The Lakers (9-35) lost their fourth straight game, falling to the Sacramento Kings (18-23) on Wednesday night. Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 112-93 defeat at Staples Center.
1. Brandon Bass led the Lakers in scoring for the first time this season, his first with the team. Bass scored 18 points on seven-of-12 shooting.
Over a two-minute span in the fourth quarter, Bass blocked three shots and gave the Lakers a chance -- but the Kings were able to push their lead back to double digits to close out the win.
Bass played almost 30 minutes, with Roy Hibbert in foul trouble most of the night.
2. The Lakers just couldn’t contain DeMarcus Cousins, who led all players with 36 points and 16 rebounds.
Cousins hit 13 of 22 shots (59.1%) and was 10 for 12 from the line (83.3%), all in 35 minutes.
“DeMarcus is showing at a high level that he’s an all-star,” said Kings Coach George Karl. “Is there a better center that’s playing basketball right now in the NBA? I don’t think there is. He’s helped us at both ends of the court.”
Though Cousins is not going to be voted in as an All-Star game starter by the fans, he may be selected by the coaches to the Western Conference squad. Last year, Cousins earned his first all-star nod.
3. With the 10-year anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game approaching Friday, Kings forward Rudy Gay said he remembered where he was on that night.
“I was in college. We had just beat [Pittsburgh], and somebody called me -- I think somebody at home had called me -- and told me that Kobe had like 70 in the third quarter. So I got right in my dorm and turned it on and watched the rest of it.”
Gay, who went to the University of Connecticut from 2004 to 2006, said he was thinking at the time, “Can I play in the NBA next year? Can I be able to guard that?”
The 6-foot-8 forward was eventually drafted by the Houston Rockets with the eighth overall pick in 2006, but was traded on draft night to the Memphis Grizzlies.
4. The Lakers started the game slowly, fought back, fell behind again and fought back again. But then the Kings pushed away with a quick fourth-quarter burst.
“They played great,” said Julius Randle of the Kings.
“He’s tough. He’s tough,” Randle said of Cousins. “He’s the toughest in my opinion. He’s a load. He’s hard to move.”
Randle finished with six points on two-of-11 shooting, along with a team-high 12 rebounds.
“I was very happy with the shots I got,” he said. “I got to my spots, I just didn’t finish them. Sometimes they don’t fall.”
5. The Lakers are still in last place in the Western Conference, better than just the Philadelphia 76ers (6-38).
The Lakers are 10 games behind the eighth-place Kings and just 3.5 in back of the 14th-place Minnesota Timberwolves (13-31).
Looking ahead to the 2016 NBA draft lottery, the Lakers would have a 55.8% chance of a top-three pick in next June’s draft. If the Lakers fall below third in the lottery, Philadelphia will get the team’s pick as part of the Steve Nash trade, via the Suns.
If the Lakers climb in the standings, their lottery odds for a top-three selection will dip to 46.9%.