Sacramento 102, L.A. Lakers 85
SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 11 (Ticker) --
With Kobe Bryant
neutralized, the Los Angeles Lakers could do
nothing but look on helplessly as Doug Christie
, Chris Webber
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and the Sacramento Kings seized control of the Pacific Division.
Christie scored 21 points while shutting down Bryant and Webber
added 25 points and 12 rebounds as the Kings routed the Lakers,
102-85, to take a one-game lead atop the Pacific with two games
The Kings scored the first eight points and led thereafter as
they improved to 55-25, one game behind Minnesota (56-24) for
the best record in the Western Conference.
"We came out and played hard," said Webber, whose team limited
the Lakers to 38 percent shooting (32-of-84). "Things are
coming together. It was big, definitely a big game. We needed
It was a considerably different mood in the Lakers' locker room.
"I'm not going to answer any questions," Lakers coach Phil Jackson
said. "I'm just extremely disappointed in our
performance of our team in a key game like this. (It was) an
afternoon where I thought we wanted to play good basketball.
There are a number of things that play into it. But we're
disappointed in our performance. And it showed."
Webber, whose subpar play had elicited boos from the Arco Arena
faithful in recent weeks, scored 10 points and Christie eight in
the first quarter as Sacramento jumped out to a 31-15 lead.
"I probably should make this declaration: I think I'm going to
leave (Webber) in the rotation and I'm probably going to start
him in the next game (at Denver on Monday), too, regardless of
other opinions," said Kings coach Rick Adelman
, who had been
taking heat for the team's recent struggles.
Neither Bryant nor O'Neal, who picked up two quick fouls,
attempted a shot in the opening period.
"Elston (Kings assistant Elston Turner) came up with a great
idea and plan to try to see if we couldn't limit Kobe as much as
we could and make other people beat us," Adelman said. "Of
course, it was fortunate we got Shaq in foul trouble the first
quarter, but our energy level was really high and we sustained
it throughout the whole game."
"After my first two fouls, that kind of changed our whole
attitude and changed our whole game," O'Neal said. "It wasn't
about what Kobe or Shaq or Gary (Payton) does. We win as a team
and we lose as a team."
Christie added nine more points in the second quarter to help
the Kings take a 54-35 cushion into the break. The hawkish
defender kept Bryant scoreless until 3:51 remained in the third
"They did a good job defensively," Bryant said. "I wasn't able
to get open looks or get the ball in a position where I can get
into a rhythm. I was just running back, waiting for the flow of
the game. They doubled me every time I touched the ball. And
every time I got into scoring position, doubled quickly."
The Lakers pulled within 73-62 on a 3-pointer by Derek Fisher
with 10:11 to play, but Brad Miller
countered with a jumper,
Mike Bibby a 3-pointer and Webber a pair of free throws to open
an 80-62 advantage with 7:54 left and effectively put away the
"I really think the energy and the focus was there for 48
minutes," Christie said. "(Today) we stayed focused and got it
done. It was a great game plan from the coaching staff. When
we play defense like that, we do well."
O'Neal finished with just 10 points and Bryant eight for the
Lakers (54-26), who went 1-3 against the Kings this season.
Sacramento will claim the division with a victory or a Los
"(Kobe) was getting double-, triple-teamed and was kicking it
out," said O'Neal, who has referred to the Kings as the
"Queens." "When he kicks it out, guys have to either kick it
back to him or take the shot.
"We let them take us out of our game. And I'm still not