LOS ANGELES – – LeBron James scored 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, Malik Monk added 11 of his 24 in the final seven minutes, and the Los Angeles Lakers fended off the Sacramento Kings 122-114 on Tuesday night for their fourth win in five games.
Talen Horton-Tucker scored 19 points for the Lakers, who caught up to a seven-point loss with one big basket after another from Monk and James. Monk scored six points from 3 points in another impressive offensive game, and Russell Westbrook added 19 points and shot a key late charge as the Lakers climbed back above 0.500.
Westbrook played 34 minutes in his first non-turnaround game since March 14, 2016. The Lakers only committed five total turnovers, allowing them to shoot 16 more shots than Sacramento.
“That’s the reason we won the game,” said James. “We didn’t return the ball tonight. When we get shots on goal we can be very dangerous. We weren’t shooting the ball well at all, (but) because we didn’t return the ball, we caught fire.
De’Aaron Fox had 30 points and Buddy Hield added 26 with seven to 3 points for the Kings, who scored 11 straight points early in the fourth quarter before weakening down the home stretch. Harrison Barnes had 14 points for Sacramento, who had won three straight wins against the Lakers in Los Angeles.
The Tyrese Haliburton jumper gave the Kings three minutes to play, but Monk’s 3-point shot and James’ layup put the Lakers back in the lead 114-110. Westbrook and James added layups as LA held on, scoring nine straight possessions on the home stretch.
“You have to give (James) credit,” Barnes said. “He did a few shots, but as a team we could have done a better job making him work for some of those shots. In this league, it is difficult to keep one on one, especially the big players.
Dwight Howard scored a high 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers, who have beaten a Pacific Division opponent at home for the first time in six tries this season.
Despite an unimpressive start, James extended a scorching streak that started before the holidays and included seven straight 30-point games before producing just 26 on Sunday against Minnesota. LA also got another boost from Monk, who has scored at least 15 points in six straight games.
“I always think I can do it for any team I’m on, and I’m ready for whatever happens,” said Monk. “We’re missing a few people, but even when they come back, I’ll still be ready and keep producing. “
Kings: Chimezie Metu, a USC product, entered NBA health and safety protocols earlier today, joining Richaun Holmes. Metu was one of the few Kings who didn’t go into protocols when Sacramento was at its lowest last month, and he hit the 3-pointer at the last second to beat Dallas last week. … G Terence Davis missed his fourth straight game with an ankle injury. … Holmes missed his second game in a row.
Lakers: Kendrick Nunn has yet to make his Los Angeles debut with a preseason bone bruise, but coach Frank Vogel said the mid-level exception signing works with Lakers coaches and was approaching a comeback. Although Nunn will miss at least half of the regular season unless he returns this week, Vogel said the third-year NBA pro will play “a lot of minutes” when he is healthy.
Kings caretaker coach Alvin Gentry was furious when officials were forced to call a jump ball after Monk missed a free throw with 24.8 seconds left and the game clock started to go. run before Fox hits the rebound. Sacramento was still led by five at the time, but the Kings lost the jump ball and any chance to come back.
Gentry was layman in his criticism of the rule, but stressed that he did not fault the officials for applying it: “The referees did what they were supposed to do. If there is anything that needs to be changed, it is the rule that needs to be changed. We haven’t started the clock. It was not our mistake. We were punished for a (stupid) rule “.
Avery Bradley scored seven points in his last game for the Lakers before they must decide whether to allow the goalie’s contract to be secured for the remainder of the season. The Lakers claimed Bradley on waivers when they were shorthanded in October, and he’s surprisingly been a regular on the rotation with 26 starts.
Kings: Host Atlanta Wednesday.
Lakers: Host Atlanta on Friday.