Young Kings Topped in Tinseltown Thriller

It took an entire team effort for the Sacramento Kings to compete in Los Angeles on Friday night. Four Kings starters scored in double figures, but it wasn’t enough as they fell 98-94 to the Lakers.

Skal Labissiere led the way for Sacramento, finishing with 19 points, three rebounds and two blocks. Scoring on array of shots and a flurry of dunks, the 21-year-old big man posted an effective 8-of-13 from the field.

The difference in tonight’s contest, though, were free throws. The Lakers outpaced the Kings at the charity stripe, finishing 18-of-25 from the line while the Kings made just 10-of-13.

The game began in Sacramento’s favor. The Kings posted a stellar 60-percent shooting from the field along and dominated the boards, outrebounding the Lakers 15-6. By the end of the opening period, the Kings held a 12-point advantage.

However, the Lakers clawed their way back into contention in the second quarter, holding the Kings to a field-goal percentage below 40. As a result, the Kings scored only 14 points and led only by four going into halftime.

From there on out, the remainder of the game was an even contest. In the quarters after halftime, the Lakers outscored the Kings by just five points and both teams made 20 field goals.

In the waning moments of the contest, Sacramento had one last chance at victory. With five seconds remaining in the game, rookie Buddy Held committed a costly turnover on the in-bounds pass, ultimately allowing the Lakers to capture the victory.

In addition to Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein and Georgio Papagiannis put together solid evenings for the Kings front line. The second-year big man out of Kentucky finished with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting, seven rebounds and three blocks. Meanwhile, the Greek rookie finished with his second-career double double of his young career. Papagiannis grabbed 10 points and 10 rebounds off the Kings bench.

The Kings backcourt also proved to be key contributors in Sacramento’s third to last game of the season. Darren Collison dished out nine of his 10 assists in the first half and totaled 15 points. Hield had another positive night offensively, shooting 7-of-14 from the field and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc to score 17.

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