Kings hope to curb LeBron James, Lakers

LeBron James returned with a rematch after serving an exclusion on one match. The Sacramento Kings can only hope that the “King” has calmed down.

James will look to follow up on a big effort when the Los Angeles Lakers visit Sacramento on Friday night.

James scored the season’s best 39 points and matched his season high of five 3-pointers Wednesday in Los Angeles’ 124-116 overtime victory over the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis.

The big outcome came after James served a one-match exclusion for punching the Detroit Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart in the face with his fist on Sunday.

Although the incident caused Stewart to bleed profusely thanks to a large tear on his face, James maintains that it was unintentional.

After serving his suspension Tuesday against the New York Knicks, James was ready to deliver against the Pacers. He scored eight points in overtime, including back-to-back 3-pointers that put Los Angeles ahead forever.

“I was excited to be in line,” James said. “I did not play (Tuesday) night the (first) night in a back-to-back, I knew I could give our guys a boost of energy with me (on Wednesday).”

James’ game helped the Lakers end their five-game road trip with a record of 2-3. It also helped alleviate the absence of Anthony Davis (non-COVID disease).

“What LeBron did tonight was just an achievement for eternity,” said Los Angeles coach Frank Vogel, who previously coached the Pacers. “I know these fans and how much they love their hangers here in Indianapolis. And he delivered a damn show, and obviously he gets to play the ball.”

Russell Westbrook, who added 20 points against the Pacers, has averaged 25.7 over the last three games.

The Lakers only went 1-2 against the Kings last season and have lost three of the last four matchups. The teams also play Tuesday in Sacramento.

The Kings play their third game under interim coach Alvin Gentry. They lost Gentry’s debut and then got a 125-121 home win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.

Buddy Hield scored 22 points to lead seven Sacramento players in double figures during a win that was largely a team affair.

Harrison Barnes missed the fourth quarter with a foot injury and De’Aaron Fox was thrown out midway through the penalty area to quarrel with an official.

“It requires a village,” Gentry said. “We are not a team of one guy, we throw it to or two guys, we throw it to. We are a team that has to have different people to do different things for us and step up. That was exactly what we did. “

A surprising contributor in the fourth quarter was the former No. 2 overall pick, Marvin Bagley III, selected immediately ahead of superstar Luka Doncic in the 2018 draft.

Bagley was buried on the bench under former coach Luke Walton, appearing in just four of the team’s 17 games before Walton was fired.

He has played in both games under Gentry and had a season high of 10 points and eight rebounds against Portland. With Barnes injured, Bagley played the entire fourth quarter and knocked down a big corner 3-pointer to give the Kings a seven-point lead with 30.3 seconds left.

“I shot it with confidence and was able to knock it down,” Bagley said. “My biggest thing is to stay ready. It pays off, especially in times like this. I just get locked in and ready for whatever comes my way.”

King’s big man Richaun Holmes (eye) sat out on Wednesday and it was unclear if he would return on Friday. Holmes averages 14.4 points and the team’s best 9.8 rebounds.

– Media at field level

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