The Los Angeles Lakers trailed by as many as 13 points with about nine and a half minutes remaining in Tuesday's game against the Sacramento Kings. Fewer than three minutes later, LA had tied the ball game.
Lou Williams caught fire and gave the purple and gold a chance to beat the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center, as the 30-year-old guard scored 19 points on 7-10 shooting and also passed off four assists over the final 12 minutes of the game. Williams, though, could not sink a deep three-pointer at the buzzer for the victory and finished with 29 points and five assists in the losing effort.
"I've seen enough basketball in my experience that if you get the guy that you want with the ball in his hands, and if you can kind of not allow the defense to get set, good things can happen," Lakers coach Luke Walton explained why he did not call a timeout on the final play, where Williams' shot missed the mark.
DeMarcus Cousins led Sacramento with 40 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in the 97-96 victory, and the 26-year-old center managed to tally 16 points over the final 7:36 of Tuesday's contest.
Cousins hit the game-winning free throw and played at such a supreme level that resulted in the Lakers fouling the Kings' center often. In all, Cousins attempted 19 free throws, which added up to more foul shots than the entire Lakers' team attempted, 15.
In a contest that could best be described as sloppy in the first half, the Lakers somewhat inexplicably hung around despite not playing well at any stage during the first three quarters. Following the game, Walton shared that even he wondered how his team had only trailed by two points at halftime.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Kings appeared set to widen the gap and comfortably trot to victory, but Williams took charge and carried LA back into the contest. Cousins' quality ultimately shone through.
Williams summed up the evening following the loss, "(Cousins) is an All-Star caliber player. He's the best player on that team, one of the best bigs in the league. He did everything he was supposed to do tonight."
Next, the Lakers play in Phoenix on Wednesday before disbanding for the All-Star break.