In their Wednesday night showdown against the Sacramento Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers found themselves facing an uphill battle, trailing by a staggering 24 points as the third quarter came to a close. Normally, such a deficit would lead most teams to throw in the white flag, a decision further fueled by the Lakers’ aging roster and a string of injuries.
As the fourth quarter began, head coach Darvin Ham made a surprising move, benching LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and D’Angelo Russell in favor of the reserves. It seemed like a concession to the Kings’ dominance, but Ham had a different plan in mind.
- The Lakers trailed by 24 points going into the fourth quarter.
- Coach Darvin Ham benched his star players initially but later put them back in.
- The Lakers managed to outscore the Kings by 9 points in the fourth quarter.
In a bold move, Ham reinserted LeBron, Davis, and Russell, along with Austin Reaves, into the game, hoping to spark a comeback. While Ham received some criticism for the decision, the Lakers managed to outscore the Kings by 9 points during the final quarter, cutting the deficit to as little as 9 with just 2 minutes remaining. This late-game surge demonstrated that perhaps Ham’s gamble was not entirely without merit.
Davis defended the decision, highlighting the Lakers’ offensive firepower, with players like Reaves and Russell capable of catching fire at any moment. Reaves, a career 36% three-point shooter on 3.2 attempts, and Russell, who has connected on 36.2% of his 6.9 three-point attempts, possess the potential to turn the tide in the Lakers’ favor.
The Kings, known for their reliance on the three-point shot and their porous defense, have been prone to cold streaks that can cost them games, as seen in last year’s postseason. This vulnerability added weight to Ham’s decision to give his star players another chance.
While Ham’s choice to reinsert the starters proved valid in the end, the real issue lies in the Lakers’ precarious position that necessitated such a discussion in the first place. The team’s inconsistency and vulnerability have raised questions about their ability to compete at a high level, despite their star-studded lineup.
In conclusion, the Lakers’ late rally ultimately fell short in their 125-110 loss to the Kings. Coach Darvin Ham’s decision to reinsert the starters provided a glimmer of hope, but it highlighted the team’s ongoing struggles that need to be addressed moving forward.