Jodie Meeks and Pau Gasol scored a team-high 19 points as they led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 106-100 victory over the Kings Friday night in Sacramento
“We have had different guys that have stepped up for us this season,” Mike D’Antoni told Time Warner Cable Sports Net’s John Ireland.
The defense really stepped up in the final quarter after L.A. trailed, 87-81, entering the final quarter. The Kings scored just 13 points on 3-for-16 shooting in the fourth. Jordan Hill had blocks on back-to-back plays and the Lakers had five of their seven blocks in the quarter as the defense tightened up. L.A. also swiped 10 steals.
Nick Young added 14 points off the bench, Steve Blake chipped in with 13 points and 10 assists, Wesley Johnson scored 13 points and led a strong defensive effort with five steals, Robert Sacre added 11 points in his first start of the season and Hill had seven points and nine rebounds off the bench.
The Lakers made 37.5% (12 of 32) 3-pointers and Meeks converted on five of seven outside shots.
Kobe Bryant is expected to make his much anticipated return this season on Sunday against Toronto after being out for nine months with an Achilles injury.
“We are getting these young guys some experience and chances to show what they can do this season,” D’Antoni said when asked how Bryant’s absence has impacted the team.
DeMarcus Cousins and rookie Ben McLemore scored 20 points each for Sacramento. Cousins also added 11 rebounds, four assists and steals while McLemore contributed six rebounds and two steals.
Darren Jacks is a regular contributor to OneManFastBreak.net. Follow him on Twitter @djroxalot.