The Lebron-less LA Lakers entered the fourth quarter beating the Kings by 11, and until the clock read 00.00, the Lakers were winning. Kyle Kuzma was the Laker who stepped up in place of LeBron, dropping 33 points on 24 shots. The 24 shot attempts was Kuzma’s highest output all season, no doubt due to the fact that LeBron was not playing tonight.
LeBron is expected to miss the next 4-8 games, leaving it up to the young core of last year's Laker team to retake the reigns of this team. Brandon Ingram is part of that young core, and will have to improve on his 15 point average that he has sustained so far this season. Ingram dropped 22 in the loss on Thursday, giving him his highest point total in the month of December.
The Sacramento Kings picked up another win Thursday, placing them 8th in the West. The Kings high scorer for the night was guard Bogdan Bogdanovic who had 23 points in 30 minutes off the bench. Bogdanovic hit a three as time expired, beating the Lakers by one. A number of players contributed double digits for the Kings, including Iman Shumpert (18 Points), Willie Cauley-Stein (19 Points), and De'Aaron Fox (15 Points). This score via committee has worked so far with the Sacramento team, giving them consistent output without relying on one player too much. The young talent in Sacramento is looking like it is developing sooner than many expected.
The Lakers will have a chance to bounce back on Friday as they play a home away from home game against the Clippers, with the Clips considered the home team. LeBron will miss this game as well, giving Ingram, Lonzo, and others the opportunity to take advantage of the higher volume of touches and shot attempts that will be in each game without LeBron.
The Kings next game is a rematch against the Lakers on the 30th of December in LA. The Kings have started impressively this year, and will be a interesting team when the playoff race inevitably tightens.