L.A. Lakers 115, Sacramento 99
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 16 (Ticker) --
As he has proven time, and
time again, Kobe Bryant
always seems to find a way to regain his
focus on the court.
Bryant scored 31 points and directed a balanced offensive attack
with 12 assists as the Los Angeles Lakers posted a 115-99
triumph over the Sacramento Kings.
NBA TV highlights from |
The subject of further scrutiny after televised interviews
earlier in the week in which he defended his offseason actions
and fired back at former teammate Karl Malone, Bryant was
brilliant in one of Los Angeles' most impressive wins of the
season. He had 16 of his points in the third quarter, when the
Lakers turned the game into a rout.
"Once you get in the game you become consumed by the game,"
Bryant said. "We all lean on one another for help and support.
Once you kind of get lathered up, you just forget about
"He did a little bit of everything out there," Lakers forward
said. "He can do that every night. I wouldn't say it
makes us unbeatable, but we can definitely compete with every
team in the league when we get that kind of effort."
Bryant also was battling a cold that kept him in bed most of the
"(Kobe's) been under the weather," Los Angeles coach Rudy Tomjanovich
said. "He didn't have a shootaround today, but he
was great -- he was very up, very into it, communicating with the
team. Probably a milestone for us. Just a great team win."
Los Angeles closed the quarter with a 15-5 run and took a 92-71
lead into the final 12 minutes. The Lakers pushed the lead to
22 in the fourth and never were threatened.
Los Angeles had yet to beat a top team in the Western Conference
coming into the game and clearly wanted to prove something.
"We had yet to beat a quality opponent like Sacramento," Bryant
said. "We were up (13) against Phoenix, we had Sacramento down
late in the game in L.A. We've been in position to win this type
of game but just haven't been able to close them out."
Tomjanovich echoed the sentiment.
"Obviously, a tremendous win for us against a team that has a
great record at home," Tomjanovich said. "It's very hard to win
The Kings had no answers for the Lakers defensively as Los
Angeles shot 55 percent (46-of-83), including 46 percent
(12-of-26) from the arc.
Odom scored 22 points, Tierre Brown
added 15 and Brian Cook
for the Lakers.
"When you don't guard anybody, that's what happens," Kings guard
said. "In the second half we didn't do anything.
Give them credit. We knew (Kobe) would get his, but the other
guys came in and did a tremendous job."
Sacramento led 39-36 following a dunk by Doug Christie
left in the opening half, but Los Angeles closed the quarter
with a 19-10 burst.
"(In the second half) they outplayed us. I don't know what else
to say," Kings forward Peja Stojakovic
said. "They came out
with more energy, they outrebounded us, outran us and outscored
us. It happens. We have four games left on this homestand to
try and get better."
The game marked the return of Vlade Divac
to ARCO Arena. Divac,
who spent the last six seasons in Sacramento, did not score
in three minutes. He was greeted with a standing ovation from
the sellout crowd.
"Even though I play for the Lakers, I will always be part of the
Kings," Divac said. "It's fun to be back and my team won."
Jackson and Chris Webber
scored 20 points apiece for Sacramento,
which had won three straight home games.