Notebook: Lakers 113, Kings 102



Posted Mar 18, 2013 2:04 AM

Dan Arritt, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: There's no replacing Kobe Bryant. That will never happen. But the Lakers are learning it's possible to patch things together long enough to stay afloat in the Western Conference race. They did so Sunday night against the visiting Kings, benefiting from another stellar performance off the bench from Antawn Jamison and Steve Blake, a big-time scoring game from Metta World Peace and another dominant rebounding effort from Dwight Howard, adding up to a 113-102 victory at Staples Center.

QUOTABLE: "When that ball moves, there's some good guys out on the floor. We don't have to be one-player dominant."

-- Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni

THE STAT: With Bryant playing just the first quarter in Friday's win in Indiana because of a severely sprained left ankle and then missing his first full game of the season against Sacramento, Jamison and Blake stepped up for the second consecutive game. Jamison, who scored 18 points on 5-for-7 shooting from 3-point range against the Pacers, came back with 27 points on 5-for-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Blake scored 16 points on 4-for-7 from long range, two nights after he scored 18 points on 5-for-7.

TURNING POINT: After the Lakers took their biggest lead of the game, 88-76, in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, the Kings responded with a 10-0 run to get within two points. The Lakers didn't get rattled, however. Steve Nash sank a pull-up jumper, Blake drilled a 3-pointer and Nash got his 3-point attempt to rattle back in. Jamison then hit a 3 to cap the 11-0 run and the Kings never got back within single digits.

HOT: World Peace sank his first eight field-goal attempts before finishing 10-for-13 with 22 points, his highest output since Jan. 9. Howard finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds, the 14th consecutive game he has grabbed at least 12 boards, matching the longest such streak of his career. The Kings, who were without leading scorer and rebounder DeMarcus Cousins (left quad contusion), were bolstered by point guard Isaiah Thomas and power forward Patrick Patterson. Thomas scored 26 points, the third time in the last four games he has scored at least 22, and Patterson netted 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting.

QUOTABLE II: "He's changing the game for us."

-- Nash on Howard

NOT: If the Kings received the type of performances that they're used to from starters John Salmons and Jason Thompson, they probably would have swiped a victory. But Salmons scored three points on 1-for-7 shooting, six points below his season average, and Thompson scored four points on 2-for-8 from the floor, seven points under his average.

GOOD MOVE: For the first time in the last three games, Howard managed to stay out of early foul trouble. In fact, he didn't pick up his first foul until early in the second half. Howard blocked five shots but it was Blake who likely made the defensive play of the game. After the Kings had cut the deficit to two in the fourth quarter, Blake turned the ball over, leading to a 3-on-1 break heading the other way. Blake stepped in and took a charge on Thompson, however, and L.A. came back with its decisive 11-0 run.

BAD MOVE: With Cousins unavailable, it was up to Thompson to try and slow Howard. But he picked up two quick fouls 11 seconds apart while trying to guard Howard at the start of the game, sending him to the bench in favor of Chuck Hayes. Kings coach Keith Smart also took too long to get Thomas back into the game in the fourth quarter. His replacement, Marcus Thornton, scored the first six points in the 10-0 fourth-quarter run, prompting Smart to leave him on the floor a little longer. But by the time he sent Thomas back into the game with 4:55 left, the Lakers had already stretched their lead back to 13.

NOTABLE: Howard recorded 15 rebounds or more for the 22nd time this season, the most in the NBA. He made his first four free throws but then missed his last six. ... The Lakers moved within a half-game of the Rockets for seventh place in the West. ... Nash finished with 19 points and 12 assists, one off his season high.

UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Monday @ Phoenix, Friday vs. Washington, March 25 @ Golden State. For the Kings, Tuesday vs. L.A. Clippers, Thursday vs. Minnesota, Saturday @ Denver.