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What we learned as Kings hold off Lakers in nail-biter

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SACRAMENTO -- Even without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers are still a veteran squad that teams have to take seriously. They showed that Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center.

The trio of Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder took turns tormenting the Kings. All three finished the night with 25 points or more, but it wasn’t enough.

In desperate need of a win, the Kings came up with a big stop late and Harrison Barnes knocked down a pair of free throws in the final seconds to help Sacramento squeak out a 123-120 victory.  

Here are three takeaways as the Kings move to 14-21. 

Mamba Mentality

Buddy Hield is a huge fan of the late-great Kobe Bryant and he plays with a little extra pop when the Kings face the Lakers. The 3-point bomber caught fire in the second quarter and helped rally the Kings right back into the game.

Hield finished the first half with 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from long range. He even had a few crafty moves to the rim.

This was a second big scoring game for Hield. After dropping 30 points in the Kings’ loss to the Hornets on Sunday, he followed it up with 29 points, six assists and six rebounds in the win against LA. If he can find his game, the second half of the season might become a little more interesting. 

Holmes vs. Harrell

Richaun Holmes and Montrezl Harrell are two of the better pick-and-roll bigs in the NBA. They both play with force and don’t mind running over a few people on their way to the rack.

 

Harrell was impressive, ripping through the Kings’ defense for 26 points on 13-for-20 shooting. He chipped in 11 rebounds and was impactful off the Lakers bench, although he missed a game winner in the final seconds of the game.

Holmes put up solid numbers as well, finishing the game with 16 points, nine rebounds and a block 30 minutes. 

CoJo plays well

Cory Joseph isn’t having a great stretch with the Kings. In his previous six games coming into Wednesday, the veteran point guard was averaging just 2.2 points on 17.4 percent shooting from the field in 21 minutes per game off the Kings bench. 

He didn’t blow up, but he was solid on both ends of the floor and played with really nice energy. This performance was more similar to the player the Kings had become accustomed to last season. 

Joseph finished the game with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including three makes from long range. He had missed his previous ten 3-point attempts coming into the night.