Kings run wild in beating Lakers

first_imgLOS ANGELES – The good news for the Lakers is that center Kwame Brown’s return from an ankle injury is expected to shore up their defense for the season’s final 24 games, giving them a back-line anchor who might be the NBA’s strongest player. The bad news was that Brown’s return and the Lakers defensive resurgence didn’t exactly coincide Friday night, as the Sacramento Kings shredded their Pacific Division rival in a 116-108 victory at Staples Center. Three days off was all it took to break the Lakers’ rhythm after three impressive wins. The Kings built a 21-point lead in the third quarter and held off the Lakers despite Lamar Odom’s inspired play in the fourth. So ended the Lakers’ hope of matching a season-high with their fourth consecutive win. They also lost for the first time in eight games within the division and fell 31/2 games behind Houston in the race for fifth playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Lakers allowed a season-high 65 points in the first half and trailed by 17 points at halftime. They closed within 11 points in the third quarter before falling apart amid one breakdown after another. If the Lakers choose to watch the tape, it will start with Martin running Bryant off a screen and hitting a 3-pointer. Then there was Artest slipping past Odom to score after Miller grabbed an offensive rebound for the Kings. After that, Bibby connected on a 3-pointer and Miller drained another jumper. Miller’s 19-footer made it 83-62 with 5:20 left. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Brian Cook threw an outlet pass over Smush Parker’s head and out of bounds after pulling down a defensive rebound. The Lakers heard scattered boos in the quarter. The Lakers welcomed back Brown after he missed 27 games with a sprained ankle, but the team also disclosed that Luke Walton will see a specialist Monday about his sore ankle. Walton’s availability for the upcoming four-game road trip is uncertain. Brown played nearly all of the fourth quarter but did not score in 20 minutes. In addition, the Lakers played without Maurice Evans, who had started the previous three games but had been bothered by knee soreness all week. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img The Lakers gave up 10 straight points to start the game, as well as big runs in the second and third quarters. The task won’t get any easier on Sunday, as the Lakers face the Phoenix Suns, the NBA’s top scoring team, to open a four-game road trip. If one play summed up Friday night, it came after the Lakers had closed to 104-96 with 31/2 minutes remaining. They had to get a stop, but miscommunication allowed Kevin Martin to get open for an uncontested dunk off a Brad Miller pass which put the Kings up 10. Kobe Bryant finished with 30 points and 10 assists in 40 minutes while Odom had 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Odom totaled 13 points and nine rebounds in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers dug themselves an insurmountable hole. Mike Bibby led Sacramento with 33 points, while Martin had 20 and Ron Artest – who shaved “KINGS” into his head, with a star in the G – added 19 points. Aaron McKie hit his first six shots and had 12 points off the bench for the Lakers. last_img read more