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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Sacramento Kings 27 29 20 26 102
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 33 23 30 27 113
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LA Lakers beat Kings without Kobe, 113-102

By GREG BEACHAM


Posted Mar 18 2013 1:15AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant never even emerged from the Los Angeles Lakers' locker room, slowed by his sprained ankle and leveled by an apparent case of the flu.

The Lakers didn't seem to miss him much while they rolled to another win in what's turning into an awfully interesting second half of the season.

Antawn Jamison scored 27 points, Metta World Peace added 22, and the Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings 113-102 Sunday night for their sixth victory in seven games.

With Bryant missing his first game of the season to rest his sprained left ankle, the Lakers tightened their resolve and their rotation. Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni used just seven players, but Jamison and fellow reserve Steve Blake took charge in the second half as the Lakers (36-32) pulled away in the fourth quarter, keeping their one-game lead over Utah (34-32) for eighth place in the Western Conference and moving within a half-game of Houston (36-31) for seventh.

"We're just not making any excuses," Jamison said. "We just looked ourselves in the mirror and said, `It's up to us to turn this thing around.' And I think we've been doing that since the All-Star break. We're finally playing the way we're capable of playing."

Two days after beating Indiana for one of their most impressive road victories of the year, the Lakers persevered with nearly 57-percent shooting and balanced scoring in Bryant's absence. The fifth-leading scorer in NBA history was hurt in the waning seconds of Los Angeles' loss last Wednesday in Atlanta, and he played only the first quarter at Indiana.

Bryant decided not to play shortly before tipoff, and the Lakers said Bryant also is doubtful for Monday's game at Phoenix.

Nobody thinks the Lakers are a better team without Bryant, but their smooth offensive movement suggested they know what to do with the ball when Kobe isn't dominating it.

"That ball moves, and there are some good guys out there on the floor," D'Antoni said. "That ball needs to move, and if it does, then we're really good."

Steve Nash had 19 points and 12 assists, and Dwight Howard added 12 points and 17 rebounds in another superb all-around game as the Lakers pulled away in the fourth quarter of their seventh straight home win - and their first victory without Bryant and Pau Gasol in their lineup since Gasol joined the club on Feb. 1, 2008.

Although Howard went scoreless in the second half, he continued his impressive stretch of play after the All-Star break, grabbing at least 12 rebounds for the 14th straight game while blocking five shots. The All-Star center even made his first four free throws - before missing six straight.

"It's tough for teams to play defense when the ball is moving like that," Howard said. "I was just happy with our effort. We had to really talk to each other. They hit a lot of 3's, but it didn't take us away from our principles."

Blake had 16 points and eight assists while playing 34 minutes off the bench for the Lakers, who moved four games above .500 for the first time in their tumultuous season.

The Lakers lost a 10-point lead in the second quarter, but methodically moved ahead in the third. Los Angeles took its biggest lead of the game at 90-78 with 10 1/2 minutes to play, but Sacramento trimmed the margin with a 10-0 run before Blake's defense foiled a 4-on-1 Kings fast break and catalyzed an 11-0 Lakers run to seal it.

"That was a good play for him," said Sacramento's Tyreke Evans, who scored 13 points on 6-for-19 shooting. "But 4-on-1, we've got to get a bucket off that. ... We didn't make shots and didn't get any fouls called. We stopped going to the basket and took a lot of jump shots, and they came down and made all their shots."

Isaiah Thomas scored 26 points and Patrick Patterson had 22 for the Kings, who have lost 12 of 13 on the road. The Kings played without DeMarcus Cousins, who has a bruised left quadriceps.

The Kings have been one of the NBA's highest-scoring teams since the All-Star break, and they routed Chicago in their last game. Sacramento couldn't duplicate that scoring performance against the Lakers despite committing just three turnovers in the first three quarters.

"Some of their guys played great basketball, like they've done over their careers," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "Jamison is not a slouch. He comes in and plays a great role for them, and he made his jump shots. Steve Blake made some big-time 3s. Steve Nash is going to do his job. Dwight Howard is going show his post presence and do his job."

Along with Bryant's woes, Gasol hasn't played for the Lakers since Feb. 5, missing 19 straight games with an injured right foot. The 7-foot Spaniard still hopes to return next week despite feeling discomfort during 2-on-2 drills Saturday.

NOTES: Howard has matched the longest stretch of his career with at least 12 rebounds in every game, equaling a 14-game stretch with Orlando in 2011. It's also the longest such stretch by a player in the NBA this season. ... Cousins didn't make the trip to Los Angeles with the Kings, missing his second straight game. Jason Thompson struggled as Sacramento's starting center, scoring four points on 2-for-8 shooting in 25 minutes. ... Jack Nicholson wore neon-green sneakers at his courtside seat.



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Points Jamison, 27
Rebounds Howard, 17
Assists Nash, 12
Steals Evans (SAC), 3
Blocks Howard, 5
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On the game:
“A lot of guys steeping up and playing hard. I think in the first half we kind of played around with it. We didn’t really focus hard on the defensive end. This team gives you a lot of trouble. They are athletic. One-on-one they are good. They have been scoring about 110 points since all-star, so we knew that we couldn’t outscore them. You can score, but you have to put some kind of pressure on them. I thought the second half we came out, other than a couple of threes at the end I think we held them to about 40 points and that was good. That was the most satisfying.”

On the team playing without Kobe Bryant:
“Well it is like anything else, that ball moves and there are some good guys out there on the floor. Antawn Jamison has had back-to-back 50 point games in this league. And Steve Blake is starting with a good team and has played really well in this league. Steve Nash is a two time MVP and Dwight Howard is really good. So we don’t have to be one player dominant. That ball needs to move and if it does then we are really good.”

“[Kobe] is so good at what he does and he has been doing it for a long time. It is a different team, different age group and he has come a long way toward facilitating and all that. We just have to keep reinforcing that and getting better at it.”

On why Kobe Bryant did not play tonight and when he will return:
“I think everything…He has the flu, his ankle, and probably 15 other things going on. For this stretch we come home and we get three days off so getting him totally well. And he has to be well for us to even think about doing anything. So I think it was a great decision that he made and Gary Vitti. We will see tomorrow night. I don’t know about tomorrow night yet, but we will see what happens.”




Antawn Jamison:

On total team effort without Pau and Kobe:
“I think we’re playing with a sense of urgency. It’s the predicament we put ourselves in and we can only control the things that we deal with right now. With Kobe being out, we know everybody has to step up and play collectively as a group and as of late we’ve been doing that.”

On what Steve Blake has been doing for him:
“I don’t know. All I know is that time together that we had in Washington. He knows when I’m going to cut; I know when he’s looking for me and things of that nature. Ever since he got back we’ve been clicking. That second unit has really been contributing the way we think it should be contributing this year.”

On how to keep this record going forward:
“We have to play with a sense of urgency. We have to play consistent for 48 minutes and if we do that, not turn the ball over, make it a half-court defensive game and offensively execute the way we’ve been doing, we should be fine.”




Steve Blake:

On key to last games for him:
“I just thank God for the opportunity to be back. It was tough being hurt and watching but it’s been great to be out there with my teammates.”

On groove with Antawn Jamison:
“Just coming off the bench with energy and playing with confidence. Most of my stuff comes off great plays for my teammates, trying to be out there and bringing energy. I’m just trying to help out in any way that I can.”

On comfort of playing on the ball and off the ball with Steve Nash:
“Yeah I think we really are [comfortable]. A lot of teams try to get it out of his hands really quickly or deny him the outlook pass so I can get it and get up there with numbers. If he gets the ball on the back side after we’ve already made a pick-and-roll it just makes us that much more dangerous.”




Dwight Howard:

On the key offensively tonight:
“We just tried to read the floor. They doubled a lot tonight, and I tried to make the good passes out and trust those guys to make the shots. In the pick and roll, Steve [Nash] was able to get going. ‘Twan [Antawn Jamison] was unbelievable tonight. He hit some tough shots and he got some easy slips to the basket. He’s been playing great lately.”

On the key to winning tomorrow in Phoenix:
“Just play hard. For me it starts on defense. I have to control the paint, make sure I come out with a lot of energy, and just protect the basket for these guys.”

On tonight’s performance overall:
“Overall, I’m just happy with our effort as a team tonight. Sacramento is a tough team because they can score the ball from all five positions. We had to really talk to each other, protect the basket, and force them to take threes. They hit a lot of threes, but we didn’t let that bother us from our principles. We stuck with our principles tonight and that’s how we got the win.”




Steve Nash:

On if the 7-man rotation made him tired tonight:
“I’m a little bit tired. I think everyone’s playing more minutes, but everyone’s playing well and stepping up so it’s been really enjoyable.”

On playing with Steve Blake:
“It’s great. First and foremost, I feel like Steve [Blake] has been phenomenal. Even before Kobe [Bryant] went out, he’s been playing great and he’s been on a great roll. His toughness, shooting ability, and having another intelligent guy on the court really helps our team.”

On the efficiency from the 3-point line tonight:
“Well, I think sometimes you go on runs. We were fortunate to go on a little bit of a run there shooting the ball in the second half, but I thought our defense was better in the second half, and that was the key. We held them to I think 20 in the third, and that gave us that breathing room.”

On Dwight Howard’s defense tonight:
“Dwight [Howard] was great. I think for us we have a game plan that is going to be centered around him being down there making it difficult for guys so we can keep the ball on the sidelines and the baselines. It’s really difficult to contend with him. Even if there is a breakdown, having him back there obviously helps our defense.”




Keith Smart:

On the 4 on 1 fast break play and the game:
“That’s a big play. That’s a big momentum play right there because you have to make that into a 2 on 1 and we kept the ball a little too long on the side and threw it right back in the middle. That was a big turning point. I think they came back and hit a 3 right after that so, that was a big play but I thought our guys did a great job competing. I thought for a few moments we tried as much as we can to get to the foul line here and there but that wasn’t going to be the case tonight. But I thought these guys competed and put themselves in a great position, and you know, some of their guys played great basketball like they have over their careers. [Antawn] Jamison is not a slouch. Jamison comes in and plays a great role for them and made his jump shots tonight. Steve Blake made some big time 3’s tonight and the other guys were going to do what they do no matter what. Steve Nash was going to do his job. Dwight Howard was going to be his post presence and do his job, but some other guys as they have been playing as of late, have been playing really well.”

On tonight’s game:
“I think when you go back through and look at it, we only had one assist on paper but we also made some passes for open shots. We didn’t make some open shots off of good draw and kicks, but obviously the ball didn’t move and it stopped a little bit. We started to dribble too much and we had one shot clock violation because of that. But these guys played a great game, they had to play a perfect game again but obviously it didn’t happen for us. These guys played a very good game and put themselves in a good position except for a few breaks here and there with our shots and then our decisions on the break. Also, over helping too much and sometimes Dwight Howard will do that for you because he’s going to get some of the smaller players, deep into the paint and you want to help your teammate which ends up being a kick out for a 3. All their perimeter players were making their long range shots tonight and that happens.”

“I think what you do is prepare even with Kobe [Bryant] playing. You just have to play for 2 teams because Kobe’s going to come out the game and run different things. Nash will be more dominant with the basketball, more involved with the pick and roll, and more post-ups for Dwight Howard. Kobe will come back into the game and you go back into your coverage with what you do with Kobe, so regardless if he was playing tonight or not playing, we still had to prepare the same way. The fact that he’s not in there, you don’t have to deal with a lot of 1 on 1 iso’s [isolations] by Kobe where you knew where he would be. Probably hit you with some 3’s, the mid post area game, and then of course the middle pick and roll.”




Tyreke Evans:

On what went wrong for the Kings down the stretch:
“We didn’t make shots and we didn’t get fouls called. We just stopped going to the basket and shot a lot of jump shots and they came down and they made all their shots. They were making everything tonight.”

On what went wrong for the Kings offensively:
“Dwight [Howard] did a good job of helping out in the paint. Even though he wasn’t having a good offensive game he still messed with a lot of people’s shots, but I think we got a couple good looks we should have knocked down, but they just weren’t falling for us tonight.”

On the 4-on-1 break for the kings where Steve Blake drew an offensive charge and if it was the turning point of the game:
“That was a good play for them. You know 4-on-1 we’ve got to get a bucket off that. So for them to get a stop their momentum’s going and they come down and they get a three or a layup or something like that that gets them going and they never looked back.”




Isaiah Thomas:

On what went wrong for the Kings down the stretch:
“I don’t think we moved the ball like we did in the second quarter and the ball got stuck on one side and they’re a great defensive team when you keep the ball on one side and I think that’s probably what happened.”

On if the Kings offense tonight:
“In the third quarter the passing lanes just weren’t there for me to try to get others involved, so I was just in attack mode to try and create something at the rim and I did an alright job at that but they did a good job of taking away the things I wanted and that was to try to get my bigs involved and my shooters involved.”

On tonight’s loss:
“It was tough. They executed their offense and we didn’t execute our defense. They hit a few key threes that opened the game back up. I think they hit about three in a row, or something like that and after that it was just hard to dig back in the game.”




Patrick Patterson:

On what the team can take from tonight moving forward:
“That’s the only thing I think we really can take forward is that we didn’t fall back, we didn’t let down, we kept battling, we kept fighting throughout the course of the game and pretty much that’s the only thing you can take from it.”

On the team’s offensive play:
“We were stagnant with the ball just standing around and watching somebody else try to make a play just not moving the ball, not cutting, not setting screens, and when you’re not doing that it makes it a lot easier for the defense.”

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KINGS-LAKERS PREVIEW

By JEFF MEZYDLO

Posted Mar 16 2013 1:50PM

With or without Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers are confident they can keep finding ways to win.

As their superstar deals with a severely sprained ankle, the Lakers look to build on an impressive road victory with a seventh straight home win Sunday night against the Sacramento Kings.

Though Bryant missed all four of his shots and finished without a point while playing only one quarter, Los Angeles (35-32) pulled out a 99-93 win at Central Division-leading Indiana on Friday. With Bryant shouting instructions and diagramming plays on the sideline, Dwight Howard had 20 points with 12 rebounds and completed a tiebreaking three-point play with 1:30 remaining.

"It was our best win of the season," said Metta World Peace, who had 19 points and seven boards. "It's been an up-and-down year, not to our fans' liking as far as the record is concerned. But I would say it's our best win of the season."

Los Angeles shot 42.3 percent overall, but 13 of 26 from 3-point range and held the Pacers to 37.4 percent shooting to win for the 18th time in 25 games.

The Lakers hold a slim lead over Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"I just think we're more comfortable, we are playing more together," point guard Steve Nash said. "I'm confident that we can repeat this performance, but we have to keep winning games."

The Lakers might have to do that without Bryant, who tried to play Friday after turning his ankle late in Wednesday's 96-92 loss at Atlanta - their lone defeat in six contests.

"It really just continued to swell and I couldn't put any weight on it, so I called it a night," he said. "I told them before the game, 'I don't know how much I have, but whatever I have, I'll give you.'"

With Bryant hobbled, the Lakers may look to Howard for more scoring. The center has averaged 21.5 points and 15.5 rebounds in the last six games.

Howard was held to seven points and nine boards in a 113-97 loss at Sacramento on Nov. 21, 10 days after he had 23 and 18 in a 103-90 home win over the Kings. Los Angeles has averaged 110.6 points and shot 49.2 percent while winning eight of nine against Sacramento at Staples Center.

The Kings (23-43) are a West-worst 6-28 away from home and have lost 11 of 12 on the road, but they're coming off their most lopsided win of the season, 121-79 at home over Chicago on Wednesday.

With DeMarcus Cousins sidelined by a left quad injury that's left him day to day, Tyreke Evans had 26 points and Isaiah Thomas added 22 as the Kings shot 54.2 percent, scored 27 fast-break points and committed a season-low five turnovers.

After averaging 118.3 points on 51.7 percent shooting during a 2-1 homestand, Sacramento hopes to carry that success to the road.

"(We have to) just stay consistent, talk on defense, make sure we don't (commit unnecessary) fouls, protect the paint - which we've been doing as of late - and make the extra pass," big man Jason Thompson told the Kings' official website. "(It's important) that we're not forcing things in the paint on offense and making it tough on the defense."

Evans averaged 23.7 points on 66.7 percent shooting during the homestand after putting up 9.8 per contest and making 37.5 percent in the previous four games.


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  
  #6 ClarkPF #9 Patterson  
  #12 Howard C #34 Thompson  
  #20 Meeks SG #13 Evans  
  #10 Nash PG #22 Thomas  


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Lakers Kobe Bryant
(severe sprain, left ankle) is out indefinitely.
Earl Clark
(moderate sprain, right ankle) is probable.
Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is out.
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable.
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Jazz James Johnson
(personal reasons) is not with team.
DeMarcus Cousins
(left quad contusion) is day-to-day.
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11/11 - SAC 90 @ LAL 103
11/21 - LAL 97 @ SAC 113
03/17 - SAC @ LAL
03/30 - LAL @ SAC
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