Los Angeles 126, Sacramento 103

LOS ANGELES, April 1 (AP) -- No scoring binge this time for Kobe Bryant, who was perfectly content with lobbing to his teammates under the basket or driving and kicking the ball out to the open man.

Bryant had a season-high 13 assists to go with his 19 points Sunday night in the Los Angeles Lakers' 126-103 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

"I like seeing my teammates being in a rhythm. I like seeing their confidence. I like seeing them smile,'' Bryant said. "I don't like to see them second-guessing themselves on their shots or hanging their heads.

"So tonight was a big game for them to try to get their confidence back and their swagger back a little bit.''

The Lakers shot a season-high 61.7 percent from the floor against a Sacramento defense that was particularly vulnerable inside.

"The game was made a lot easier because we were making our shots, so the floor opens up,'' Bryant said after his ninth double-double of the season. "It becomes extremely difficult to cover us and we pass the ball so well.''

He took only 14 shots and made six. The previous game, he took 44 shots while scoring 53 points in an overtime loss to Houston.

Ron Artest led the Kings with 26 points and Kevin Martin had 23. Mike Bibby made only three of his 15 shots and finished with eight points as the Kings lost for the 10th time in 12 games.

Martin was impressed by Bryant's unselfish play.

"He can have 20 assists and he can make 20 field goals,'' Martin said. "Whatever he needs to get done to get a `W,' he usually does it.

"He's just a smart player. He takes what's there.''

Bryant had scored 50 or more points in five of his previous seven games, including 65 in one. He averaged 49.1 points over that stretch.

Maurice Evans scored 21 points to lead six Lakers in double figures. Walton had 18, Andrew Bynum 14, Smush Parker 13, and Brown 10.

Bryant had 13 points in the third quarter to help Los Angeles take an 87-81 lead into the final period. The Lakers then pulled away down the stretch.

Jordan Farmar got into the game for the Lakers in the fourth quarter to complete a personal doubleheader of sorts. The rookie guard, who had been struggling and had his playing time cut, played for the Lakers' Development League affiliate in the afternoon, then immediately was recalled by the Lakers.

He had four points in seven minutes for the Lakers after scoring 18, with six assists and three steals in 41 minutes of the D-Fenders' 109-101 loss to the Anaheim Arsenal on the same court.

Farmar became the first player to appear in an NBA game and a Development League game on the same day since it became the NBA's official minor league system before the 2005-06 season.

"Even though no one's done it before, it wasn't that weird for me. It was fun,'' he said. "Their locker room is right next door, so I just walked right over here, put on a different uniform and went through the same ritual I go through every day.

"I warmed up again, got ready and cheered on my team until my number was called.''

Farmar, who wore No. 5 for the Lakers and No. 2 for the D-Fenders, added, "I'm a little tired.''

Bryant got his first points of the game on a dunk 2:26 into the second quarter and finished the half with six points on 3-of-7 shooting. But he already had nine assists.

Notes: Bryant's career high for assists is 15. ... Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he hadn't heard "anything official'' about being selected for the Basketball Hall of Fame but added with a grin, "I've heard a few things.'' The new inductees to the hall will be announced Monday at the Final Four in Atlanta.


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