Sacramento Kings Finish Off Lakers 113-102, Ball and Fox Meet As Professionals
Rookies Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers, left, and De'Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings, right, were all smiles at Golden 1 Center. The Kings won 113-102. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey. Nov. 22, 2017.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. –The last time De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball met on a basketball court was last spring in the third-round of the NCAA Tournament’s South Region semifinals in Memphis, Tenn.
Both freshmen, Fox finished with 39 points for his Kentucky Wildcats while Ball had 10 points and eight assists for UCLA. Fox made history by being the first freshman to score the most points in an NCAA Tournament game.
Now the two are rookies in the NBA, Ball for the Los Angeles Lakers and Fox for the Kings. They met for the first time as professionals at Golden 1 Center. The Kings won 113-102 the day before Thanksgiving, but Ball clearly had the stat line down pack for this one.
Ball had 11 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists, and made 3 of 5 3-points shots in 37 minutes. Fox’s performance was not too bad, either. He had 13 points four rebounds, three assists, and one steal. He also had five turnovers. Ball had four.
When the buzzer sounded to end the game, the rookies made a great effort to find each other, hug each other, and smile together. They know there will be many more moments like their first meeting in NBA uniforms and that’s okay with them.
“It was a lot of fun playing against him. It's always fun,” Ball said following the game. “The crowd loves it and all the fans and stuff. So, it’s good for basketball. He played great tonight.”
Publicity Agents OpticalVision footage by T. Ray Harvey. Nov. 22, 2017.
Catching the Lakers on the second game of a back-to-back, the Kings played great from the beginning to the end. Willie Cauley-Stein came off the bench, again, for 26 points, five rebounds, and seven assists.
Zach Randolph had 22 points, seven rebound, seven assists, and three steals for the Kings (5-13). Bogdan Bogdanovic contributed 14 points, seven assists and two steals. The Kings have won four their last five home games. Of course, they want more.
“It’s great but it’s not the only one we want,” Fox said. “It’s great that we’re going to the next game with momentum. But we’ve got to keep that going.”
The Lakers (8-11) dropped this one, but they are doing a lot better than what the critics perceived this season would look like for the team. They came back from a 19-point deficit at home against the Chicago Bulls to pull out a 103-94 victory.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Lakers with 20 points, three assists, and four made shots beyond the arc. Kyle Kuzma added 17 points and Jordan Clarkson had 15 points off the bench. The Lakers don’t play again until Nov. 27.
“It’s tough to win on the road. I think we’re learning that,” said Lakers coach Luke Walton. “I thought our guys actually did a great job as far as being ready on a back-to-back. We just didn’t play with the same energy defensively.”
The Kings had a 15-point lead in the first quarter after Bogdanovic made a 3-point shot at the 1:15 mark. The Lakers made 9 of 19 shots in the second quarter at 47 percent, but the Kings led 54-41 at the break.
In the fourth quarter, the Kings kept up the onslaught. At the 6:39 mark, Bogdanovic made a 3-point shot to give the Kings a 98-79 gap, the Kings’ largest margin of the game. It was quite evident by now that the Lakers were feeling the effects a second game of a back-to-back.
“We just couldn't get over the hump,” said Lakers center Brook Lopez. Foul trouble limited Lopez to 17 minutes and four points. “I think we were down nine points about two or three times. A vast majority of the game. We didn't show up defensively.”
This game might as well been about Frank Mason III, too. The rookie from Kansas, who was drafted in the second round last summer. He came off the bench 11 points, seven assists, and five rebounds in 26 minutes.
De’Aaron Fox entered the Los Angeles Lakers game ranked ninth among rookies in points per game and third in assists. Fox is on the court less than Lonzo Ball (33.1 minutes per game) and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons. Both players are ahead of Fox in assists, too. Fox has led or tied for the lead in assists in nine games this season, including seven games with five or more assists and one with 10 dimes. The last Kings rookie to record 10 assists in a game was Ray McCallum during the 2013-2014 season.
Buddy Hield returned to the court after a two-game absence of dealing with a sprained ankle. He checked with 3:15 left in the first quarter.
Los Angeles Lakers:
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has scored at least 20 points in the last three games. A free-agent signing, he is averaging 17.3 points the last six games.
On The Marquee
Sacramento Kings: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 25.
Denver Nuggets: At home but, on the road to Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 27.
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
Twitter: Tony Ray Harvey @PublicityAgents
T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.