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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 21 20 28 28 97
Play by Play Sacramento Kings 15 27 31 40 113
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Kings upset listless Lakers, 113-97

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ


Posted Nov 22 2012 1:16AM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Marcus Thornton scored 23 points, Tyreke Evans had 18 and the Sacramento Kings snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the lethargic Los Angeles Lakers 113-97 on Wednesday night.

Jason Thompson added 13 points and 10 rebounds to help the Kings take a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter and cement the latest Lakers setback. Los Angeles had won three straight and seemed to be turning things around under new coach Mike D'Antoni.

Instead, the Lakers looked lost and listless against the Western Conference's worst team, showing all the same problems that got Mike Brown fired.

Kobe Bryant scored 38 points on 11-of-20 shooting and Jodie Meeks had 15 points off the bench as D'Antoni lost for the first time on the Lakers bench. A night after beating Brooklyn in Los Angeles, the Lakers might've been bad enough to give D'Antoni a headache to go with the pain from his surgically replaced knee.

Bryant tried to will his tired team back late.

After the Lakers went down by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, he converted a three-point play over DeMarcus Cousins that sliced Sacramento's lead to 96-92 with 3:06 remaining. Thornton thwarted the rally in a hurry, swishing a 3-pointer from the top of the key on the next possession.

Officials whistled Pau Gasol for a flagrant foul when he swatted Thompson in the face going for a rebound. Thompson made one of two free throws, Cousins added a pair of driving layups and a free throw to put Kings ahead 105-93, with the home fans chanting "Beat L-A! Beat L-A!"

Though point guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake are expected to be out with injuries for at least another two games, the limited Lakers talent was hardly an excuse in this matchup.

The Lakers held Sacramento to 31 percent shooting in the first quarter. Kings big man Chuck Hayes also had to go back to the locker room to receive stitches after he was cut around his right eye and had blood dripping down his cheek, and yet Los Angeles still only led by six.

Sacramento surged ahead 26-21 behind an 11-0 run to start the second quarter that Thornton capped with a 3-pointer and running layup. Bryant returned and made back-to-back 3s - the second in the face of pressure from rookie Thomas Robinson - to quiet the Kings crowd, except for an increasing sprinkle of purple-and-gold clad fans.

Aaron Brooks started another Sacramento spurt when he floated an underhand layup over Dwight Howard and drew a foul for a three-point play on the new Lakers center, who tumbled hard into a row of photographers under the baseline. Brooks added a jumper and a 3-pointer to highlight the 17-5 run that put the Kings ahead 69-58 late in the third quarter.

D'Antoni kept yelling and motioning for the Lakers to sprint up court to match Sacramento's speed. Instead, they often kept the pace at a slow crawl.

After the Lakers closed within a point, James Johnson made three straight layups during an 11-2 run that put the Kings ahead 88-78 early in the fourth quarter. D'Antoni called a timeout in the middle of Sacramento's spurt to put his starters back in the game and give his listless Lakers a chance to refocus.

No chance for that now.

D'Antoni's knee - and the Lakers mettle - will be tested even more. Los Angeles plays at Memphis on Friday and at Dallas on Saturday to complete a quick three-game trip.

NOTES: The Kings won all three preseason games against the Lakers. The series is 1-1 in the regular season, with the home team winning each time. ... Howard made 3 of 4 free throws after going 7 for 19 from the line a night earlier against Brooklyn. His first attempts came with 7:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.






View More Photos


Points Bryant, 38
Rebounds Thompson (SAC), 10
Assists Evans (SAC), 6
Blocks Gasol, 2


POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On the team’s lack of energy :
Dwight’s a little understandable. Back-to-back and he’s still coming on. They were great all over him. Pau (Gasol) didn’t have his legs. They’re playing minutes. We have to get the bench going and help them out a little bit. We have to cut their minutes down because obviously you can’t come out on a back-to-back like we did tonight. It gave Sacramento hope and once they smelled some blood and obviously they’re an NBA team and they played well. We didn’t snuff them out. If we’re going to be a championship team we have to take control early.”

On Jodie Meeks:
“He doesn’t surprise me. I think Jodie can do that and that’s what we ask of him - to come in and change the game up, get some hoops and be a sparkplug off the bench.”

On the coaching change:
“I think you always have a little bit of a shock when a guy comes in new so you start off like puppies out there and now we’re back to reality a little bit. We have some things that we need to work through. We have some issues and we’re going to have to get better.”




Metta World Peace:

On the lack of energy:
“I think it’s a mixture of a couple of things. I think next game everybody has to get involved in offense. Sacramento played well tonight.”

On defense:
“No excuses. They won.”




Dwight Howard:

On tonight's game:
“There’s no explanation. We got another game coming up so no need to go back to tonight’s game. It’s over with.”

On ball movement:
“It’s over with. We have another game coming up. We’ll do a better job on both ends. I will and the team will.”




Keith Smart:

“Well obviously we needed a win, and with all of the people to win against, we needed this. It went back to the basics. I told these guys, you’re going to stay focused on what we set our goals to this year. We’re not going to waiver from that, we’re going to keep working everyday and we did that the last couple days of practice. We’re not going to change or panic or drop our heads. We’re going to keep on the course that we’re trying to set. We’re going to have some bumps and we understand that, but overall, we’re not going to listen to the outside. We hear it, but we’re going to focus on that group within this organization and where we’re trying to go. I think our guys did that. Questions were asked a couple days ago about what the morale is like on this team. Unless you’re in that locker room, in our practice everyday, in our film session, you don’t know what our team is doing. You can’t buy into what you may see or create. We know what these guys are doing everyday. They are consistently doing their pre-practice shooting, they’re consistently doing their post-practice shooting, their film sessions. They are staying the course and that’s what we are going to do here.”

On how the team got back on track:
“Our team went through a whirlwind. We went through coming back off of the road and playing two games, thinking we were back on track, but we weren’t on track. We ended up losing a couple of players, first one of our players had to go home because of a death in the family, and there was an illness. We just had so much going on that week that it was hard for our young team to recover from that. Slowly, we had a couple of days to work and get a chance to go back to basics. We went back to how we did things in training camp, with our defense and with our offense, trying to speed the pace up a little bit. I had to use a new lineup and try to get that group to settle in. Then, I had to get the group off of the bench, because they have to reposition to settle in the game. That’s why I’ll check all games at 5, 10, 15, or 20 and see where we are. I saw where we were moving, and by the time we got to five games I thought that maybe something could change. Then we got to nine games and changed for the 10th game, and I saw some positives there. Then, of course, we moved to this game here and I thought that we did everything that we needed to do in this game. More importantly, what we did was not about the basketball, was not about who made the shots and scored, it was all about this group staying together and fighting for the cause of our basketball team.”




Jason Thompson:

On the second half:
“I think that we got a certain type of rhythm. We were really trying to focus on the defensive end and we were making the extra pass. I think it’s good for our team that if guys are in foul trouble and not playing most of the game that you can have guys come in and step up. I think that for the most part every guy that came in the game was ready to go against a really good team.”

On if he was fatigued after playing 40 minutes:
“You’re going to get it at times but I think when you have a game going back and forth, and with my adrenaline, I didn’t want to come out. So I thought it was good. Sometimes if you have something going offensively, defensively and you come out then it’s kind of tough to go back to it. So I’m just glad coach gave me the confidence to stay in there and get the win.”

On what it’s like getting a win against a team like the Lakers:
“Hopefully we can have the mentality of every game is our last, kind of like this. We’ve got to try and get some type of win streak going. We’ve got the holiday tomorrow but we play the same team back-to-back so we’ve got to get our first win on the road and try and do the same thing with not much of a tough scouting report to do the next day. So hopefully we can get a streak going.”




Marcus Thornton:

On the win:
“It always feels good beating the Lakers. Our fans were into it so we don’t really want to let them down. So we came out and played hard, I don’t know what for, but we played extremely hard against the Lakers.”

When asked if he’d like to see his team play this hard every night:
“Yeah, definitely. Win or lose, we play that hard every night, you know I’ll take it.”

When asked how they can channel that same energy against Utah:
“Keep the focus even though we’re in Utah, play as a team as we did, share the ball – hopefully we come out of there with a win.”

On the pre-game preparation:
“Guys asked questions if we didn’t know how to be able to stop or contain Kobe (Bryant), Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. So I think we did a good job coming into this game. We were focused and we just went out there and played. We played like we know we can play and hopefully, like you said, we carry this over to Utah.”






LAKERS-KINGS PREVIEW

By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO

Posted Nov 21 2012 3:12AM

Coach Mike D'Antoni may be somewhat wobbly on his surgically replaced knee, but the Los Angeles Lakers seem to be finding their stride.

Another meeting with the Sacramento Kings may keep their run going.

Coming off D'Antoni's winning debut on the bench, the Lakers look to continue their surge Wednesday night when they try to send the Kings to a sixth consecutive defeat.

Los Angeles (6-5) named D'Antoni coach on Nov. 12 after firing Mike Brown following a 1-4 start. D'Antoni's debut, though, had been delayed due to recovery from knee replacement surgery, but he was finally on the sideline for Tuesday's 95-90 win over Brooklyn.

"With this team, there's no reason not to win every game," D'Antoni said. "That's our goal. It's not, 'Let's get two out of three.' We can win every game we play. ... I feel like we're the best team in the league. We've got the most talent, so they can do what they want. We've just got to keep perfecting things."

While D'Antoni was not actively roaming the sidelines much in Tuesday's win, the Lakers have won five of six games since the coaching change, including a season-high three in a row.

"We're definitely playing with better flow," said forward Pau Gasol, who has 17 points in each of the last two games. "We're playing with more confidence, looser out there. We're playing together and moving the ball, just playing basketball and not really worrying about actions; just playing the game."

Production from Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard is also helping.

Bryant leads the NBA with 26.3 points per game, and Howard is among the leaders with 20.3 points and 11.7 rebounds. Both came up big in D'Antoni's debut, as Bryant scored 25 points - six coming in the final two minutes - while Howard contributed 23 with 15 boards.

The All-Star center is pulling down an average of 14.6 rebounds over the past five games, including 18 with 23 points in a 103-90 victory over Sacramento (2-8) on Nov. 11.

Bryant was held to 20 points in that meeting, but he's averaged 33.3 points in his last 13 games at Sleep Train Arena.

The Lakers, though, have lost the last two visits, including last season's finale on April 26 when Bryant was rested ahead of the playoffs.

The Kings are averaging 89.6 points during a five-game slide that continued with Sunday's 99-90 loss to the Nets. Coach Keith Smart tried to stop the skid by starting Aaron Brooks at the point and John Salmons at forward, but they combined for six points and seven rebounds.

"Overall, when you make some changes like we have it's hard, but they were smiling for the most part," Smart said. "This is an adjustment period. That's something we have to go through to get out team turned around."

DeMarcus Cousins is trying to do his part, leading Sacramento with 17.8 points per game and 10.3 boards. The center scored 23 of his season-high 29 points in the second half Sunday, bouncing back from a nine-point effort on 4 of 15 shooting in a loss to Atlanta on Thursday in his return from a two-game suspension.

The team-imposed ban forced him to miss the Nov. 11 loss to Los Angeles.


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 .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #5 Salmons  
  #16 GasolPF #34 Thompson  
  #12 Howard C #15 Cousins  
  #24 Bryant SG #13 Evans  
  #1 Morris PG #3 Brooks  


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Lakers Steve Blake
(abdominal strain) is day-to-day.
Kobe Bryant
(strained & bruised right foot) is probable.
Jordan Hill
(herniated disc/sprained right wrist) is probable.
Steve Nash
(non-displaced fracture, left leg) is out.
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11/11 - SAC @ LAL - W 103-90
11/21 - LAL @ SAC
03/17 - SAC @ LAL
03/30 - LAL @ SAC
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