Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 84-83 loss to the Sacramento Kings


Only six games remain in the Lakers schedule, and while this has been a season during which the Lakers have made a great deal of progress, the final week and a half figures to be a little rough.

During that time, the Lakers play the Jazz twice, and the Spurs, Timberwolves, Rockets and Clippers once each. All of those teams are playoff teams or right on the cusp. The only one among them with nothing to play for is Houston, which has already clinched home court throughout the playoffs.

Sunday was their last chance at a softer opponent. Here are five takeaways from the Lakers 84-83 loss to the Sacramento Kings.

  1. Kyle Kuzma and Ivica Zubac were asked postgame, separately, what the greatest adjustment is when the Lakers are playing without Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. Both players began with one word: playmaking. Ingram has been essentially the Lakers’ backup point guard this season. For most games this season, the Lakers have had at least one of them, but when they haven’t had either, they’ve had to figure out how to compensate. On Sunday, that meant Alex Caruso getting his first start after the Lakers called him away from a red-eye flight to Oklahoma City, where he was supposed to meet the South Bay Lakers for a G-League playoff game.
  2. Coach Luke Walton is trying to impress upon the Lakers that a strong finish will help them in the future: “Even though we’re tired and hurt and down in bodies and playing different lineups, it’s a great opportunity to still embrace the fact that we are playing basketball for a living and we’re competing at this level and we’re playing in front of, I mean our fans are still showing up, you know what I mean? They’re paying their hard-earned money to come support us. We have a responsibility to them, to ourselves, to our organization to play extremely hard, no matter what. And if we do that, we’ll finish the season more advanced, more further along, more mentally tough than if we just give in and say, hey, it’s been a solid year, let’s get after it this summer and see what we can’t do next year.”
  3. In only five games this season have the Lakers held an opponent to fewer than 90 points. Three of those games were against the Sacramento Kings. Sunday’s game was the only one of those five that the Lakers lost.
  4. At different times this season, the Lakers have had problems with the volume of their turnovers. While they only had 14 on Sunday, a relatively low number, they committed them at very costly moments. Two in the game’s final minute demolished any chance the Lakers had of recovering after the Kings took an 82-80 lead.
  5. One message that kept coming up in post-game interviews was that leaving a game to the final few seconds is unwise. Walton must have addressed this with his team at some point because a few players talked about that concept. What disappointed them was that when they had chances to pull away, they didn’t take them.

Twitter: @taniaganguli