As Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers were in the midst of completing a three-peat, a fierce rivalry developed with the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers faced the Kings in the NBA Playoffs in each of those three years, making for plenty of dramatic matchups.
Bad blood between the two teams has subsided in the time since, as the Lakers’ last two championships were devoid of the same playoff history. As both teams went into a rebuild, there’s now a younger crop of players looking to put their stamp on the rivalry.
Among them is De’Aaron Fox, who also has a bit of a personal competition with Lonzo Ball because they are part of the same draft class. Fox and the Kings delivered a disheartening loss to the Lakers on Thursday behind Bogdan Bogdanovic’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Sacramento led by as many as 12 points in the first quarter and trailed by 15 midway through the fourth. Golden 1 Center had plenty of buzz even though LeBron James was unable to play due to a strained groin.
Fox felt the Kings benefitted from the environment but he also voiced a displeasure with the number of Lakers fans who were in attendance, via NBC Sports:
“It helped us a lot. There were too many [expletive] Laker fans in here, but we definitely feed off the energy.”
Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone had a similar frustration following a game last month at the Pepsi Center. Though, Malone deemed it a non-issue so long as the Nuggets continued to disappoint Lakers fans by coming away with a win.
Fox didn’t shoot well from the field but nearly recorded a triple-double by finishing with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 12 assists. He also added 2 steals in 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, Ball appeared to have his second triple-double this season but a rebound was taken away from him and given to Tyson Chandler after the game went final. Ball had to settle for a final stat line of 20 points, 9 rebounds and 12 assists.
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