Gameday: Kings 100, Lakers 91

GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Sacramento Kings 21 28 29 22 100
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 20 20 24 27 91

Kings open season with 100-91 win over Lakers


Posted Dec 27 2011 12:54AM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Marcus Thornton scored 12 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and the Sacramento Kings opened the season in grand fashion, beating the Los Angeles Lakers at home for the first time in more than three years, 100-91 on Monday night.

Tyreke Evans added 20 points, John Salmons had 13 and DeMarcus Cousins had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, who had lost nine of 10 to the Lakers and five straight at home.

Kobe Bryant scored 29 points and Metta World Peace added 19 for the Lakers, who opened the season with consecutive losses for the first time since 2002-03, putting a damper on the start of new coach Mike Brown's tenure.

Kings rookie Jimmer Fredette entered to a loud ovation midway through the first quarter and then committed a double dribble the first time he touched the ball.

Otherwise, it was nothing but a positive start to the season for the Kings, who didn't even know if they would be in Sacramento after ending last season with an overtime loss at home to the Lakers.

But the city got a reprieve when the team decided to stay for at least one more season instead of moving to Anaheim. That has led to newfound optimism that an emerging roster of young and athletic playmakers can return the Kings to prominence and the city can build a new arena to keep the team in California's capital city for the long term.

That roster gave the fans plenty to cheer about in the Kings' first season opener at home in eight years. They went on an 11-0 run around halftime and then put together a strong finish to the third quarter led by Cousins. Playing with four fouls, Cousins scored eight points in the final 3:20 of the third to give Sacramento a 78-64 lead heading into the fourth.

Thornton scored seven of the Kings' first nine points of the fourth as Sacramento maintained its lead. But six straight points by World Peace helped the Lakers cut it to 89-87 with 4:24 to play.

Thornton hit a 3-pointer to give the Kings some breathing room and Chuck Hayes had a key block on Pau Gasol leading to two free throws by Evans. The Lakers never got the deficit to less than five points after that. Thornton's jumper made it 99-89 with 1:10 to go, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Los Angeles doesn't have to wait long to get a chance for its first win in this lockout-compacted season, as the Lakers host Utah on Tuesday night with their third game in three nights to open the season.

The Kings took a 49-40 halftime lead, giving the sellout crowd even more to cheer about than just the fact that the Kings are still in town. Sacramento scored the final seven points of the half, capped by Evans' drive for a one-handed scoop with 5.9 seconds remaining.

The Kings frustrated the Lakers at the other end of the court all half, holding them to 36.4 percent shooting including an uncharacteristic 4-for-13 performance from Bryant.

Sacramento even had success matching 5-foot-9 rookie Isaiah Thomas on Bryant on a few possessions in the second quarter despite a 9-inch height disadvantage. After missing a turnaround jumper over the shorter Thomas, Bryant could only manage to chuckle on his way back down the court.

Notes: The Kings have won six straight home openers. ... Mayor Kevin Johnson, who helped keep the Kings in Sacramento this season, was presented a jersey from owners Joe and Gavin Maloof. ... Bryant got called for a technical foul in the third quarter when he threw his hands in frustration after being fouled on a dunk attempt by J.J. Hickson.

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

View More Photos

Points Bryant 29, 10-24 FG
Rebounds Gasol 9, 4 OFF 5 DEF
Assists Bryant 6
Steals Bryant/Fisher 2
Blocks Barnes 3


Mike Brown:
On tonight’s game:

“They (Sacramento) were the aggressors tonight. They had a great pick and roll going. We tried to do a better job in the second half, but when they got into isolation situations, they just drove right by us and that’s evident by the amount of free throws they took compared to us.”

On the back-to-back-to-back schedule:

"Everyone is going to have to play three straight games, and we will have to find a way through this. We have had a lot of practice, followed by a long day today, but everyone has to go through it as well.”

Kobe Bryant:
On tonight’s game:

“Frustrating about the game…We gave up too many offensive rebounds. We were one of the best teams in the league last year in offensive rebounds. It’s something we talked about."

Metta World Peace
On tonights loss:

"We have a lot of games left, a lot of games left. Everything is going ok. Everything will be great."

Paul Westphal:
On tonights game:

“It’s nice to be back. It was loud in there and our players really liked the feeling of that game. The fans were just fantastic. I thought we played a very solid game for 48 minutes at both ends of the floor - team basketball, offense, defense, moving the ball. I really liked the contributions we got from everybody that played, so it was a nice win for us.”

On how the lockout affected their game:

“I think we can still get in better condition, but it was a good performance for two weeks of practice. Especially since some guys missed some practice. I think, in general, we’re in pretty good shape, but we can get in better shape for sure, and we will."

Marcus Thornton:
When asked if he felt like he has something to prove tonight:

“Not really. We just wanted to prove something to ourselves. The hard week that we put in this week and a half, two weeks of training camp, we just wanted to get rewarded for it. I give credit to my team for coming out and playing as hard as they did.”



Despite an injured wrist, Kobe Bryant nearly led the Los Angeles Lakers to an impressive season-opening victory.

The Lakers' recent success against the Sacramento Kings lends reason to believe they have a solid chance to bounce back quickly from a tough loss.

Los Angeles continues its stretch of three games in as many days Monday night when it visits Sacramento for the Kings' opener.

Bryant tore a ligament in his right wrist in the final preseason game, but he played through the discomfort to score 28 points in Sunday's 88-87 loss to Chicago.

He also added a team-high six assists, but his eighth turnover came with about 17 seconds remaining and allowed Derrick Rose to score the winning bucket with 4.8 seconds left.

The Lakers erased a seven-point halftime deficit and held Chicago to 25.0 percent shooting in the second half, but they also blew an 11-point lead in the final four minutes.

"I saw a lot of positive things," Bryant said. "Defensively, we were terrific. We did a good job, and we're just going to get better. We're going to be very good defensively."

The loss spoiled the Lakers coaching debut of Mike Brown, who said he was happy with his team's performance up until the final few minutes.

"We played pretty good basketball until right down the stretch," said Brown, whose squad also will play Tuesday night at home against Utah. "There were a lot of things that went wrong down the stretch where we didn't quite finish the game."

Los Angeles hopes for a better result Monday when it looks for its 10th win in 11 tries against Sacramento.

Bryant has averaged 33.3 points in his last seven games versus the Kings, who seek a big turnaround after going 24-58 and missing the playoffs for the fifth straight season.

Their fans may be happy just to have a team. Declining attendance and an aging arena had ownership flirting with a move to Anaheim this offseason, but the Kings remain in California's capital city for at least one more season – and with higher expectations.

Sacramento is thinking playoffs with a healthy Tyreke Evans, a slimmer DeMarcus Cousins, explosive scorer Marcus Thornton and rookie sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette.

Evans averaged 17.8 points last season, down from 20.1 as a rookie, and also missed 25 games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but he's hoping to lead the Kings up and down the floor quickly this year.

"I think it's going to be an interesting season," Evans said. "We're going to try to run teams out of the gym."

That might be easier with Cousins coming to camp in better shape and with a positive attitude. He took his lumps as a rookie and questioned his role at times, but the big man finished with averages of 14.1 points and a team-high 8.6 rebounds.

"I know what to expect now, so it's not as much pressure," Cousins said. "Last year, I came in with a lot of pressure. A lot of people were looking for me to save the team and this and that. But I'm a lot more relaxed now and having fun, and we're going to play ball and win."

The latter part of that statement may be the most difficult. The Kings play in the highly competitive Western Conference, where the No. 8 seed in 2010-11 had 46 wins. Sacramento hasn't finished above .500 since 2005-06 – the team's last postseason appearance.

"Pretty much everybody has improved, so we've got to try to jump over several of those teams. And we think we can," coach Paul Westphal said. "I know we're going to be better, but who are we going to jump over? That's why they play the games. We'll find out."

Sacramento played the Lakers tough last season despite losing three of four meetings. The Kings upset Los Angeles on the road 100-95 on Jan. 28 behind 27 points and 10 rebounds from Cousins.

The last meeting April 13 went to overtime before the Lakers won 116-108, as Bryant scored 36 points. That was their ninth victory in 10 trips to Sacramento since 2007.

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

Game Announcements
  • Andrew Bynum will miss today's game as he serves the second game of his four game suspension. Press Release
  #3 Ebanks SF #5 Salmons  
  #6 McRoberts PF #42 Hayes  
  #16 Gasol C #15 Cousins  
  #24 Bryant SG #23 Thornton  
  #2 Fisher PG #13 Evans  

Lakers Kobe Bryant
(torn lunotriquetral ligament, right wrist) is day-to-day
Devin Ebanks
(sore right foot) is probable.
Derrick Caracter
(torn lateral meniscus, left knee) is out.

John Salmons
(right quad contusion) is day-to-day

Game 1: 12/26 - LAL @ SAC
Game 2: 03/02 - SAC @ LAL
Game 3: 04/26 - LAL @ SAC



The Lakers won last season’s series with Sacramento 3-1 after sweeping the 2009-10 season series 4-0. The two franchises have met 277 times overall and 113 times since the Kings moved to Sacramento. The Lakers lead the all-time series with the Kings 190-87 (82- 31 vs. Sacramento). In their last 10 meetings, the Lakers are 9-1 against Sacramento. The Lakers are 16-8 all-time against the Kings at STAPLES Center and 7-3 in their last 10 home contests. On the road in the state capitol, the Lakers are 9-1 in their last 10 games at Power Balance Pavilion. Last 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. Also last season (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 Sacramento. Three 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 in Sacramento, 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. In 54 career games against the Kings including 46 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 26.7 points with a high game of 51 points 1/19/06 at Sacramento. Kings forward J.J. Hickson played his first two NBA seasons (2008-10) under Lakers head coach Mike Brown in Cleveland. 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./p>

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