We believed in an upturn to last after their four consecutive victories but last night, the Lakers as after their previous meeting returned to defeat. For a team aspiring to the championship title at the end of the season, it’s an open secret that Los Angeles definitely can’t be consistent…
The movie of the evening
For this last match of the night of January 12 to 13, LeBron James’ teammates had started the game well, culminating in the entry into play of Stanley Johnson which will allow them to sign a 9-0 to win. escape (23-15). The other X factor is Malik Monk who will be imperial in shooting with a 100% success. Los Angeles will also have taken advantage of the dexterity of Austin Reaves to increase the gap to +12 (51-39) in the second quarter. The ball circulates wonderfully, there is enthusiasm, the lights are green and we say to ourselves that the visitors will run over their evening guests. Nay.
While the scorecard ostensibly shows a 14-point lead in favor of the Lakers, they will suddenly liquefy. In the space of a few minutes, they will collect a scathing 8-0 just before the break. Davion Mitchell brings defense and punch, and the Fox-Haliburton duo shears the Lakers defense in style. The trend is confirmed on the return from the locker room since the Kings start with a 5-0. We are on a 13-0 straddling the two halves, and this series turns into… 24-3!
On a »3-point » from Harrison Barnes, the Kings immediately sign a 15-0 and take a 13-point lead (92-79). On the other side, the »King » looks like a lamb. LeBron is clumsy, inefficient even at throws. Russell Westbrook him, we do not talk about it. The old Wizard is simply ghostly. No presence, a grip on the minimalist game if not non-existent, no initiative taken, no burst of pride. Nothingness. Only young people like Johnson, Monk or Reaves are at their best level but it doesn’t defend, it suffers and above all Sacramento plays damn well.
Towards the end of the last quarter, the thrust will be carried by Buddy Hield who with another 3 points will bring the score to 101 against 90. Thanks to Reaves, then the LeBron-Monk duo, the Lakers will believe in the hold -up and reduce the gap to two units with 90 seconds remaining (118-116). Alas! Things couldn’t end like this for Sacramento as they’re one step away from sending LA back to school. While the Lakers are on an 8-0, Fox but especially Chimezie Metu will deliver the coup de grace! Lebron and his peers will not return. The Kings will win 125-116.
The great lessons of the game,
The thorn if not the Westbrook ball: The matches follow and look alike for Russell Westbrook. 2 out of 14 on shots last night, but above all 8 out of 40 in the last three matches! It’s disgusting ! Unworthy statistics that would almost deserve the guillotine from a player of his level and especially from a former MVP. The »Brodie » clearly brings nothing to this team who nevertheless came to assist AD and Lebron as a driving force. At this pace, one is entitled to wonder if his days in Los Angeles are not numbered…
The Lakers break even at mid-season: 21 wins, 21 losses. This is the Lakers’ mid-season record. Information, this is LeBron James’ worst record since his rookie year! That is to say that the evil is deep and that the worm is wallowing in the fruit!
LeBron James: Certainly, LeBron signs yet another game with 30 points and more, the 11th in 12 games, and he gave it his all until the end without sparing himself. But… his 3 of 12 on 3-point shots and his 5 of 10 on free throws are a stain. In defence, he “rests” even if he tries to close gaps. We remain unsatisfied because we know he can do more and that the King had more to give in his bag. But at 37, unfortunately, he can’t be everywhere. Frustrated, he was the first to join the locker room.
The Fox-Haliburton tandem: It is a clever balance between speed and coolness, a more than parsimonious alloy between aggressiveness and vista and which gives the parquet an enthusiastic complementarity. Both took advantage of the Lakers’ defensive largesse to make the difference in the second half.
Austin Reaves. This is the real satisfaction of this meeting on the Lakers side. Carmelo Anthony injured, he was the joker coming off the bench and he brings enthusiasm and a touch of madness to the game. At the end of the match, he took risks, he came out of his shell, he did proof of nerve… The confidence he displayed maintained a suspense at many times which ultimately was nothing but window dressing…
Russell Westbrook: We’re not going to go after the man, but his performances are soporific. A decline in the game and even in the behavior that catches the eye and puts off to the limit. Since the start of the season, we have found excuses for him, but his 12 rebounds and 6 assists, or even his only stray ball, do not compensate for his clumsiness: 20% on shots for four games. Visually, he’s a free spirit, running around and getting rid of the ball at times when his teammates don’t necessarily expect it…
Defensively, RW was more than academic. Fox or Haliburton took the opportunity to take a health walk.