Kyle Kuzma scored a career-high 41 points in three quarters against his childhood team, joining some rarified company in the process.,Kuzma had 22 points in the third quarter, hitting four 3-pointers to get the crowd on its feet and scoring on consecutive goaltending calls.,Detroit's Blake Griffin, averaging a career-high 25.3 points per game, was held to 16.,Ball hit a 3-pointer and Kuzma had five points before James came on the court to cheer his teammates during a timeout.,Lakers: James (left groin strain) is set to be re-evaluated Friday and won't travel with the team for its game in Utah.
Nor is it likely to end well for a lot of Lakers, some of whom could be New Orleans-bound in a trade for Anthony Davis … or cut for salary cap space, like the eight of them who are on one-year deals, to bring in more free agents like Klay Thompson … or unemployed like Coach Luke Walton if Magic Johnson holds him responsible for any shortfall.,I don’t see a second-round loss going over well with Johnson, not after he read Walton the riot act seven games into the season, then, in as close as he felt like coming to reassuring everyone publicly, said Luke would, “finish this season unless something drastic happens, which it won’t.”,It’s still emerging with last week’s report by ESPN’s uber-connected Adrian Wojnarowski that Magic has wanted a new coach since he took over, but has yet to convince Jeanie Buss, who is “fiercely loyal” to Walton.,Despite his cachet, James hasn’t been a behind-the-scenes schemer … aside from all his player recruiting … although Riley, whom LeBron left high and dry, late revealed that LeBron hinted that he would like him to fire Coach Erik Spoelstra during LeBron’s first season in Miami without coming out and actually asking him to do it.,A recent report from ESPN’s uber-connected Adrian Wojnarowski indicated that Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson has wanted a new coach since he took over in February of 2017, but has yet to convince team owner Jeanie Buss, who is “fiercely loyal” to Luke Walton, left.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 22 points, Trey Burke added 16 and the Knicks snapped their eight-game losing streak with a 119-112 victory over Los Angeles on Friday night.,Enes Kanter scored eight of his 16 points down the stretch as the Knicks pulled away, ending their first win since Dec. 14 on an 11-3 run.,Seven players scored in double figures for New York, including 10 points in the fourth quarter from Mario Hezonja, who also had barely played since mid-December.,TIP-INS
Knicks: Frank Ntilikina played only briefly in the first half before straining his left ankle and sitting out the rest of the game.,SLOW START FOR LA
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers looked just fine for 3 ½ quarters in their first game without LeBron James.,Bogdan Bogdanovic made a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the Sacramento Kings rallied from 15 points down in the fourth quarter to beat Los Angeles 117-116 on Thursday night.,De’Aaron Fox followed with two free throws for Sacramento, and Kyle Kuzma made one of two for Los Angeles with 4.6 left.,Kuzma had 34 points to help make up for James’ absence, and Lonzo Ball added 20 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.,COMEBACK KIDS
The Kings are the first team to win three consecutive home games when trailing by 15 points or more since San Antonio did it during the 2016-17 season.
It was the third straight home game in which the Kings have come back to win from at least 15-point deficits in the second half.If LeBron James is playing in that game, it probably finishes a little differently, Lakers coach Luke Walton said.,For most of Thursday nights game, they did, after the Kings took a 12-point lead in the first quarter.They stepped up, especially with the way Sacramento came out and punched us early, this is a high-powered offense that can get you going in front of their crowd here, Walton said.,And I thought our guys, mainly Zo early on, responded to that challenge and they were out there playing like veterans.Early during the first quarter, Kings point guard DeAaron Fox soared through the air for a one-handed dunk, then backpedaled from the force of his own score, fell onto his back and did a backward somersault to turn upright again.Moments later Ball answered with a three-pointer.,Missing Bron, missing [Rajon] Rondo, I knew I had to step up personally and the rest of the guys knew as well.Kuzma was always the off-ball scorer, ready to capitalize on any opportunity his playmaking teammates found for him.And Ingram gave the Lakers an early push, scoring 21 points through three quarters.The Lakers lead was commanding for much of the fourth, but as the game neared its close, Sacramento refused to let go.,Ball had to leave the game with 1:42 remaining, leg cramps getting the best of him.With the Lakers leading by three with 59.6 second left, Kuzma fouled Sacramentos Justin Jackson while he was shooting a three-pointer.