Everything was going right for the Kings Sunday at Staples Center and then the wheels fell off the bus. Sacramento crumbled down the stretch and the Lakers took advantage, pulling away for a 121-114 victory over the Kings.
It wasn't the typical locker room after the game. The players knew they let one get away and they hope it doesn't come back to haunt them later in the season.
Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram gave the Kings fits and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope came in off the bench to score a team-high 26 for Luke Walton's squad.
Sacramento currently stands at 19-17 on the season. Here are a few positives and negatives from the team's tough loss the Lakers.
The Big Three
Coach Dave Joerger came into the season not really knowing who and what he could rely on when it came to his young squad. 36 games into the season and the Kings' coach can pencil in the production from De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic.
The trio were very good in Los Angeles, combining to score 68 of the team's 114 points. Fox is the slasher, Hield is the pure shooter and Bogdanovic is the creator. They form a very versatile three guard set and when they are all firing at the same time, the Kings are difficult to contend with.
The Kings love to run and gun and sometimes they forget that there are two ends of the court. They can win a lot of shootouts with all of their offensive firepower, but it usually requires a stretch of stops at crucial moments of the game.
Sacramento didn't have that stretch against the Lakers. Los Angeles has plenty of long athletes that create matchup issues with the Kings, but that is no excuse for the open runs at the rim.
Without a natural shotblocker, the Kings players have to do a better job as individuals of staying in front of their man and they need to rotate quicker to cut off the drive.
This isn't a one time thing for the Kings and they focused on a lot of these issues during Sunday's practice. Players need to improve on the defensive side of the ball, especially if the team has any hopes of sticking around in the playoff hunt.
Ben McLemore Sighting
Kings fans know McLemore well from his first tour of duty with the team, but they haven't seen much of him this season after he was acquired over the summer for Garrett Temple.
Against the Lakers, the former lottery pick got an early call and held his own for Sacramento. His numbers aren't gaudy, but he played solid defense against much bigger players. He also ran the floor and he even hit a 3-pointer.
The six-year NBA veteran finished the night with five points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal in 16 minutes. He also picked up five fouls and ran a plus three in the plus/minus column.
McLemore needs to take advantage of every situation. He's a free agent over the summer and at age 25, there should be plenty of basketball left in him.
Everything was going the Kings' way. They were marching towards their 20th win of the season and feeling good about themselves. And then the shots stopped falling.
You could point fingers at individuals, but in reality, every player that stepped on the court in the fourth quarter missed at least two shots. As a team, the Kings shot just 33.3 percent in the quarter and the final five minutes were brutal.
Sacramento's default setting is to run the floor and shoot plenty of 3-point shots. When things go sideways, they still lack the ability rely on one specific player to get a basket when they need it.
It's part of the learn process, but the Kings were outscored 18-4 over the final five minutes. The four points came on a pair of layups. The team shot 1-of-10 from long range in the fourth, including five straight misses in the Lakers late run.