Los Angeles Lakers Vice President of player personnel Jim Buss may believe that his team can contend for an NBA Title; however after two games in the regular season they have shown no indications that they are capable of such a task. Granted they are playing without starting center Andrew Bynum who is serving a four game suspension imposed on him by the Association; however Bynum has gotten hurt every season and this will be the team that goes on the floor when he cannot be out there. The Lakers could take solace in the fact that they were defeated on Sunday by one of the elite clubs in the NBA as the Chicago Bulls topped them at the Staples Center 88-87.
They could not maintain that same level of comfort getting defeated by the Sacramento Kings; a club that has been in the Lottery the last few years. Never the less that was the case on Tuesday as the Kings crowned the Lakers by a final of 100-91 at the Power Balance Pavilion. Marcus Thornton led the way for the squad scoring 27 points to give Sacramento a victory at home to start off the season while Tyreke Evans added 20 more for the night.
Kobe Bryant did all that he could do for Los Angeles as he scored 29 points; but he had far too little support from his teammates. His team would fall behind in the second and except for threateningly briefly in the final period were never really a factor in the contest. Metta World Peace came off the bench to lead the second unit with 19 points in the loss.
The contest started out competitively and would remain that way throughout the opening period of action. Thornton drove the lane putting the ball up and in with three seconds to play and the Kings had a razor-thin 21-20 advantage at the conclusion of the quarter. The game would be tight with 2:02 remaining in the second as Pau Gasol hit a shot six feet from the basket bringing his team within two at 42-40. However, Sacramento would proceed to end the period scoring the last seven points and as the game reached the half the home team was on top 49-40.
Los Angeles would never get closer than being five points down during the third and they would fall behind by double-digits at the end of the period as they trailed 78-64. With 3:48 left in the contest Gasol drained a mid-range jumper getting the Lakers to within three at 92-89. They would not score again until Devin Ebanks laid the ball up and in with five seconds to play.
Thornton knocked down 27 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal while Evans had 20 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and a block. Veteran John Salmons back in a Kings uniform added 13 points and 3 rebounds while DeMarcus Cousins recorded a double-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds a block and a steal.
Bryant scored 29 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Peace came off the bench with 19 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, a block and a steal while Gasol added 15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. The Kings go to the Great Northwest on Tuesday as they face the Portland Trail Blazers while the Lakers play their third straight game still looking for their first win; host the Utah Jazz on Tuesday.