Sacramento 103, L.A. Lakers 101
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 26 (Ticker) --
A major difference between the top two
teams in the Pacific Division is that the Sacramento Kings can
win without key players in the lineup and the Los Angeles Lakers
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hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers in the final 90
seconds as the Kings pulled out a 103-101 victory over the
In both meetings between the rivals, one team has been
short-handed. In Sacramento's blowout win on Jan. 16, the
Lakers were without Shaquille O'Neal
, Kobe Bryant
and Karl Malone
and were in the midst of their worst stretch of the
In this one, the Kings were without Chris Webber
, Brad Miller
and Bobby Jackson
. But Sacramento has not missed a beat without
the injured players, winning four in a row and six of seven
games since the All-Star break.
"It just means how we played good as a team, how we trust each
other and how much confidence we have in the guys that didn't
have the opportunity to play before," Kings forward Peja Stojakovic
"Obviously, it's just a great win," coach Rick Adelman added.
"Every win we can get at this point, especially with Bobby, Brad
and Webb out ... it's a huge step for us."
Sacramento got big performances from Bibby and Stojakovic in
Tuesday's win over New York and the duo was clutch again. Bibby
scored a season-high 31 points and Stojakovic led the Kings with
Bibby and Stojakovic combined to shoot 12-of-21 from the arc,
with Bibby's last two 3-pointers making the difference. He gave
Sacramento a 100-98 lead with 89 seconds left, then extended
the advantage to five points with 45 seconds to play.
Bryant led the Lakers with 35 points. He hit a clutch 3-pointer
with 37 seconds to play, but had a potential game-winning
3-pointer bounce off the rim as Los Angeles had a five-game
winning streak snapped.
"I got a good look, but it was short," Bryant said. "It was a
broken play. It was a great look. I will take that shot any
After scoring 18 points in the third quarter to get the Kings
within 81-80, Stojakovic had just five in the final period. All
of them came during an 8-1 spurt that gave Sacramento a 92-86
lead with 6:38 remaining.
O'Neal countered with six of his 24 points in an 8-2 burst,
capping it with a dunk over former Laker Vlade Divac
to forge a
94-94 tie with 3:45 left.
After Bryant's layup made it 96-94, Anthony Peeler's
play put Sacramento in front with just over two minutes to
play. But O'Neal, who was 6-of-13 from the free-throw line,
missed a pair before Bryant made two for a 98-97 edge with 98
The Kings clinched their sixth straight winning season, beat the
Lakers for the fourth time in six meetings and opened a
six-game lead in the division. They shot 48 percent (36-of-75)
from the field, including 12-of-24 from the arc.
"It's a case of hot shooting," Los Angeles guard Kareem Rush
said. "We missed a couple of open shots that we would have
normally hit. Guys usually don't go 7-for-11 and 5-for-10 from
the 3-point line."