Los Angeles at Sacramento

Kobe's triple-double helps Lakers remain unbeaten

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- When Kobe Bryant was limited in training camp because of offseason knee surgery, the Los Angeles Lakers didn't know how long it would take for their star to find his usual form.

Apparently, five games was enough.

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Bryant had 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to help the Lakers win their fifth consecutive game to open the season, 112-100 against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

"I thought he might start off struggling to find some rhythm and he would build some rhythm as things went," teammate Derek Fisher said. "To see him play this well this early, he's on my team, so that's good for me. But that's not good for everyone else when he's playing this good this early."

Pau Gasol added 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Lamar Odom scored 18 for the Lakers, who have won seven straight against their Northern California rivals.

But Bryant was the star. He had his 17th career triple-double and first since Jan. 21, 2009, against the Clippers. He had only two triple-doubles the past five seasons, but needed only five games after offseason knee surgery to get one this season.

"I just feel better. I feel fine," Bryant said. "I'm 100 percent."

The Kings wouldn't argue.

They had won three of four to begin the season for their best start in seven years. That brought hope among Sacramento fans that a rivalry that had grown stale in recent years could be rekindled to what it was a decade ago when these teams were annually among the top contenders for a title.

But the Lakers dealt the young Kings a dose of reality that beating Cleveland, Toronto and Minnesota is a little different than going up against the two-time defending NBA champions.

"The Lakers don't even know who we are right now," coach Paul Westphal said. "We would like to build a rivalry with the best team in the world. ... We've got to win some games before there's a rivalry. They're where we want to be."

A 3-pointer by rookie DeMarcus Cousins and a basket by reigning Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans helped Sacramento get within six early in the third quarter. The Lakers responded with a 13-1 run that gave them a 79-61 lead and essentially put the game away early. Ron Artest hit a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 20 points.

The Lakers have scored at least 107 points every game this season and turned the ball over only six times against the Kings as the offense looked in midseason form.

"It's just picking up where we left off," coach Phil Jackson said. "Kind of generating energy from the championship season, going out with a lot of knowledge of what we want to do."

The Lakers got a scare late in the third quarter when Odom was hunched over in pain holding his left hand. He was tended to by the training staff and quickly returned to the game and made a 3-pointer, showing no ill effects.

Just when it appeared as if the Lakers could rest their stars on the back end of back-to-back games, the Kings rallied to cut the lead to 99-92 on a layup by Evans with just under four minutes to go.

Fisher answered with a 3-pointer and then got a steal for a three-point play that made it 105-92 with 3:14 to go. Bryant converted a three-point play when he pump-faked to draw a foul on Luther Head and then made a jumper that hit the rim and backboard before falling in to generate cheers from the large contingent of Lakers fans on hand.

"Big play Derek," Odom said. "The Yankees got Derek Jeter, we got Derek Fisher."

Evans scored 21 to lead the Kings. Francisco Garcia, Carl Landry and Beno Udrih each added 17.

Bryant hit a pair of 3-pointers over Evans in the opening minutes and then turned into a distributor. He had six assists in the first quarter as the Kings struggled defensively against the Lakers.

The Kings opened a five-point lead midway through the second quarter when Bryant went to the bench for his usual rest. He returned to convert a four-point play over Evans on his first offensive trip.

That started a 15-3 run that included seven points from Bryant and an alley-oop pass to Odom. The Kings went nearly six minutes without a basket and trailed 62-53 at halftime after Bryant fed Matt Barnes with a full-court pass for a layup at the buzzer.

"He's the best player in the game right now," Landry said. "He went out there and played hard, carried his team throughout the night and gave them the win."

Notes

  • Bryant and Garcia had words midway through the fourth quarter after fighting for a loose ball. Garcia was called for a foul on the play.
  • Bryant played 37 minutes to give him 37,528 in his regular-season career, breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's franchise record of 37,492.
  • California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson watched from courtside seats.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Did Kobe Bryant grow a third hand? No, that's Tyreke Evens futilely trying to defend the 12-time All-Star.  (Getty Images)
Did Kobe Bryant grow a third hand? No, that's Tyreke Evens futilely trying to defend the 12-time All-Star. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
L.A. Lakers 5-0 «35273020112
Sacramento 3-233202522100
LAL:K. Bryant 30 Pts
LAL:P. Gasol 11 Reb
LAL:K. Bryant 12 Ast
SAC:T. Evans 21 Pts
SAC:S. Dalembert 10 Reb
SAC:B. Udrih 8 Ast
Players of the Game
SacramentoLos Angeles

B. Udrih

K. Bryant
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
1758301012
Los Angeles
P. Gasol, PF447-158-10112422
L. Odom, PF388-120-082418
K. Bryant, SG369-229-101012230
D. Fisher, PG323-53-542311
R. Artest, SF267-110-014417
M. Barnes, SF254-91-16229
S. Blake, PG171-52-20015
S. Brown, PG120-30-02020
T. Ratliff, C70-00-01000
D. Ebanks, SF20-20-00000
D. Caracter, PF10-00-00000
L. Walton, SFDid Not Play
S. Vujacic, SGDid Not Play
A. Bynum, CDid Not Play
Totals 39-8423-28432422112
 46.4%82.1% 
Sacramento
B. Udrih, PG427-112-258317
C. Landry, PF327-143-751217
T. Evans, PG2910-171-112521
O. Casspi, SF221-50-04003
D. Cousins, C203-134-660511
F. Garcia, SG296-102-252317
S. Dalembert, C281-50-010232
L. Head, PG192-72-42426
J. Thompson, PF121-60-010132
D. Jackson, PF62-30-11004
A. Wright, SFDid Not Play
D. Greene, SFDid Not Play
H. Whiteside, CDid Not Play
P. Jeter, GDid Not Play
Totals 40-9114-23492026100
 44.0%60.9% 
Other Games
Det 85 Final
Atl 94
Char 85 Final
NJ 83
Min 86 Final
Orl 128
Ind 75 Final
Phi 101
Mil 102 Final
Bos 105
NO 107 Final
Hou 99
Dal 102 Final
Den 101
Tor 108 Final
Utah 125
SA 112 Final
Pho 110
Mem 109 Final
GS 115
OKC 92 Final
LAC 107