth technical of the season (an NBA high). “B-Shaw and me talk trash since I came into this league,” Cousins said. “Friendly trash talk. He didn’t like the curse words me and B-Shaw said so he gave us techs.” It’s possible the refs were just on high alert at that point to keep the peace.
2. Walton’s actions played well with the people who spoke after the game, particularly Julius Randle. As Randle is also a very passionate player, he seems to relate to Walton’s fire and appreciates that it was on his behalf. They’ve had some heated discussions as part of the teaching process, but there’s clearly a mutual respect there.
3. The Lakers got killed in the paint Monday, outscored 66 to 24 there. “It’s a bunch of stuff,” Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson said. “They got points off turnovers as well. DeMarcus is starting to go to work a little bit down in the paint, making stuff tough on us. We were starting to double-team him so they started driving close outs and we just got to do a better job.” Interestingly, the Lakers actually outscored the Knicks in the paint on Sunday, despite Kristaps Porzingis' seven blocks.
4. The good news is it seems Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell are improving. Russell played just shy of 20 minutes after a little more than 16 minutes on Sunday. He did say it’s too early to declare he is back to where he was before his left knee soreness began, but added, “I’m working on it.” Young was off the Lakers injury report altogether for their Wednesday game in Brooklyn.
5. The eye-popping stat of the night? Kings reserve Garrett Temple had a plus/minus rating of 41.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli