Lakers beat Sacramento for third win in last four games

The plan was for Marc Gasol to be ready; the Lakers would eventually need it. Eventually, it turned out that it was much shorter than planned.

After recent free-agent acquisition Andre Drummond lost a toenail on his debut Wednesday, Gasol had to warm up quickly and play in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ loss to Milwaukee.

“It’s hard to do, sitting there for three quarters without going in,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said before the game against Sacramento on Friday. “And then take your warm-ups and let go and get in there and play as good as him. That’s extremely difficult to do, so just a credit to his professionalism and what kind of player he is. “

With Drummond still out, Gasol started against the Kings, making two of four shots in the Lakers’ 115-94 victory. Gasol finished with five points, nine rebounds and six assists on Friday at Sacramento.

Even when the Lakers get Drummond back, which could be anytime, Vogel said it’s not like Gasol is totally absent from the rotation.

“He is one of our best players. So we’re not going to have the mindset that it’s definitely not going to go in there. If we need him to play, we’ll put him in there, ”Vogel said. “He has a skill set, whether it’s getting Rudy Gobert out of the basket or needing more size at the rim defensively, we’ll use it. And I intend to see him playing alongside Trezz. [Montrezl Harrell].

“So I really don’t see this as a situation where he will get out of the rotation in the long term. He knows it, and even if there are nights when he might not play, he’ll stay smart like he did the other night. “

Real tires

You have to look back to tell it apart, but there was a time when the Lakers were a dangerous team from the deep this season. In their first 16 games this season, the Lakers made at least 14 3-pointers seven times.

Between then and now, they’ve been the NBA’s best bricklayers (apologies to Plumlee in Detroit), sinking to the bottom of the league’s 3-point shooting standings.

But against the Kings, the Lakers warmed up and stayed there, hitting 15 3-pointers in the first three quarters while building a double-digit lead. Since those first 16 games, it’s only the third time the Lakers have managed 14 or more in one night.

Seven Lakers scored 3-pointers in the victory, the team’s third in its last four games. Kyle Kuzma hit four of seven triples on the way to 30 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Matthews neck hurts

Guard Wesley Matthews was on the Sacramento court, his forehead pressed to the ground and his hand on the back of his neck.

Highlights of the Lakers’ 115-94 victory over the Kings on Friday night in Sacramento.

One game after sustaining a neck injury, Matthews was cleared to compete against the Kings on Friday, but at the end of the first quarter, he landed awkwardly after a push to the basket, sliding backward, headfirst, into the basket. .

His head buckled as he hit the padded base, aggravating his neck pain and forcing him to roll onto his stomach, where he remained until Dennis Schroder helped him get to the locker room.

Matthews did not return to the game with a neck strain, the Lakers said the X-rays were negative.

Life in the seats

Both Vogel and Luke Walton know the difference between having fans at NBA games and not having them: Their teams were among the 10 left without paying members of the public attending their games.

And both were excited that they would soon see their own fans in their own arenas after new guidelines were issued from the state on Friday.

“When there are no fans, they are trying to pump the energy and noise there, which helps, but in stadiums that have fans, you can feel the difference,” Walton said. “You feel that momentum when the other team is in the race. You feel … there is life in the building. There is an advantage in that. “

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