Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction

The Kings lead the Lakers 26-23 after one. Darren Collison has eight points to lead all scorers.

Be sure to keep it right here as Bleacher Report provides you with live coverage throughout the game.

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Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers 12/19/14: Video Highlights, Recap

The Oklahoma City Thunder looked to bounce back from a tough loss their last time out when they took on the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

The Thunder saw their seven-game win streak snapped on Thursday night and faced a Lakers squad who had their three-game win streak snapped in their last contest.

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Which Los Angeles Lakers Have a Legitimate Future with the Team?

The Los Angeles Lakers can’t win for losing.

No sentiment seems more appropriate for this talent-deprived team that runs the risk of losing a top-five NBA lottery draft pick next June if it ekes out too many wins during the regular season.

At 8-18, that’s just where the Lakers stand during another record-setting, gosh-awful season.

What’s a coach and his players to do? For a small handful of Lakers who may have a legitimate future with the team, the answer is simple: Play hard and play to win every night. Your job depends on it.

If it was left up to Magic Johnson, the Lakers would purposely lose every game to ensure they obtain a coveted lottery draft selection next June. Johnson told Neil Best of Newsday:

If you’re going to lose, you have to lose, because you can’t be in the middle of the pack. You either have to be great or you have to be bad, to get a good [draft] pick.

Unfortunately, Magic has no role in how the team performs. And players aren’t going to take the court in order to tank games—it’s just not their nature.

So this year’s Lakers team follows a pattern of of mediocrity that seems to keep it just good enough to eventually miss out on gaining that top-five draft pick. There’s still plenty of season left for L.A. to sneak into the bottom five or even three, which made its one-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night such a nail-biter.

What’s obvious is that the Lakers lack talent and depth. And the only way to get more of each is through the draft, trades and free-agent signings.

Regardless of how they go about getting better, the current Lakers who seek job stability with the purple-and-gold can only control what they do and how they perform.

The current number of Lakers with a legitimate shot at sticking around is small. The club will probably turn over at least half of its roster before next season, which means everyone, save for Kobe Bryant, lacks job security.

By the time Bryant’s contract ends in 2016, the Lakers most likely will look a lot different than they do today. A few players stand a good chance of being part of that future core group.

 

Julius Randle

If there is one sure thing, it would have to be retaining the 20-year-old power forward from Kentucky who broke his leg after playing just 14 minutes this season.

Randle is off crutches and back in the gym as he rehabilitates for next year. Based on his NBA Summer League play and training camp, Lakers management expects the 6’9” stretch power forward to be a prominent force for years to come.

And Randle can’t wait to get back, per the Los Angeles Times.

You miss the competitive atmosphere, going to war with your teammate. It’s a brotherhood out there, and it’s tough to just sit back and watch, but I’m learning a lot throughout all of this.

Randle is one of the key building blocks for the Lakers’ future. That’s a lot to put on a kid so young, but he seems up to the task and will just get better with time.

 

Nick Young

Swaggy P was the only Laker given a long-term contract in the offseason. He eagerly signed it, even though he might have received more had he gone elsewhere, per the Los Angeles Daily News.

Young finished tied for eighth in the voting last season for the Sixth Man of the Year Award. And though he missed the first six weeks of this season due to a thumb injury, Young has to be considered one of the league’s front-runners to win the award this year.

In 16 games, all coming off the bench, Young is averaging 14.9 points and shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc. He’s hit some big shots, including a low-percentage three-pointer over Manu Ginobili that helped the Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs in overtime on the road.

Young had six three-pointers in that win over the Spurs and finished with 29 points in just 25 minutes.

Bryant has had nothing but praise for Young since welcoming him back to the lineup, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News

You got a player who can get buckets and create. He does wonders. Nick is a phenomenal talent. He has a pull-up jump shot and is creating mismatches. I’m very happy to have him back.

At 29 years old, Young would seem to have a bright future in Los Angeles. He brings energy, excitement, scoring and personality both on and off the court—sounds like a Lakers leader.

 

Jordan Hill

If he doesn’t get traded first, Jordan Hill could be a fixture at power forward and center for L.A. the next few years.

After hearing that the Lakers had no interest in shopping Hill, rumors circulated last week (via USA Today) that L.A. offered Hill and a first-round draft pick to the Boston Celtics for Rajon Rondo. But that was nixed in Boston, and Rondo ended up with the Dallas Mavericks.

Starting all 26 games at center for the Lakers, the 6’10″, 235-pound Hill is averaging close to 30 minutes a game—a career high. Thirteen points and eight rebounds are also high-water marks for the 27-year-old, sixth-year veteran.

The Lakers have the option on Hill’s $9 million contract for next season, and The Sporting News recently reported that they had no desire to trade him now. Thanks to a better diet and training, Hill is playing the best basketball of his career:

With D’Antoni, it was hard for me to find the minutes. He wanted me to do the things he wanted me to do to get the minutes. I couldn’t really do what I wanted to do, to play the way I know I could play. So, things happened and now it’s a whole new year. Now, I am one of the main focal points of the team, so I can go out there and do what I am capable of doing.

 

Jordan Clarkson

He may be on the rookie shuttle between the NBA and the D-League, but Clarkson has a bright future with the Lakers if they have the patience to let him develop.

The 22-year-old, 6’5” rookie guard from Missouri was splendid during the Summer League, averaging close to 16 points and a team-leading five rebounds per game.

Clarkson is the third option at point guard this season behind Jeremy Lin and Ronnie Price, making it hard for the rookie to see playing time. Make no mistake, though—management likes this kid.

Clarkson averaged 17.5 points at Mizzou but wasn’t drafted till the second round as the 46th pick, after the Lakers paid the Washington Wizards for the right to pick him.

Shuttling between the Lakers and the D-League D-fenders, Clarkson is in his NBA infancy. He displayed some of what the future holds during Summer League but is averaging just 11 minutes and 4.5 points at the NBA level. He has impressed the Black Mamba (via Los Angeles Daily News):

I like him. He’s a hard worker and a curious player. He tries to pick things apart and tries to learn and absorb as much as he can.

Bryant calls him “a steal of a pick.”

Clarkson as a point guard is a work-in-progress. But he is a natural at driving to the basket, and he’s not afraid of being physical. He has a developing mid-range game and, given more playing time, will eventually turn into the kind of player who might average 15 points, five rebounds and five assists a game.

 

Others

Wesley Johnson and Ed Davis are both on the bubble in terms of their future with the Lakers. The 6’7″ Johnson has improved his defense immeasurably, and that is where he’ll probably make his biggest mark.

Likewise, the 6’10″ Davis excels at the defensive end of the floor but is also a sure bet to score close to the basket. Davis scored 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting in 32 minutes of the Lakers’ one-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. For the season, he is making 63 percent of his shots.

Davis is 25, while Johnson is 27. They are good role players who would fit in nicely with a future Lakers team that may include high draft picks and top free-agent signings.

Kobe Bryant’s future with the Lakers is obviously going to be short-lived. He’ll either retire after next  season or continue for another year or two if he sees a championship team being built.

Bryant has often looked tired and is shooting just 38 percent, the worst of his 19-year career. The 36-year-old is playing 35.4 minutes per game, which is about five minutes too many.

The way Bryant is being used by coach Byron Scott may heavily contribute to what sort of future, if any, he will have with the Lakers. Unless Scott manages his minutes better, the future for Bryant could end before his contract does.

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Should Lakers let Bryant take game-winning shots?

The case against letting Kobe take the final shot.

      
 

 

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Thunder hold off Lakers without Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant rested a sprained ankle, but the Thunder won their eighth in nine games.

      
 

 

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Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Postgame Grades and Analysis

With Kevin Durant out, Russell Westbrook once again proved capable of carrying the load in a 104-103 win for the Oklahoma City Thunder over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Westbrook dominated the game offensively, scoring 31 points on 9-of-22 shooting and dishing out a game-high 10 assists. Every time the Lakers drew close, Westbrook was there with a much-needed score.

Opposite Westbrook was Kobe Bryant, who struggled mightily with his shot in a 3-of-15 performance that included a missed jumper that would’ve won the game.

He impacted the game in other ways, though, nearly notching a triple-double with nine points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

 

Oklahoma City Thunder

Russell Westbrook: A

Westbrook has been tantamount to a one-man wrecking crew this season, doing anything and everything OKC needs. That’s been especially true in the games Kevin Durant has missed.

Durant was out Friday with an ankle injury, opening the door for Westbrook to carry the offense himself. The explosive guard finished the game with 31 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and a crucial jumper late in the fourth quarter.

 

Serge Ibaka: B-

Serge Ibaka had an inefficient game offensively, taking 17 shots to get his 16 points. He settled for a few too many jumpers and his percentage suffered because of it.

It was a different story on the other end, though. He was aggressive defensively and on the boards, leading to seven rebounds and five blocks.

 

Reggie Jackson: A-

Reggie Jackson combined with Westbrook to form a terrifying duo for which the Lakers had no answers. No one could stay in front of Jackson, as he shot 9-of-15 from the field for 25 points.

On defense, he wasn’t quite as spectacular, struggling to contain Jeremy Lin’s drives or force Wayne Ellington off the three-point line.

 

Steven Adams: B-

As always, Steven Adams pestered the opposition, playing a physical brand of defense and relentlessly attacking the boards on both ends.

He finished with 10 rebounds and nine points but raw box scores don’t always measure his impact. It’s often the way he clogs the paint or just generally frustrates the opposition that makes him valuable.

 

Rest of Team: C-

The only other contributor who did much for the Thunder was Andre Roberson, who scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting. He nailed two threes, doubling his season total.

Perry Jones was the fifth starter, but scored zero points on 0-of-2 shooting in just 12 minutes.

After that, there really wasn’t any production off the bench, which highlighted a problem that could plague the Thunder throughout the year.

 

Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant: C-

Bryant looked fatigued from pretty much the opening tip, holding his head down after bad possessions and often not even trying to get back defensively.

On offense, he clearly lacked the lift he typically gets on his jumpers, as most of his shots came up short. That was painfully clear on the potential game-winner he missed as time expired.

Bryant made up for his struggles to some extent by doing a good job of distributing the ball. He was hunting for his shot less than he usually does on the way to his eight assists.

 

Ed Davis: A

Byron Scott moved Ed Davis into the starting lineup over Carlos Boozer for defensive purposes. Friday, it looked like the move may have been for Davis’ offense.

He was active around the rim, finishing when teammates set him up or off of offensive rebounds. His touch inside helped him score 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting, and his hustle led to nine rebounds and two blocks.

 

Nick Young: D+

Nick Young has been the Lakers’ spark off the bench for most of the season, but he did it with something other than points against the Thunder.

During the second half, he took exception to what appeared to be a clean screen by Steven Adams and threw an elbow to Adams’ throat. The move got him tossed from the game, but it apparently fired up his teammates, as they immediately went on a run.

He wound up with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting in just 13 minutes.

 

Ronnie Price: B

Ronnie Price made his way into the starting lineup at the same time as Davis, and for the same reasons. And like Davis, it was his offense that stood out against the Thunder.

He scored 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, doing all of his damage in the first quarter. He stayed quiet the rest of the game, but his barrage to start the game helped set the tone early.

 

Rest of Team: B

The Lakers got some great contributions off the bench from former starters Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer.

The former looked confident on his drives, creating scoring opportunities for both himself and his teammates. He finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Boozer, meanwhile, got going late and scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds.

Jordan Hill also reached double figures, scoring 10 points in just 21 minutes.

 

Coming Up Next

The Lakers’ next game will be on the road, against the Sacramento Kings, Sunday at 6 p.m. ET. The Thunder will get the New Orleans Pelicans at home, Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.

 

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him @AndrewDBailey.

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Thunder hold off Kobe’s Lakers 104-103 without KD (Yahoo Sports)

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 19: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives against the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES Center on December 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Although Russell Westbrook grew up watching Kobe Bryant sink innumerable enormous shots for the Lakers, the Los Angeles native didn’t worry when No. 24 had the ball with the game on the line against his Oklahoma City Thunder.


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Thunder vs. Lakers: Score and Twitter Reaction from 2014 Regular Season

The Oklahoma City Thunder held on late for a 104-103 over the Los Angeles Lakers inside the Staples Center on Friday night.

Hounded by the Thunder’s Andre Roberson, Kobe Bryant couldn’t get a clean in the final seconds, and his shot hit the front iron and bounced out.

Baxter Holmes of ESPN provided comments from Jeremy Lin, who spoke about the shot after the game:

Pro Basketball Talk’s Kurt Helin questioned whether Kobe should’ve gotten the final shot considering his off night:

Bryant struggled from start to finish, going 3-of-15 from the field for nine points. He did, however, add eight rebounds and eight assists.

Nick Young also failed to find a groove. While he knocked down four of his eight shots, scoring 10 points against the Thunder won’t cut it most of the time. More importantly, Young wasn’t on the court for most of the fourth quarter after getting ejected for a flagrant-2 foul. 

On the other side, Russell Westbrook missed 13 field-goal attempts but still managed to score 31 points, dish out 10 assists and grab five boards. He had to do most of the heavy lifting with Kevin Durant out. According to ESPN Stats & Info, only LeBron James and Stephen Curry have more 30-point, 10-assist games:

Reggie Jackson did well to help fill the Durant void, scoring 25 points off the bench.

The big question coming into the game was whether the Thunder would be without Durant. The 2014 MVP injured his right ankle Thursday in the first half against the Golden State Warriors and didn’t appear at all in the second half.

Durant injured the same foot he fractured a few months ago, which caused him to miss the first 17 games of this season.

ESPN.com’s Royce Young reported that Durant would miss the Lakers game and get the ankle looked at again on Saturday:

“I was a little nervous,” Durant said following the 114-109 defeat to the Warriors, per Young. “But I knew when I got up and started walking it felt good. So I just wanted to make sure with the X-rays everything was good.”

Between Durant’s absence and being on a the second half of a back-to-back, Oklahoma City labored early in the game. The Lakers jumped out to a 17-7 lead a little over five-and-a-half minutes into the game after a three-pointer by Ronnie Price.

Price provided a major spark in the first quarter and was a big reason the Lakers held a 26-20 lead heading into the second. He nailed four three-pointers and scored 14 points, four below his career high, per Mike Trudell of Lakers.com:

Offensively, Oklahoma City looked sluggish. The Lakers entered the game with the worst defensive rating in the league. Even without Durant, the Thunder only scoring 20 points in the first quarter was surprising.

Helin felt OKC needed to be more aggressive in the paint:

In the second quarter, the Thunder began finding their footing, in large part because Westbrook kept getting to the foul line. By halftime, the All-Star point guard attempted and made 13 free throws, scoring 21 points and dishing out five dimes.

While anybody can tell you Oklahoma City is better with Westbrook on the floor, ESPN Stats & Info provided the extent to which the Thunder were better with him in the first half:

Jackson also chipped in, recovering well from his 2-of-8 shooting night against the Warriors on Thursday. He was 5-of-9 from the floor in the first two quarters for 12 points.

Meanwhile, Price completely cooled off from his hot start, failing to score a single point in the second quarter. Bryant also failed to make much of an impact, going 1-of-6 for five points. The Thunder made sure to smother Kobe at every available opportunity:

Oklahoma City grabbed its first lead, 50-48, after a bucket by Serge Ibaka with 40 seconds left in the half. The Thunder led 52-50 heading into the locker room.

OKC added to the lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Lakers 30-23. Anthony Morrow nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer, capping off a solid 12 minutes for the Thunder and giving them an 82-73 edge heading into the final frame.

As if overcoming a nine-point deficit wasn’t tough enough for Los Angeles, Young was ejected 37 seconds into the quarter after earning a flagrant-2 foul for using his forearm/elbow to Steven Adams’ throat.

The Lakers, however, fought back, taking a 91-88 lead with 7:13 to go following a three from Wayne Ellington.

The two teams exchanged the lead for the majority of the final five minutes. Neither side could enjoy a long spell before going back down again.

An off-the-ball foul by Carlos Boozer on Jackson sent the Thunder guard to the foul line with the Lakers clinging to a 101-100 lead in the final 65 seconds. Jackson knocked down both free throws to again put the Thunder on top. Westbrook followed with a jumper to make it a three-point game, 104-101, with 38 seconds to go.

Everybody knew Bryant would get the ball on Los Angeles’ final possession, and Roberson did extremely well to hang with him and prevent him from getting a wide-open look. 

Oklahoma City gets a much-needed day off on Saturday before heading home. The Thunder play the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday and then welcome in the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday.

The Lakers take Saturday off before hitting the road and heading north to play the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.

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Report: Lakers offered Nash, draft picks for Rondo

It reportedly will take a rather hefty offer to convince the Boston Celtics to part ways with Rajon Rondo. This one probably won’t get the job done.
The Los Angeles Lakers have offered the Celtics a package of point guard Steve Nash and “multiple draft picks” in exchange for Rondo, sources told ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne on Thursday.
Rondo obviously would help the flailing Lakers, but that return is … less than favorable, to say the least. Nash is basically retired — he’s 40 and hasn’t played all season — and L.A.’s upcoming crop of draft picks isn’t a particularly appealing one.
The Dallas Mavericks appeared to be the front-runners in the Rondo sweepstakes as of Thursday afternoon.
Thumbnail photo via Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
Filed under: Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Top Stories, Zack Cox

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Celtics talk Rondo trade with Mavs, Lakers, others

The Mavericks, Rockets, Kings, Lakers and Pacers have all spoken to the Celtics.

      
 

 

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