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Lakers lean on D’Angelo Russell in preseason victory over Kings

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    Lakers guard Gabe Vincent controls the ball as Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox defends during the second half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    Lakers forward Rui Hachimura shoots during the first half of their preseason game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

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    Lakers rookie guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, left, handles the ball as Sacramento Kings guard Chris Duarte defends during the first half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

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    Lakers stars Anthony Davis, left, and LeBron James watch from the bench during the first half of their preseason game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

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    Lakers forward Rui Hachimura, right, and center Jaxson Hayes slap hands during the first half of their preseason game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

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    The Sacramento Kings’ Davion Mitchell dives for a loose ball as Lakers guard Gabe Vincent, left, defends during the first half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell, right, drives against Sacramento Kings guard Kevin Huerter during the first half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

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    Lakers star LeBron James, far right, and the rest of the players on the bench watch during the first half of their preseason game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    Lakers guard Gabe Vincent, left, shoots as Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis defends during the first half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

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    The Lakers’ Taurean Prince, left, handles the ball as Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox defends during the first half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown gestures during the first half of their preseason game against the Lakers on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

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    Lakers guard Gabe Vincent, right, passes the ball as Sacramento Kings guard Chris Duarte during the first half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

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    Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox takes a shot as the Lakers’ Taurean Prince defends during the first half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    The Lakers’ Christian Wood handles the ball as Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes defends during the first half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    Lakers center Jaxson Hayes, right, attempts to block a shot by Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis during the first half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

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    Lakers star LeBron James, left, and Sacramento Kings center JaVale McGee share a laugh during the first half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    Lakers forward Taurean Prince, right, shoots past Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes during the first half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

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    Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox takes a shot as the Lakers’ Jaxson Hayes, left, and D’Angelo Russell defend during the first half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    Lakers stars Anthony Davis, left, and LeBron James watch from the bench during the first half of their preseason game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

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    The Sacramento Kings’ Malik Monk controls the ball as Lakers guard Max Christie defends during the first half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    Lakers rookie guard Jalen Hood-Schifino takes a shot during the second half of their preseason game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    Sacramento Kings forward Sasha Vezenkov passes the ball during the second half of their preseason game against the Lakers on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

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    Lakers guard Max Christie takes a shot in the lane during the second half of their preseason game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    Lakers center Colin Castleton, right, works against Sacramento Kings center Alex Len during the second half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

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    Sacramento Kings guard Davion Mitchell, left, handles the ball as Lakers rookie guard Jalen Hood-Schifino defends during the second half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell takes a shot as Sacramento Kings...

    Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell takes a shot as Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox defends during the second half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    Sacramento Kings forward Sasha Vezenkov, right, drives as Lakers guard Jalen Hood-Schifino defends during the second half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

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    Lakers rookie guard Jalen Hood-Schifino controls the ball as the Sacramento Kings’ Davion Mitchell defends during the second half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    Lakers guard Max Christie takes a shot as Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis defends during the second half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    The Lakers’ Christian Wood handles the ball as the Sacramento Kings’ Trey Lyles defends during the second half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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    Lakers guard Gabe Vincent controls the ball as Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox defends during the second half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, left, sits with Coach Darvin...

    Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, left, sits with Coach Darvin Ham before their preseason game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • Lakers forward Rui Hachimura warms up before their preseason game...

    Lakers forward Rui Hachimura warms up before their preseason game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • Lakers forward Anthony Davis stretches before their preseason game against...

    Lakers forward Anthony Davis stretches before their preseason game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • The Lakers and the Sacramento Kings tip off during the...

    The Lakers and the Sacramento Kings tip off during the first half of their preseason game on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • Lakers stars Anthony Davis, left, and LeBron James look on...

    Lakers stars Anthony Davis, left, and LeBron James look on from courtside during the first half of their preseason game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

ANAHEIM — The Lakers have yet to play a true “home” game so far during the preseason, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell during Wednesday night’s 109-101 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

Even with the Lakers sitting three-fifths of their known starting lineup to begin the regular season, purple and gold paraphernalia was spread out throughout the Honda Center – a little more than 30 miles southeast of the team’s Crypto.com Arena.

Everything the Lakers did well received a strong ovation from the crowd, including when Anthony Davis walked onto the floor for his pregame on-court routine. Or when Davis and LeBron James, both in street clothes, joined the team on the bench and were shown on the jumbotron.

But once the game started, D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers’ lone known starter who played, gave the crowd plenty to cheer for.

Russell led the Lakers with 21 points (8-of-12 shooting, 2 for 5 from 3-point range), eight assists, three rebounds, one steal and a blocked shot in 21 minutes.

After playing 16 minutes apiece and having his playing time limited to the first half in the first two preseason games, Russell’s minutes were ramped up Wednesday, helping give the Lakers a boost when they needed it.

He scored or assisted on 13 consecutive points midway through the third quarter, including knocking down back-to-back pull-up 3-pointers as part of a 13-3 run to give the Lakers a 70-62 lead before he was subbed out for the duration.

Russell averaged 14.5 points on 61% shooting (75% from behind the arc) in the first two preseason games.

“D-Lo has been phenomenal,” Ham said pregame. “Just really the communication between he and his teammates, he and myself, making sure we get exactly what we want out of the offense and the beginning stages, laying the foundation. He’s been awesome.

“We understand there is a lot more cohesiveness as opposed to last year at this time and D-Lo is right at the forefront of that. He’s commanding the ball, making good reads, shooting the ball well, competing defensively. So, everything is in a good space.”

Gabe Vincent added 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting while Rui Hachimura, Taurean Prince and Christian Wood each scored 13 points apiece.

“We spoke to them about just having the right mentality and the right mission,” Ham said. “And we reiterated that at halftime – specifically to some of our young guys – of the type of approach you got to have to play at this level. Everybody embraced the message. Our older guys did immediately, and then a couple of our young guys woke up at halftime and came out and really took their play to another level. Things are not going to always be perfect. But as long as you keep swinging at it and trying to put your best foot forward, you’ll be great.”

James, Davis and Austin Reaves sat for rest. Cam Reddish (right ankle soreness) and Jarred Vanderbilt (left heel soreness) also didn’t play and remain day to day.

Davis played 27 combined minutes – all in the first halves – in the first two preseason games. James and Reaves made their preseason debuts in Monday’s victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Las Vegas.

James previously said he plans to play in half of the team’s six preseason games, and Ham confirmed that remains the plan.

The Lakers will play the Golden State Warriors on Friday night at Crypto.com Arena and the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday in Los Angeles before closing out their exhibition slate against the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 19 in Palm Springs.

“The approach right now is just to maximize each and every day,” Ham responded when asked what the ramp-up period will look like for James in the regular season. “Whether it’s an off day for him – he’s just not playing in the game but he’s still active in terms of working on his body, getting on the court getting reps in.

“It’s easy with him navigating these so-called challenges of the unknown because he takes such good care of himself and (is) constantly preparing himself. Again, not just being available but available at the highest. We’ll just take it day by day and see where it goes.”

“The group that we got has been fun. A lot of good guys out there that I have fun playing with and just enjoying watching them do well, and when it comes my way I feel the same energy back, so I like where we’re at as a team.” 😎 pic.twitter.com/vW0E14btdu

— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) October 12, 2023

Darvin Ham discusses his takeaways from tonight’s matchup with the Sacramento Kings. pic.twitter.com/xh3NADjS0n

— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) October 12, 2023

“Me and my guys are just doing a good job moving the ball… we just had some good action.” @Mike_Bresnahan with Gabe Vincent following his 18-point performance against Sacramento. pic.twitter.com/0zBgstUxGC

— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) October 12, 2023

Christian Wood on where he’s at three games in: “I think I’m starting to find my rhythm. I think I’m getting better every game… I feel like the coaching staff is putting me in positions to find my spots on the floor.” pic.twitter.com/dTmfsLiY2n

— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) October 12, 2023

“I’m just trying to be aggressive more.” Rui Hachimura on what has been working for him. pic.twitter.com/DSBJTTSmY2

— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) October 12, 2023

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