L.A. Lakers 115, Sacramento 91
LOS ANGELES, March 24 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant
and the Los Angeles Lakers
made the Sacramento Kings look like they spent the entire day in
NBA TV highlights from|
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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."
scored 20 points and Webber added 18 for
Sacramento, which had won the first two meetings this season in
the NBA's best rivalry.