Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Friday evening home game against Sacramento, the Lakers aiming to snap a rare four-game losing streak, 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 P. Gasol
Kings: T. Evans, L. Head, D. Greene, J. Thompson and S. Dalembert
12:00 The story of the last 24 hours in L.A. was the left hamstring of Pau Gasol, but it proved to be loose enough for the Spaniard to open the game in the starting line up. This was of course very good news for the Lakers, because neither Gasol nor the team would allow the 7-footer to play if he were actually injured more than tweaked.
7:13 The Kings opened up impressively on offense, hitting five of seven shots for an early 11-8 lead, L.A.’s defense still feeling out what Sacramento was running…
3:15 … Which didn’t take long. The Kings made only one more field goal for the rest of the quarter, finishing 7-for-19 (36.8 percent) while the Lakers managed to convert 10-of-21 shots for 21 points and an early lead. An 11-0 run, capped by a graceful left-handed layup from Odom, keyed L.A.’s offense in the period.
0:00 Stat of the quarter: L.A. outscored SAC 16-0 in the paint, getting several easy opportunities around the rim while defending their own quite well. That the lead wasn’t bigger than 21-16 was due in part to a slow pace, with the Lakers steadily controlling the action after the opening few minutes.
6:59 It didn’t take the Killer B’s long to make an early-November-like impact on this one, as Steve Blake nailed two three-pointers, Matt Barnes converted a tough transition layup and added an assist and board, while Shannon Brown scored six points of his own to help the Lakers open up a 38-24 lead.
2:54 Remember how Sacramento scored 11 points in the first four minutes of the game? They managed just 11 point in the entire second quarter up to the 2:54 mark, with L.A. taking advantage in the form of a 46-29 lead.
0:00 Behind several aggressive forays into the paint by Bryant, the Lakers took a 52-35 lead into the break, getting 16 total points from Kobe in the half, nine from Odom and eight from Gasol, meanwhile holding the Kings to just 33 percent shooting.
8:36 It was the Lakers, not the trailing-big Kings, who came out as the aggressors in the second half, quickly producing a 24-point margin at 60-36 with two hoops from Gasol and two from Bryant, the All-Stars combining for 34 points. Sacramento looked much like the team that had lost 11-of-12 games heading into this one.
5:02 The Lakers continued to look as comfortable as Matt Barnes in a tattoo parlor, opening up a 31-point lead as Odom’s layup made it 73-42, bringing the points in the paint stat up to 50-10 on the evening. Yikes. Meanwhile, Gasol dished two more pretty dimes to reach a team-high five, while Bryant’s 22 points led all scorers.
0:00 Not much new to report here folks, other than Blake adding his third three-pointer of the evening (in fact, the only three hit by L.A.) late in the period. The lead was 82-52, with the Kings failing to score 20 points in a quarter for the third straight time. Bryant and Gasol had checked out of the game with three minutes remaining in the third, and were getting ready for the always welcome fourth quarter ice wraps.
8:34 L.A.’s fourth quarter bench unit hasn’t been its best defensive group, but, as witnessed by Brown’s (unintentionally) flagrant 1 foul on Omri Casspi’s breakaway dunk, they were playing hard despite a margin still at 30 points.
4:00 L.A.’s two second round picks took full advantage of their collective playing time in the fourth, with Derrick Caracter increasing his totals to 10 points with four rebounds, and Devin Ebanks notching seven quick points, all thanks to transition finishes.
2:35 Even in garbage time, L.A.’s coaches are paying attention, and they were happy to see Sasha Vujacic go six minutes without attempting a single shot, instead moving the ball (two assists) and rebounding (two boards) before finally swishing a wide-open look. It was a small thing, perhaps, but Bryant, Odom and Fisher appreciated the Slovenian’s effort enough to get up off the bench and cheer.
Your final: Lakers 113, Kings 80, allowing L.A. to move to 14-6 on the season, snapping their four-game losing streak in emphatic fashion.