A LeBron James-less Lakers team defeated the Sacramento Kings, 117-92, Tuesday night.
The Lakers eclipsed the .500 mark at 12-11 with the win — four days after falling to the Kings in a triple-overtime loss.
Fans rejoiced over the much-needed win, but the team had the greatest sense of relief after a not-so-glamorous week for LA.
From head coach Frank Vogel‘s hot seat talk to LeBron admitting to the difficulty of the new season, the Lakers faced a grim week ahead should the night not have gone their way.
Thankfully they survived; better yet, they dominated. Thanks to not only the stars of LA in Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, but role players Malik Monk and Dwight Howard becoming X-factors for the Lakers.
Davis and Westbrook combined for 48 points; meanwhile, Monk scored 22 points, added four rebounds and four assists. Veteran Carmelo Anthony added 14 points in 19 minutes.
Monk’s plus-33 and Howard’s plus-27 (12 points, 13 rebounds) helped elevate the group as Vogel showcased his aptitude with making the necessary adjustments in real time — a noted deficiency in his early-season progress report.
Howard stayed on the floor for 35 minutes, which may be a precursor to nabbing the Lakers’ starting center role moving forward.
Talen Horton-Tucker and DeAndre Jordan were the starters eclipsed by their backup players.
Since it’s still the LA fan base, and the ire had to go somewhere if not directed at Vogel, Horton-Tucker found himself in the critics’ crosshairs after the game. Horton-Tucker played 16 minutes on the night, 17 fewer than Monk.
THT has fallen out of grace with Lakers fans during an ongoing skid, averaging 11.9 points in an improved role — at least minutes-wise — and hitting only 37 percent of his shots this season.
Creeping into trade fodder talks, THT may still see his opportunity for redemption in the coming games, with LeBron set to miss “several” more contests per an exclusive TMZ report.
According to the details, LeBron tested positive for COVID-19 upon a third test administered hours before the game.
LeBron is fully vaccinated. He will likely miss the Clippers game on Friday and a matchup against the Celtics next Tuesday.
The All-Star forward missed the night due to entering health and safety protocols.
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