Gameday: Lakers 103, Kings 90

GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Sacramento Kings 22 26 18 24 90
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 29 28 22 24 103

Postgame Interviews: | Kobe Bryant | Dwight Howard | Pau Gasol
Team Highlights: Sunday's Top 10 | Bryant Finds Peace | Blake Finds Howard

Lakers beat Kings, move to 2-0 under Bickerstaff


Posted Nov 12 2012 12:09AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Dwight Howard had 23 points and 18 rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored 20 and the in-transition Los Angeles Lakers continued warming up for a possible return by Phil Jackson with a 103-89 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.

Lame-duck interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff called the shots for the second straight game following the firing of Mike Brown on Friday with the team off to a 1-4 start - their worst in 19 years. They throttled Golden State 101-77 at Staples Center several hours after the change.

Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak remain in negotiations with Jackson, whom they are trying to coax out of retirement for what would be his third coaching stint with the organization.

The 67-year-old Hall of Famer guided the club to five NBA titles and won six others with the Chicago Bulls. He walked away after the Lakers were swept by Dallas in the second round of the 2011 playoffs - denying the Zen Master his fourth three-peat.

The Kings were forced to play short-handed with center DeMarcus Cousins and backup forward Thomas Robinson serving suspensions without pay. Forward Jason Thompson, shifting to center in place of Cousins, had 15 points and 10 assists for Sacramento before fouling out with 9:46 left. Jimmer Fredette scored a team-high 18, most coming after the outcome was long decided.

Cousins began his two-game ban for confronting a Spurs TV analyst in a hostile manner following a 97-86 home loss to San Antonio on Friday night. Robinson completed his two-game absence, following his vicious elbow to the throat of Detroit's Jonas Jerebko during Sacramento's 105-103 home win last Wednesday.

Cousins loses about $70,500 in salary and Robinson more than $82,000.

The Lakers built a 72-57 lead with an 11-0 run, capped by Bryant's two free throws with 4:26 left in the third quarter. They extended the margin to as many as 22 with 4:23 remaining on a pair of 3-pointers 40 seconds apart by Metta World Peace. He and Paul Gasol each finished with 18 points.

Howard had 14 points and 10 boards in the first half, including a short hook shot off an offensive rebound in the final seconds of the second quarter to give the Lakers a 57-48 lead at intermission.

Steve Blake, starting at point guard for the fifth straight game because of Steve Nash's knee injury, was limited to 12 minutes in the half because of an abdominal strain that kept him off the court for almost 10 1/2 minutes.

This is the first time the Lakers changed head coaches during a season since 2004-05, when Rudy Tomjanovich left midway through the first year of a five-year contract due to health issues and was replaced by Frank Hamblen. It's the third time Bickerstaff has taken over the reins of an NBA team after a season was underway, including 1994-95 with Denver (20-12) and 1996-97 with Washington (22-13).

The Lakers have now changed head coaches on the fly in six of their 53 years in Los Angeles. On two of those occasions, they went on to win an NBA title. In 1979-80, Paul Westhead relieved Jack McKinney with the team off to a 10-4 start after McKinney was hospitalized due to a serious bicycle accident. Westhead was fired in 1981-82 with a 7-4 record, shortly after Magic Johnson publicly criticized him, and Pat Riley guided the team to the first of four championships under his watch.

NOTES: Bryant was at the free throw line at the midway mark of the second quarter when the sellout crowd began chanting "We Want Phil!" They must have been misguided. Jackson was a 73.6-percent free throw shooter during his 12 seasons as an NBA player, and Bryant was 83.8 percent lifetime coming in ... Sacramento coach Keith Smart got a technical foul early in the second quarter for complaining about a non-call against Antawn Jamison, who made a clean block on a layup by Marcus Thornton and sent him crashing to the floor ... Lakers F Devin Ebanks, who posted $5,000 bail following his arrest early Friday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, was scratched for the second straight game. He is due back in court on Dec. 7 ... The Kings are 0-4 on the road, matching their worst start away from Arco Arena since 2007-08, when they dropped their first nine to tie a franchise record.

View More Photos

Points Howard, 23
Rebounds Howard, 18
Assists Bryant, 6
Steals Howard (LAL) and Thompson/Evans (SAC), 2
Blocks Howard, 3


Bernie Bickerstaff:

On bright spots in tonight’s game:
“We made some opportune baskets, pounding the ball on the side. There was a conscious effort on there to get that done. I thought the boards and the 18 offensive rebounds. Effort was there and they were trying to share the basketball with each other. I think Kobe was being a playmaker. What I found in the NBA that is the most difficult thing to do is to know when. I thought the decisions that he made in terms of getting people involved, like when they went back into the game and Sacramento went to the zone and just moved the ball around, made it rolling we got a nice shot on them. But when you have guys out like Sacramento did, those are tough games to play. Somehow mentally you let down, but I didn’t find that to be the case. I thought the guys got busy.”

On the mood of the team with wins:
“The mood has been good. Not only tonight, but the mood has been good. I think these guys were in touch with reality in terms with what’s going on. We’re still having some of the same problems in terms of turnovers. The professionalism and the approach with these guys has been unreal. When you have some success your confidence certainly improves. When you see the ball going in the basket your confidence improves. That could be a subliminal message there.”

On Darius Morris the last two games:
“I think he’s playing well. I have some pockets I want him to put some sugar in. He is playing well and he understands the game. You get better by playing. He’s getting the opportunity to play and when you get the opportunity to play you have to take advantage of it. Steve (Blake) is not 100 percent because of the injury he has. That was one of the reasons that we took him out. He wants to play but we need to take care of that situation.”

Kobe Bryant:

On the game:
“We are going out there and really just playing pickup style basketball to be honest with you and just running a couple things. Just getting out there and playing.”

“When you are really out there freelancing it forces you to communicate with each other and really try to read and react off of each other.”

“We have to read and react off of one another and feed everything through Dwight”

“We have some form of structure. We have some idea of what we want to do out there and then other than that it is constant communication.”

On the upcoming game against the San Antonio Spurs:
“I am sure a lot of us are pretty familiar with them having played against them. Some of the veterans here on the team so we know what they are capable of doing. We know that everyone is a threat over there. They do a great job of their spacing and ball movement. It will be a challenge."

Pau Gasol:

On the Lakers’ the key to tonight’s defensive success:
“[It was] activity, awareness, supporting each other out there, boxing out. We gave up way too many 2nd chance opportunities in the first half. We did a much better job in the second half.”

On the Lakers’ progression:
“We’re just playing simple basketball. Offensively going to our guys in the positions that they could score and then defensively we’re just communicating and being active trying to limit them to one shot.”

On playing with Dwight Howard:
“It’s been fun. I look forward to more games. He’s obviously a force inside and he can have these type of games on a nightly basis.”

On the upcoming game against the San Antonio Spurs:
“You have to know who you’re playing against. They’re a very disciplined team. They share the ball. They have a lot of weapons so you have to have an extremely focused game from start to finish.”

Dwight Howard:

On his performance rebounding tonight:
“I didn’t take myself out of plays in the game tonight as I had been in the past. I just got to continue to get in shape, that’s the biggest thing. Right now I just get tired too fast so you know I’m just trying to push myself and keep playing.”

On preparing for San Antonio:
“We just have to play ball the right way, move it play inside out and cut the turnovers down. That’s the biggest thing. If we cut the turnovers down and stop them from getting second chance points, we should win the game.”

Metta World Peace:

On his health:
“I feel better now than I have probably in my entire career to tell you the truth, physically. I don’t know how that’s possible because as you recall a couple years ago I wasn’t feeling as good, way out of shape. But learning about myself, I feel really good.”

Keith Smart:

On positives from the game:
“A lot of positives, we have a depleted team that we’re playing with, and then we lost another big during the course of the game. I thought our guys had to play out of position a lot against some very talented big guys, and I thought overall they did a good job. They showed some fight, and kept themselves pretty close in the game. The game got away, but we got back in it a little bit. We still had a good defensive game. The second chance points, we couldn’t help there because of the size factor, but I thought overall we did a very good job.”

On adjusting the rotation:
“I knew some of the things that were going to happen, so I tried to start Chuck [Hayes] and Jason [Thompson]. With two guys getting early fouls in the first quarter I knew I had to use either James [Johnson] or Travis Outlaw to play some four during the course of the game. I went with Travis to give us a little more space on the floor and allow him to work there, and slide James down a little bit. Obviously, to be able buy time as long as I could and not get those two big guys in foul trouble. We had to go to a smaller lineup too early in the game, but I thought it managed to work out. We got as close as we could down late with about five minutes to play to where we had to go totally small on the floor.”

On Jimmer Fredette’s play, and getting him more minutes:
“I’ve got to [get Jimmer Fredette more minutes]. It’s obvious that young man has worked his tail off. That young man’s efficiency rating has gone up, and I’ve got to make minutes on the floor for him now because he’s too positive right now with what he’s doing. He’s kept a perfect attitude the whole time, and I’ve got to find ways to make sure he’s on the floor. He works hard at all times, pre-practice, practice, post-practice, and it’s showing in his game right now. I’m really proud how he has maintained his composure through all of this, in this part of the season. I’ve got to find ways to get him on the floor.”

On managing the team with the current lack of size:
“We’ll do the same thing, obviously not having DeMarcus Cousins for another game, but we’ll get Thomas Robinson back, so that gives us another energy guy, and another big man. We’ll take some of the positives we had in this basketball game and now try to fuse it as we try to get our team back together. It’s unfortunate for our team right now to have those missing pieces because there were a lot of good things we had been doing, and a lot of good things we are doing even with our depleted team right now. We still had chances to maintain tonight, but obviously we were playing against an elite group of players tonight.”

Tyreke Evans:

On tonight's performance:
“I think we just didn’t make shots, they beat us on the glass, I think we were missing cuts tonight but after that we just didn’t make shots.”

On tonight's offense:
“It just feels like nothing was going in for us, only on the fast breaks, we try to go in the paint and get lay-ups but Dwight can create a lot of bad shots when you go in there so you just got to be careful.”

On playing off the ball more this season:
“I’m working at it every game. I’m just trying to find a way to be aggressive and still play my game but I just got to do a better job of making shots and running our offense.”

Jimmer Fredette:

On being productive in limited minutes:
“I just try to go in and provide a spark whenever I can. With limited minutes you just got to go out there and be the best you can, most productive you can in those minutes, and just try to help lift your team up. That’s what you do, so you just got to stay ready and try to provide good minutes when you get in there and keep working hard.”

On playing the Lakers tonight:
“They’re a very tough team, especially when we’re down two bigs too, so that’s definitely tough. Our front line was a little bent tonight but I thought guys battled really hard. The guards battled hard trying to get in and rebound, but I think that’s what killed us, the offensive rebounds and put backs, you know it’s tough but I think that we played very hard we just ran into a good opponent tonight that made shots and played really well.”

On how they played without DeMarcus Cousins:
“We didn’t really game plan for not having DeMarcus in there, we just kind of had to change on the fly. I think we did a good job for the most part but the second half kind of got away from us a little bit. We battled, we played hard and I think coach was proud of our effort but we need to get better.”

Travis Outlaw:

On the effort without DeMarcus Cousins:
“It was tough, I think the most we could of done was try to get out and run them a little bit more but overall everyone did leave it out there on the court”



Posted Nov 10 2012 10:13PM

While rumors continue to swirl about the possible return of Phil Jackson to the bench, the Los Angeles Lakers are keeping their focus on trying to move past their slow start.

The Lakers will attempt to move one step closer to the .500 mark when they welcome the Sacramento Kings to Staples Center on Sunday night.

With the additions of superstars Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, expectations were sky high for Los Angeles to contend for another NBA title, but a 1-4 start cost coach Mike Brown his job. The Lakers made the move only several hours before facing Golden State on Friday but produced an inspired 101-77 rout with interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff guiding the team.

"It was sad to see Mike go, but we just got to keep moving forward. We have to stay together," Howard said. "It's early in the season, and we're still trying to learn each other's game.

"Expectations are very high for this team. Management did what it had to do. It's on us to try to get better every day and continue to play hard and string some wins together."

Bickerstaff's tenure could be short as Jackson, who won five of his 11 NBA titles with the Lakers, spoke with the team about returning for a third stint Saturday. He claimed two of those championships in 2009 and 2010 before stepping down the next season.

"Knowing him the way I do, I think it's really just a matter of health, if he feels physically up to doing it," Kobe Bryant said Friday night. "He's a perfectionist. We all know he's a perfectionist. If he feels like he can come in here and give what he demands from himself, then I think he would be interested."

Bickerstaff, though, is expected to lead the Lakers (2-4) as they seek their first win streak of the season in Sunday's game against the Kings (2-4), who opened the season with three consecutive road losses.

Sacramento bounced back with two victories to open a homestand but couldn't finish that off with another win Friday as it shot a season-low 35.2 percent in a 97-86 loss to San Antonio.

"I think we have to focus more on just seeing the ball go through the net and stop rushing things," said guard Marcus Thornton, who tied Jason Thompson for the scoring lead with 17 points. "I know I'm rushing a lot of shots. We have to hold ourselves accountable on the offensive end and make it happen."

The Kings have made enough happen to win three of the past five matchups with the Lakers after losing eight in a row and they've scored 100 or more points in all five of those games.

Thornton has appeared in three of those games and averaged 25.0 points on 56.0 percent shooting while DeMarcus Cousins has double-doubles in four of his last five games against Los Angeles.

Bryant has scored 38 points in each of his last two home games against Sacramento and has averaged 33.3 in his past nine overall matchups. The Lakers have won seven of the past eight meetings at Staples Center, taking last season's only matchup there 115-107 on March 2.

They'll have to try to earn another win without Nash, who is expected to miss another week due to a small fracture in his leg.

The Kings, meanwhile, won't have top draft pick Thomas Robinson available as he completes a two-game suspension for elbowing Detroit's Jonas Jerebko during a 105-103 victory Wednesday.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  #15 World Peace SF #52 Johnson  
  #16 GasolPF #34 Thompson  
  #12 Howard C #15 Cousins  
  #24 Bryant SG #13 Evans  
  #5 Blake PG #22 Thomas  

Lakers Kobe Bryant
(strained & bruised right foot) is day-to-day.
Jordan Hill
(herniated disc) is probable.
Steve Nash
(non-displaced fracture, left leg) is out.

Jazz Thomas Robinson
(NBA Suspension) is out.
Tyler Honeycutt
(D-League Assignment (Reno)) is no longer with the team.

11/11 - SAC @ LAL
11/21 - LAL @ SAC
03/17 - SAC @ LAL
03/30 - LAL @ SAC


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