GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 31 25 32 11 17 116
Play by Play Sacramento Kings 26 22 22 29 9 108


Kings' possible farewell ends in loss to Lakers

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ, AP Sports Writer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Sacramento Kings fans made it feel like old times.

Then, so did Kobe Bryant.

Bryant's tying 3-pointer with 4.8 seconds left in regulation forced overtime, and the Los Angeles Lakers regrouped to hand the Kings a 116-108 loss Wednesday night in what might have been the last game ever in California's capital city.

"I told Phil it's fitting it's going to end this way," Bryant said after sharing a laugh with Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

When the final buzzer sounded, thousands of fans refused to leave their seats, doing everything they could to protest the franchise's possible move to Anaheim. Some cried, others took pictures. But all cheered in one, booming voice: "Here we stay! Here we stay!"

Feeling the vibrations from their locker room, Kings players Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia, Marcus Thornton and Donte Greene returned to the floor.

"No matter what happens," Garcia said, grabbing the microphone, "this is always going to be our home."

For one, perhaps final night, it was.

A standing-room only crowd packed things beyond the 17,317-seat capacity, clanking cow bells and roaring louder than they had in years. They brought handmade signs, painted their faces and cheered their loudest to will their beloved team back.

And they nearly did.

Instead, the Lakers pulled away in overtime to earn the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, setting up a first-round series against New Orleans.

"I really feel for these fans," Jackson said. "I'm sure it's a sad, sad day for many."

Thornton had 33 points and Evans added 19 to help the Kings outscore the Lakers 29-11 in the fourth quarter to rally from 20 points down. They went ahead by three until the final seconds, when Bryant delivered a shot to crush Sacramento's hopes yet again.

Fans stood for almost the entire fourth quarter and overtime as the Kings nearly capped an improbable rally. Jason Thompson's dunk with 1:22 remaining in the fourth gave the Kings their first lead of the half, and it would be a brief one.

After Bryant's shot forced overtime, the Lakers easily controlled overtime. They sprinted out to a six-point lead and never trailed in the extra session.

Afterward, the Kings' dance team stood at halfcourt, hugging, crying, and saying goodbye. Others took the court to take pictures for the final time, and coach Paul Westphal tipped his hand to the crowd in thanks.

"We're proud of the way we represented this city and this area," said Westphal, who got choked up in his postgame news conference. "We don't know if we'll continue doing that or playing somewhere else. We really felt it tonight. We know that through the ups and downs, these fans supported us. We think we're ending one of those down times."

Bryant finished with 36 points and Lamar Odom scored 22 for the Lakers, who played without injured center Andrew Bynum. They hope to have him back for Game 1 on Sunday night against New Orleans.

Leave it to the Lakers to deliver so much torment.

When the Kings had an NBA-best 61 wins in the 2001-02 regular season, the Lakers eliminated them - in an epic Game 7 in Sacramento, no less - that started the long, hard fall for this franchise. The Kings failed to recover from the end of the Chris Webber-Vlade Divac days, attendance dwindled and their outdated arena continued to age.

After years of political bickering and failed ballot measures to build a new arena, Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof started seeking other options. Now it seems the only thing stopping them from moving the franchise to Anaheim is a block by NBA owners.

The Maloofs are scheduled to make a pitch at the NBA Board of Governors meeting that begins Thursday in New York. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson - a former NBA All-Star - and Anaheim officials also will attend.

The Maloofs have until Monday to officially file for permission to relocate, and a vote would likely come within weeks of that request.

"This is my home," Evans told the crowd afterward. "I started my career in Sacramento, and I'll never forget the times we had."

NOTES: The Kings played a video before the game to show the season's highlights. ... Lakers center Andrew Bynum (hypextended right knee) and reserves Matt Barnes (sore right knee) and Steve Blake (chicken pox) did not play. They will be re-evaluated this week along with Bynum. ... Extra security, including bomb-sniffing dogs, roamed the arena during the game.


Copyright 2011 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




2 L.A.'s seed for the playoffs, thanks to their two straight wins to end the season, pitting them against the New Orleans Hornets in Round 1 and ensuring home court advantage in a potential second-round meeting with No. 3 seed Dallas.

7 Turnovers for the Lakers in the fourth quarter after just five in the previous three, their legs starting to fatigue as Sacramento mounted a furious comeback.

13 Rebounds for Pau Gasol, who tired late while playing over 40 minutes for the second consecutive night in the absence of Andrew Bynum. He added 18 points and six assists, while Lamar Odom pitched in 22 points, eight boards and seven assists.

18 More points for the Kings than the Lakers in the fourth quarter, a 29-11 margin that turned a blowout into overtime.

36 Points for Kobe Bryant, who made 10 of his first 14 shots, then missed all but one of six before dropping the game-tying three-pointer with four seconds left. He'd add five points in OT, plus nine boards and six assists.




View More Photos


Points Bryant 36, 13-24 FG
Rebounds Gasol 13, 1 OFF 12 DEF
Assists Odom 7
Steals Artest 4
Blocks Artest, Bryant, Gasol, Odom 1


POSTGAME QUOTES



Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson

On the Kings rally

“In the fourth quarter, Kobe (Bryant) kept trying to get the foul call and we weren’t going to get that call. I think we were 2-of-18 until he hit that three. Those are the momentum swings in basketball and I think fatigue got to us at that point.

On his team’s play

“I thought we played alright. We just didn’t finish up the game. There was 2 minutes and 15 seconds in the second quarter where we didn’t play too well.”

On playing amid distractions

“We should have had it on cruise control at the end of the game and do things the right way. You have to give Sacramento a lot of credit for hustling and coming back and playing the way they played.

On the “Here We Stay” chanting in the arena after the game

“This is a fan crowd here coming out for the game. They have enthusiasm for basketball and their Kings. Unfortunately for them, they will lose the team perhaps. It’s not their fault. I hope they stay NBA fans.”







Los Angeles Lakers Guard Kobe Bryant

On the play to tie the game at the end of regulation

“Yeah, well it is a tough play to cover. It happens so quick. You have a mental lapse and it is there.”

On how he would have guarded himself on the play

“I probably would have trapped him.”

On playing the potential last game in Sacramento down to the wire

“I told Phil (Jackson) that it was fitting that it would end this way. It just didn’t seem like a blowout victory was going to happen, just because of all the history that we have. It wound up being history revisited I guess.”

 








Kings Head Coach Paul Westphal

 “What a night. A lot of emotions flying around out there and I’m not poetic enough to come near capturing them all, but I’ll just say we felt the love Sacramento. I was very proud of our team. Very proud of the progress we’ve made this year. I’m really sorry the season is over.”

What would you say to Kings fans that weren’t in the building tonight:
“We felt them too. We felt the whole area. It was an incredible thing to be a part of. The only regret we have at all is that we didn’t find some way to pull it out.”

On the character of the team:
“I’m just going to say I’m very proud of our team. We have the framework in place to really make a big leap in the future, and there are so many question marks that go into the future and where that will be? But I’m very proud of the way this team finished the season, very hopeful and very optimistic about the future. We’ve been optimistic all year, and there have been reasons, not excuses, why it took us awhile. But if you go through it from the ownership, to Geoff Petrie and Wayne Cooper and their staff in the front office, and the coaching staff and the players; we knew what the deal was, two years ago when we got this job, we knew that it was a rebuild. We have enjoyed consistent honesty and support from ownership and consistently being on the same page with the front office. Knowing that even though everybody wants it to happen overnight, it usually takes time. It’s something I think everybody that’s been a part of this journey so far, continues to be optimistic about, and I’m proud of the effort and we’re proud of the way we represented this city, and this area. And again, we don’t know if we will be able to continue doing that, or if we’ll have to move someplace else. We really felt it tonight. We know that through the ups and downs, this area has supported this team and we think we’re coming out of one of the down times. Like I said, I’m sorry the season ended.”

What went through your mind when you stepped onto the court tonight, as far as the fans go:
“I’m just trying to say how much we appreciate them.”

On the fourth quarter run, and not getting caught up with the fans:
“Well, that’s what it’s all about, getting caught up in the atmosphere. How many times are you going to outscore the Lakers 29-11? We felt it, they felt it, it was amazing. It was something you have to experience, you can’t describe it.”

On DeMarcus’ technicals:
“Yeah but I’m not going to talk about that tonight. This night is a lot bigger than DeMarcus getting a technical. Sorry.”

“Thanks everybody, for just the way you’ve treated everybody this year. It’s been a pleasure.”






Jason Thompson

Emotions…
“It’s tough. I’ve been here three years, ever since I’ve been drafted. They’ve been taking me with open arms. It’s a great feeling to be out here and I heard everyone here say we don’t want to leave. Here we stay, literally.”

Making the run…
“It’s the energy, just the feeling of the crowd. There is no way it could have ended like that. For the most part we came back from 20 points back and had the lead with nine seconds left. You have a guy that’s been through thick and thin and he makes big shots. It’s tough with Kobe. Got to give it to our guys since we played tough defense and had a hand in his face. He just hits big shots.”

Message to fans…
“I love them to death. If it was up to me I would want to be here and the team obviously wants to be here as well. At the end of the day if guys aren’t here and the team is not here it’s a business. Just like any other business. Here We Stay is the motto but hopefully when I say my goodbyes it’s going to be short term as opposed to long term.”

 



Tyreke Evans

Ending the season…
“It was tough for us out there, especially trying to get a win out there when it was the last game of the season against the world champs. We played hard.”

Tonight’s crowd...
“The crowd was amazing. It felt like a playoff game out there. We fought back. They had the lead on us but we fought back. We never quit.”

Fans in Sacramento…
“They have been great. They’ve been supporting us since day one. I’ve been here, this is where I got drafted and my first year in the NBA. I will never forget it. They have been good fans since day one.”

Message to the fans…
“They’ve been great fans. If we’re here or not I will always remember this city. I love the Sacramento Kings and I hope we stay.”


Marcus Thornton

Fan support…
“Great. The word that I use to describe them is great. With all of the hoopla about where we’re going to be, it’s great that they came out and supported us like this. There’s nothing like it.”












LAKERS VS. KINGS GAME PREVIEW

By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN, STATS Senior Writer

All of a sudden, the Los Angeles Lakers have major concerns other than their poor play down the stretch after an injury to center Andrew Bynum.

Concern that the Sacramento Kings could be moving south seems to have been replaced by the growing sense that it will soon become reality.

The Lakers will be dealing with the aftermath of another injury to Bynum as they try to clinch the Western Conference's No. 2 seed Wednesday night in what will likely be the Kings' final game in Sacramento.

Los Angeles (56-25) ended a five-game skid with Tuesday's 102-93 home win over San Antonio, but it may have come at a cost. Bynum fell to the court after stepping on DeJuan Blair's foot during the second quarter and the shot-blocking 7-footer will have an MRI on Wednesday.

Bynum was hurt while getting back on defense, awkwardly tumbling to the court and nearly doing the splits while putting an inordinate amount of weight on his right knee.

Coach Phil Jackson acknowledged that Bynum could be out for at least a few games.

"We've seen him go down a couple of times that have been debilitating, so there's a concern," Jackson said. "It was kind of a freaky play, but they usually are, and that's what basketball is."

The Lakers need a victory or a loss by Dallas to New Orleans on Wednesday to gain the No. 2 seed. Los Angeles has been the top seed in winning the NBA title the past two seasons.

Jackson has won eight of his 11 titles as the conference's top seed. One of the seasons he didn't need a No. 1 seed to win it all brings back painful memories to Sacramento fans - 2001-02.

The Kings were the No. 1 seed that season and lost a dramatic West finals to the Lakers in seven games. It was part of an era when the franchise reached the playoffs eight straight times from 1999-2006.

Sacramento (24-57) hasn't been back to the postseason since, and likely won't be hosting NBA basketball again after 26 seasons in California's capital.

Anaheim's City Council issued the bonds needed to entice the franchise and new federal trademark rights have been requested.

The Kings' owners, the Maloof brothers, have until Monday to officially file for permission to relocate, and a vote would likely come within weeks of that request. Approval by a simple majority of the owners is virtually guaranteed.

"It's going to be a basketball funeral," said Robert Crashner, a Kings season-ticket holder for almost a decade. "Unless a miracle happens, I guess it's going to be over."

The Lakers have won eight of their last nine against the Kings, and four straight in Sacramento. The Kings could be without high-scoring guard Tyreke Evans, who sat out Monday's 120-112 loss to Oklahoma City with a sprained left ankle.

Still, Sacramento wants to give its fans a memorable send-off.

"If it's the last game in this building, we want to close it out with a win over the Lakers and if it's something that will catapult us to next season here, we want to win it with a win over the Lakers," coach Paul Westphal said.



Copyright 2011 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




Lakers Matt Barnes (sore right knee) is out.
Steve Blake (chickenpox) is out.
Kobe Bryant (sprained left ankle) will play.
Andrew Bynum (hyperextended knee) is out.
Devin Ebanks (stress fracture, left tibia) is out.
Pau Gasol (bone bruise, right knee) will play.
Theo Ratliff (left knee surgery) is questionable.

Hassan Whiteside (surgery, partial patellar tendon tear, left knee) is out.



11/03 - LAL @ SAC W 112-100
12/03 - SAC @ LAL W 113-80
01/28 - SAC @ LAL L 95-100
04/13 - LAL @ SAC


The Kings have won six of their last ten games and are still playing hard down the stretch of this season. It is a positive statement about the Sacramento coaching staff that with all the chaos surrounding the team's possible move to Anaheim and the fact that they have been out of playoff contention for a while the team is still competing. They are basically running much of the same offense that they ran when they beat us in January. The main difference is that they are trying to play at a much faster pace. Once again our transition defense will be put to the test. One of the challenges that Sacramento has faced is the fact that they have had a number of different starting lineups throughout the season (due to injury, trade etc). That makes it very difficult for a young team. Tonight will feature their 4th different starting lineup against us in the four games we played.

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GAME NOTES

SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers lead their season series with Sacramento 2-1 after sweeping last season's series 4-0. The two franchises have met 276 times overall and 112 times since the Kings moved to Sacramento. The Lakers lead the all-time series with the Kings 189-87 (81-31 vs. Sacramento). In their last 10 meetings, the Lakers are 8-2 against Sacramento but had their 8-game win streak against the Kings snapped in their last contest. The Lakers are 16-8 all- time against the Kings at STAPLES Center and 7-3 in their last 10 home contests. The Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 games at ARCO Arena including an 8-1 mark in their past nine trips to the state capitol. Earlier this season (12/3/10 at STAPLES Center), the Lakers defeated the Kings by 33 points, their largest victory over the Kings since a 33-point win 12/22/95. On 11/3/10, Kobe Bryant recorded his 17th career triple-double while passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the franchise leader for career minutes in a 112-100 Lakers victory at ARCO Arena. Two seasons ago, on April 6, 2008, the Lakers defeated the Kings by 22 points, their largest victory in Sacramento since a 23-point win 3/23/89. In 2006-07, the Lakers were whistled for 42 personal fouls in their 132-128 overtime victory January 4, 2007 at ARCO Arena, establishing a new Los Angeles era franchise record. The Lakers last committed 42 personal fouls back on 2/17/57 versus St. Louis when the team was still in Minneapolis. Additionally, the Lakers and Kings combined for 80 personal fouls and 102 free throws on the night, which was, at the time, the most fouls committed by two teams in more than seven years. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 29-14 against the Kings. In 53 career games against the Kings including 45 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 26.5 points. The Lakers and Kings haven't met in the postseason since the 2002 Western Conference Finals. While Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher both played in that series, no Kings remain on the current roster from that playoff series.






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