The Lakers were a mess defensively for three quarters.
The fourth was a completely different story as the Lakers held the Sacramento Kings to 10 points in until Ben McLemore's meaningless three-pointer with 6.9 seconds left in the game.
DeMarcus Cousins hit a free throw with 3:35 left in the fourth to put the Kings ahead by six points, 97-93. From there the Lakers scored 13 unasnwered points before McLemore's basket.
The Kings, who shot 43% from the field, finished with 17 turnovers, most in the fourth. Cousins and McLemore led both teams with 20 points apiece.
After a dominant first half with 14 points and seven assists, Sacramento point guard Isaiah Thomas didn’t score in the second half, dishing just two assists.
Steve Blake, the Lakers' only available point guard, played more than 39 minutes, finishing with 13 points and 10 assists. Second-year center Robert Sacre scored 11 in his first start of the season, pushing Jordan Hill to the bench.
Hill contributed seven points and nine rebounds, giving the Lakers a boost early in the fourth.
Wesley Johnson helped the Lakers get the win on the road with 13 points, five steals and a big block in the fourth.
The Lakers shot 47.7% from the field to improve to 4-5 on the road and 10-9 overall.
With their sixth straight loss, Sacramento's record dips to 4-13. They'll visit the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.
The Lakers return home to host the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. They'll get some needed help when Kobe Bryant makes his long-awaited return from Achilles' tendon injury he sustained in a regular-season game in April.
The Kings seem to be able to score at will in the paint against the Lakers, pulling ahead by as many as 10.
Despite their defensive woes, the Lakers are staying close in Sacramento after three quarters, trailing by one six points.
Pau Gasol leads the Lakers with 15 points as the team is shooting 49.2% from the field.
The Kings held a 39-26 advantage on the boards. and they have made eight three-pointers, nearly keeping pace with the Lakers, who have nine.
The Lakers struggled to contain Sacramento point guard Isaiah Thomas, who scored 14 points with seven assists in only 15 minutes of play.
The Kings, who are shooting 44.2% from the field, also got 13 points from DeMarcus Cousins in the first half.
The Lakers turned the ball over nine times, three by Xavier Henry (without an assist) as the team's makeshift backup point guard.
Despite the Kings' late push behind Thomas to open an eight-point lead, the Lakers were able to end the half within three points.
Coach Mike D'Antoni chose to start second-year center Robert Sacre on Friday night against the Sacramento Kings, and Sacre quickly delivered with seven points and four rebounds in seven minutes of play.
Once Sacre went to the bench, the Kings went on a run, eventually overtaking the Lakers.
DeMarcus Cousins has eight points to lead Sacramento, which is shooting 55.6% from the field.
The Lakers are shooting 52.4% from the field but struggled with a point guard-less lineup once Steve Blake went to the bench.
Jordan Hill, recently seeing his performance slip while working through a sprained ankle, was moved to the second unit for Sacre.
Jodie Meeks leads the Lakers with eight points.
The Lakers (9-9) visit the Sacramento Kings (4-12) on Friday night.
While he may be close to a return, Kobe Bryant will stay in Los Angeles instead of taking the trip to Sacramento.
The Kings have struggled this season, but they always seem to play the Lakers well.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Kings.