With 1:31 remaining in the first half, the Lakers held a 13-point lead over the Sacramento Kings, 55-42. Thirty seconds later, after a couple of traded baskets, the Lakers were up by 12 points, 57-45. Yet, just one minute later, the Lakers’ lead was down to only four points, 60-56 at halftime. Sacramento closed the quarter on a 14-5 run — in 90 seconds.
Flash-forward to the 2:13 mark of the fourth quarter: a Russell Westbrook 3-pointer gave the Lakers a 114-112 lead. It appeared to potentially be the go-ahead basket that would propel the 2-9 Lakers to a much-needed victory without LeBron James, who missed the game after suffering a groin injury in Wednesday’s loss to the Clippers.
Instead, those were the Lakers’ final points of the game. The Kings closed the game on a De’Aaron Fox-led 8-0 run, defeating the Lakers, 120-114, at Crypto.com Arena on Friday night.
“The way we’re playing, our record, we damn near have to play perfect basketball (to win),” said Anthony Davis, who woke up with a 102-degree fever but pushed through it for 24 points, 14 rebounds, two steals and three blocks.
The Lakers lost their fifth consecutive game for the second time this season. Their 2-10 record matches the 1957-58 and 2015-16 seasons for the worst start in franchise history. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they’re also tied with the Houston Rockets for the worst record in the NBA.
It’s as if the Lakers’ nightmare 2021-22 season never ended.
Things were supposed to be different this season. A new coaching staff. A better supporting cast. Russell Westbrook finally coming off the bench — and eventually being traded.
But things have not only picked up where they left off, they’ve gotten worse. Last season, the Lakers weren’t eight games below .500 until March 3, when they were 27-35 at the 62-game mark. This season, it only took them 12 games.
Laker games have followed a predictable script this season: The team gets off to a slow start in the first quarter. A bench-led comeback gives them some momentum going into halftime. The third quarter is a disaster. And then, they rally to make things interesting in the fourth quarter, only to fail to execute down the stretch on one or both ends of the floor. Rinse and repeat. Another L.