Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Friday preseason contest against Sacramento, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Nash, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Sacre
Kings: I. Thomas, M. Thornton, J. Johnson, T. Robinson, D. Cousins
6:45 We caught a good look at the smarts of Steve Nash midway through the first quarter, when he recognized that 5-9 Isaiah Thomas got caught guarding Kobe in transition, and immediately signaled Bryant to the block for a post up. Two free throws resulted, as L.A. trimmed a few points off SAC’s early lead.
0:00 Struggling to create good looks for the second straight preseason game, the Lakers made only 5 of 17 shots, allowing the Kings to take a 27-20 lead out of the first. Bryant scored nine of those points, while Gasol had two nice moves in the post, but the rest of the Lakers didn’t hit much.
4:50 After checking back in, the starters started to work a bit harder, with Nash hitting a left-handed hook (yup), Gasol a hook of his own, a World Peace triple and Gasol’s layup off Bryant’s feed to cut the lead to two at 38-36.
0:00 The Lakers kept it up in building a 43-41 lead on Bryant’s layup, but the Kings went on a 9-0 run from that point, capped by Francisco Garcia’s second three and a Cousins fastbreak dunk, with only an Ebanks three stopping the burst to make it 50-46 Kings. Kobe had 11 and Gasol 12, but L.A. committed 10 turnovers.
7:40 Sacramento pushed its lead to as many as 10 with some transition buckets – they were up 19-2 in fast break points – but back-to-back World Peace buckets inside, then a Bryant layup in transition off Nash’s feed, cut it back to four.
1:00L.A. trimmed what was a double-digit lead down to as few as three, but a pretty layup with two seconds left from Thomas made it 81-75 heading into the fourth. L.A.’s starters played the entire third quarter – with Jamison in for Sacre halfway through – but did lose the quarter by two, with transition D and turnovers the main culprit. Bryant and Gasol might argue that non-calls led to a few too many of those buckets, but the score remained the same.
6:00 The bench unit led by Steve Blake and Antawn Jamison did some nice things, but couldn’t quite get over the hump, missing multiple attempts that would have tied the game. Also showing positive signs was Devin Ebanks, who scored consecutive hoops to make it 88-85 Kings.
0:49.0 Ebanks continued his excellent individual play, hitting his fourth triple of the game and sixth of the preseason after not hitting a single bomb last season, but L.A. again couldn’t quite get over the hump. Again, it’s just tough to judge L.A. without Howard in the line up, but that could change in the next game. Sacramento held on to take a 103-98 result in Sin City, and will join the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday for a rematch. We’ll see you there.