LOS ANGELES – As it often played out during most of his NBA career, Luke Walton stepped in front of a crowd that either shouted his name or booed him. It often became hard to distinguish the difference.
This time, Walton did not hear those cheers or jeers as a Los Angeles Lakers player or coach. He heard them as the Sacramento Kings head coach nearly five months after Walton and Lakers mutually parted ways. Once again, the boos and drawn-out “Luke” chants blended together.
“That’s why this job is fun. It’s stressful and it’s hard,” Walton said. “But as a competitor, this is what you love to do. To be back in your old building and go against a team you used to coach and play for, it’s exciting.”
Walton did his best to block it all out. Easier said than done, though. The Lakers finished with a 99-97 win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday at Staples Center with a roster that hardly resembled the Lakers team Walton coached even last season. The Lakers had a healthy LeBron James (29 points, 11 assists) make a pair of foul shots to clinch the win. They had a dominant Anthony Davis (17 points) stuff…