Kuzma’s season-high 30 points lead Lakers past Kings 115-94

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA (AP) — Kyle Kuzma scored 10 of his season-high 30 points in the fourth quarter and the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers thumped the Sacramento Kings 115-94 yesterday.

Dennis Schroder had 17 points and eight assists as the Lakers bounced back from a 15-point loss to Milwaukee two nights earlier. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Markieff Morris had 14 points and eight rebounds.

“Our guys really had a high level of attention to detail with executing the game plan against one of the hottest offences in the league,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

“Our guys just played with great tenacity and really just had a gem of a defensive performance tonight.”

Already without LeBron James, Anthony Davis and newly signed centre Andre Drummond, the Lakers lost reserve guard Wesley Matthews to injury in the first quarter.

It hardly mattered.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder scores a basket as he is defended by Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes. PHOTO: AP

Los Angeles led by 13 in the first and stayed comfortably in front the remainder of the game. After Kuzma made his fourth three-pointer early in the fourth, he converted a three-point play to make it 106-82. “This was probably our best game with all those guys out, from the standpoint of playing the right way and doing it for 48 minutes,” Kuzma said.

“Defensively, holding a team under 100 is what you want to do every time out. And we made shots. Those were the factors.”

Harrison Barnes had 26 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Kings. De’Aaron Fox, recently selected Western Conference player of the week, scored 12 points on five-of-20 shooting.

Sacramento has lost its last two after winning a season-best five straight.

“We have to do other things better and that starts with the intensity and physicality that we play with,” coach Luke Walton said. “That was a team that had been struggling to score, struggling to shoot and they got into a rhythm. It felt like they were pushing us around tonight.”

Meanwhile, Marc Gasol was asked about his future with the Lakers, five days after the team signed Drummond. Gasol, who had five points, six assists and nine rebounds in 28 minutes, has started 39 of the 40 games he’s played in this season but will be back on the bench when Drummond returns from a toe injury.

“It’s a hard pill to swallow because I know I’m going to be out of the lineup at some point,” Gasol said. “You’re not Plan A right now. You’re Plan C, D. You have to accept it because that’s your job, but it’s not easy. You have to adapt. You either take it as a challenge or you move on.”

Vogel spoke with Gasol about the move and said he remains key to the Lakers’ success.

“People need to understand how good a player Marc Gasol is and how valuable he is to what we’re doing,” Vogel said.

“He’s going to help us win a championship this year. That’s the plan, that’s the vision. Additions of good players change guys’ roles and it usually works out. I would say the same thing about this situation.”