LeBron James recited the date — Oct. 29, 2003 — in the visiting locker room, a photo from his NBA debut in a frame below his locker. That game, the start of a career that includes four NBA championships and the NBA’s all-time scoring record, happened in the same city and the same date as the Lakers’ third game this year.
“I was a baby!” 20-year-old rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino said from the stall next to James’ locker.
He was three months old when James played his first NBA game.
The passage of time, when viewed like this, can be wild — more than half of James’ life having been spent playing professional basketball, with so little changing in terms of his consistent dominance.
Time cuts another way, though, too.
The Lakers are just three games removed from the Western Conference finals with the majority of that team back, but things early this season feel different.
Pregame, coach Darvin Ham said the team was still “tinkering” with 10-man rotations, trying to find the right recipe for a team that seemed like it had only made changes on the fringes.
And that search, it continues.
Even after James forced Sunday’s game into overtime with a sweeping layup, the Lakers missed too many shots and wasted too many chances, losing 132-127 to the Kings in overtime in Sacramento.
The team now heads back to Los Angeles for the second leg of a back-to-back with the Magic.
James scored 27 points, including seven in overtime, but the Lakers made just two of their 10 three-point attempts in the fourth quarter and overtime. James also had eight turnovers, one to start overtime and one to end it.
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 30.
The Lakers, for the third straight game, trailed by double digits during the first quarter, forcing the team to play uphill while they tried to find an offensive rhythm.
They finally took a lead in the second half, Taurean Prince getting hot from deep while the team continued to rack up trips to the free-throw line.
Domantas Sabonis fouled out and De’Aaron Fox dealt with foul trouble, but Malik Monk’s 11 points in overtime were enough for Sacramento.
For Austin Reaves, Sunday’s game in Sacramento probably felt like it lasted 20 years. The third-year guard, who spent his summer playing for Team USA, couldn’t get a shot to fall, looking to the ceiling after clean looks from three and the mid-range rimmed in and then squirted out.
He finished the game one for 12 from the field and one for eight from three, the second-worst shooting game of his pro career.
The Lakers, as a team, ended up missing 30 three-point shots.