SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 11 (Ticker) -- With Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal 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 remaining.
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 this one."

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 period.

"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 game.

"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 Angeles loss.

"(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 impressed."