LOS ANGELES, March 24 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers made the Sacramento Kings look like they spent the entire day in court.

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Bryant returned from his pretrial hearing to score 20 of his 36 points in the first half as the Lakers routed the Kings, 115-91, for their sixth straight win and narrowed the gap in the Pacific Division.

Bryant's day began in Eagle, Colorado for a hearing that ended about 3:30 p.m. local time. He arrived at STAPLES Center less than an hour before game time and should have been somewhat drained.

"I got up at 4 a.m.," Bryant said. "I feel OK. I have to get up at 3 a.m. (Thursday, when the hearing continues.)"

However, Bryant showed plenty of energy on both ends of the floor, sparking a 25-1 run in the first quarter that demoralized the Kings.

"It's fun for me to get out on the court and play basketball," Bryant said. "It takes my mind of off everything."

"It's been a problem for us the last two weeks, the way we start the game, and got ourselves buried early," Kings coach Rick Adelman said.

Bryant made 11-of-23 shots, including a spectacular lefthanded bank shot while drawing a foul. He sank all 12 free throws, added six rebounds and six assists and even was hit with a technical foul early in the third period.

"I get a lot of confidence once I jump out early and attack guys early, and that seems to loosen up the game and loosen up their defense," Bryant said.

The top-scoring team in the NBA, Sacramento looked confused and slow on offense and trailed, 33-14, after one period. The Kings got no closer than 13 points thereafter as they were brutalized on the boards, 55-33, and suffered their fifth loss in eight games.

Gary Payton scored 20 points and Shaquille O'Neal added 17, 16 rebounds and six assists for the Lakers (48-23), who clinched their 11th straight playoff berth and moved within 2 1/2 games of the first-place Kings in the Pacific Division.

"Kobe came in and played fabulous after his long day," O'Neal said.

The huge first-quarter run gave the Lakers a 31-10 lead with 1:31 left in the first quarter. For about seven minutes, they could do nothing wrong and the Kings could do nothing right.

Bryant passed up an uncontested layup to pass to Karl Malone, who converted a three-point play. Malone took a seat with his second foul and was replaced by Slava Medvedenko, who immediately made a pair of jumpers and a steal, later capping the run with a follow dunk.

"You can see the steps we are taking," Bryant said. "Tonight we put on an excellent show. It was a great basketball display."

The Kings spent the rest of the game bickering with officials and being taunted by the sellout crowd of 18,997. In the third quarter, forward Chris Webber took a poke in the eye from Malone, was hit with a technical for arguing when no call was made and heard chants of "Web-ber!"

"I haven't forgotten about it yet, but in the morning it will be out of my mind. But it eats at me," Webber said. "I'm a competitor. I hate to lose, so I can act all cool and say, 'Oh, we don't care.' Games like that hurt."

Peja Stojakovic scored 20 points and Webber added 18 for Sacramento, which had won the first two meetings this season in the NBA's best rivalry.