On Tuesday night at Staples Center, Lonzo Ball and Julius Randle led the Los Angeles Lakers to their second straight victory, 99-86, over the Sacramento Kings, and helped shake off the sour memories of a nine-game losing streak that preceded the two most recent wins.
Both Randle and Ball finished with double-doubles and played active games, as the rookie point guard finished the night with 11 assists, 11 rebounds, five points, five steals and a block. Meanwhile, Randle tabbed 22 points, 14 rebounds and six assists on the night.
"[Ball] creates our pace for us," Lakers coach Luke Walton said after the game. "He makes winning plays for us. He gets other people easy shots. So, he impacted the game on both ends of the floor, and he's a big part of why we won tonight. Eleven assists and only one turnover is awesome."
Lakers coach Luke Walton stuck with Randle in the starting lineup, in large part to get a closer look at how the forward fit into the starting unit with Ball back playing point guard. Randle started at power forward, with Brook Lopez taking the center spot.
"He's been great for us, and he's continuing to improve," Walton said about Randle's adjustment into his new starting role after the game.
With the Lakers recording 30 assists on 37 field goals, four of the five starters scored in double figures on the night, with Ball the only exception because he was too busy handing out helpers to everyone else.
Lopez hit five of his eight three-point attempts and went home with 18 points and a smoking hot hand. The big man is shooting 44.4 percent from three-point land since returning from an ankle injury.
Brandon Ingram tabbed 15 points, five rebounds and three assists on the night, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 16 points to round out the starters.
With Randle no longer part of the Lakers' bench, the Kings' backups outscored the Lakers' reserves 43-23. Of course, the former Kentucky Wildcat's athletic and efficient play led the starters in outscoring their Kings' counterparts 76-43. Finally, the Lakers were also able to run effectively and beat the Kings 35-8 on fast break points on the night, and Ball's play on the floor had a great deal to do with that.
Kings rookie point guard De'Aaron Fox, who has history with Ball from his college days, scored 15 points and handed out three assists and a rebound on the night. Undoubtedly, Ball played the more complete game on this night and got the win, even if Fox outscored the former UCLA Bruin.
Teams that both ended the night with identical 13-27 records did not promise a crisp, clean game of basketball, but the Lakers' sloppiness had Walton irked after the game ended.
Even in victory, Walton appeared to be upset with how his team had lost discipline throughout the night. Though brilliant at times, Randle committed six turnovers on the night. Ingram led the game with seven errors in only 24 minutes. Ingram hit six of his nine shots, grabbed five rebounds and handed off three assists in those limited minutes, so he didn't exactly have an awful night, but he contributed to 25 team turnovers and his coach's frustrations.
Walton said, "I told [the team] afterwards, 'C'mon! That's why it's not always about winning and losing. We're trying to play a certain way and have a certain standard. And we have 26 turnovers. We shoot 61 percent from the free throw line. That's B.S. to me. We had a chance to put that game away.'"