The Lakers lost a nailbiter 114-113 to the rival Sacramento Kings, with Kobe Bryant missing the potential game-winning fadeaway jumper as time expired. The Lakers trailed the Kings from the 4:33 mark in the first quarter until late in the fourth quarter, but Beno Udrih nailed two clutch free throws to put Sacramento up for good with 4.6 seconds left in the game. Udrih had a team high 25 point on the night for the Kings.
“Well they got us back for the win we took away from them up there in Sacramento, and played a more physical game than we did tonight, and got us to turn the ball over early in the ball game,” said Coach Jackson. “We just couldn’t make the stop at the end of the game. It was a sequence in which we just didn’t get the right matchups and do the right thing.”
Kobe Bryant led the way for the Lakers with 26 points, but was ineffective–at least in his own scoring column–in the fourth quarter, only taking two field goal attempts.
“A lot of things were going through him and he had a lot of opportunities to make plays, and I think he made a lot of good plays,” said Jackson. On the last play, Jackson said, “It was to open up the court let Kobe get into attack mode, and attack the basket basically. Spread the court out, open up the floor for him. I told him I didn’t care if he took the ball to half court, as long as he had momentum going to the basket. But he didn’t seem to be able to get a space on the floor that he wanted to attack.”
Pau Gasol also had a strong offensive game for L.A., nabbing 25 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Sasha Vujacic had 15 big points for the Lakers off the bench, including four of five from beyond the arc. However, tonight’s loss was ultimately due to the team’s defensive failure, ignited by a first half in which the Lakers have up 71 points to the Kings.
“There’s a lot of the defensive effort that did not please me, but we held them to 43 points in the second half after giving up 71 in the first half,” said Jackson. “The defense I didn’t like was transition defense after some turnovers, some shots were out in the corner and we just didn’t stop the ball and they got three or four dunks and easy baskets.”