Below is a running diary of L.A.’s second road contest of the season, in Sacramento, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Kings: Beno Udrih, Tyreke Evans, Omri Casspi, Carl Landry, DeMarcus Cousins
12:00 Something you can always count on in Sacramento is the “Beverly Hills 90210″ theme song being played in the background of L.A.’s starting lineup introductions. It’s meant in a derogatory way, but that show was awesome … and the Lakers have won seven of eight games at ARCO, so it hasn’t worked in a little while.
8:51 Lots of Kobe in the early goings, including two three-pointers that pushed him up to 40 percent from distance (8-of-20) on the season, and gave him five makes in his past eight attempts. A Sacramento time out came with L.A. up 10-4, which quickly became 13-4 when Fisher nailed a triple of his own. By the way, Bryant had passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the second minute of the game for the most minutes in Lakers history (37,493).
2:41 The Lakers didn’t slow down from an offensive execution standpoint, totaling 28 points while shooting 70 percent, but the Kings were nearly as hot towards 24 points of their own into a time out. A highlight from that stretch was Gasol throwing home an alley-oop from Bryant after Kobe called out the hole in Sacramento’s defense during a substitution. The Kings responded with a 5-0 run, but newly-entered Steve Blake and Matt Barnes hit respective shots, a three and a layup, both from Bryant’s hand. He’d finish with 10 points, six assists and four rebounds in a very active first quarter (35-33 L.A.), surely helped by having to play only 27 minutes the previous night.
9:37 For the first time in 136 minutes, dating back to the second quarter at Phoenix last week, the Lakers lost a lead as Luther Head hit two free throws, followed by two more hoops to make it 43-38 Sacramento. L.A. was still playing pretty good basketball, but the Kings were riding an extremely active crowd to consistently excellent energy.
7:08 One way to stop a Kings’ run is to hit an and-1 three-pointer, so that’s what Bryant decided to do immediately upon returning from a bench stint during which Sacramento outscored L.A. 10-3.
3:00 Time log from a Lakers time out: assistant Brian Shaw spends one minute talking to Fisher … Fisher and Shaw go over and talk to Jackson, who’s writing something (presumably a play) on his dry-erase board … Lakers inbound the ball, and Bryant finds Gasol for a wide-open two-handed alley-oop dunk. Impressive, wherever the credit goes for the idea. Bryant would add two free throws, set up a driving Gasol for a layup (resulting in two free throws of his own) and find high school All-America receiver Barnes for a buzzer-beating layup to allow L.A. to close the half up 62-53. Bryant was officially on triple-double watch, by the way, amassing 21 points, eight assists and five boards in the half.
9:04 It didn’t take long for Bryant to get the double part of his triple-double down, as back-to-back assists to Artest (a layup) and Odom (a three-pointer) got him to 10 assists, and the Lakers to their biggest lead at 71-59.
5:15 What a run from the Lakers, looking every bit the twice defending champs while building an 82-62 lead with a big run. Bryant was front and center, nothing yet another assist (without a turnover in the game) to feed Artest for the run-concluding three-pointer.
2:46 Just what Sacramento didn’t need: Tyreke Evans, playing with four fouls, was stripped by Artest, and then promptly fouled Steve Blake, who’d picked up the loose ball. This after Artest’s third three of the game gave the Lakers an 85-70 lead, snapping an 8-0 Kings run. The Kings promptly went on another 8-2 run, but Odom pulled up for a deep three to put the lead at 92-78 heading into the fourth quarter. Remember that Sacramento had already come back from 16- and 17-point deficits in wins over Cleveland and Toronto.
10:00 It wasn’t a great start to the fourth for the Lakers, as Blake and Brown continued a collectively rough shooting night (1-for-8 at that point) with the Kings trimming the lead to 10.
8:00 Back in to close the game came Bryant, who quickly grabbed his 10th rebound to get to his first triple-double since 1/21/09 against the Clippers with 25 points, 12 assists and 10 boards at that point. That made it hard to argue with Bryant’s assessment that he’s feeling “100 percent” from the other day.
3:55 Evans, back in the game with five fouls, got to the rim for the second straight time to convert a layup, cutting L.A.’s once 20-point lead to just seven.
3:14 Enter Derek Fisher, showing yet again why Phil Jackson has him on the floor. With Bryant and Gasol taking turns missing shots, who else but Fisher stepped up to bury a corner three, then strip Beno Udrih before converting a tough and-1 layup to restore L.A.’s lead to a safe 13 points?
The Kings managed to trim just a point off in the final three minutes, producing a 112-100 Lakers victory to move L.A. to 5-0 on the young season.