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Sacramento at Los Angeles

Kobe scores 38, Lakers defeat Kings

CBSSports.com wire reports

LOS ANGELES -- With a 20-point lead over lowly Sacramento in the fourth quarter, perhaps the Los Angeles Lakers started thinking 36 hours ahead to a visit from the Miami Heat.

The Kings capitalized on that wandering focus for an impressive comeback until the Masked Mamba finished them off.

Kobe Bryant scored 38 points in his second straight big game in a protective mask, and the Lakers blew most of a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter before holding on to beat Sacramento 115-107 Friday night in their highest-scoring performance of the season.

Bryant warmed up for Miami's Sunday afternoon visit with eight rebounds, three assists and 13-for-24 shooting in his second game since Dwyane Wade gave him a concussion and a nasal fracture with a hard foul in the All-Star Game.

Kobe wasn't thinking about the guy who broke his nose while making sure the Lakers didn't stub their toes against Sacramento.

"We played well, [but] we didn't come in with the right sense of urgency and focus in the fourth quarter, and it almost cost us," Bryant said.

Andrew Bynum had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who improved to 16-1 at home since losing their season opener on Christmas. Pau Gasol added 15 points, and Metta World Peace scored eight of his 15 points in the final five minutes when the Lakers finally countered a lengthy rally by Sacramento's reserves.

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"We were doing good things offensively," Gasol said before recalling the Lakers' similar fourth-quarter woes two nights earlier against Minnesota. "But the last two games, we got such a big lead, we stopped doing the things that got us such a big lead. Against Miami, we can't afford to let up at any time."

Francisco Garcia scored 18 points to lead seven Kings in double figures in their eighth loss in 10 games.

After Sacramento trailed 94-74 early in the fourth quarter, its reserves scored 11 consecutive points during a 21-6 run that trimmed the Lakers' lead to 100-95 on Jimmer Fredette's 3-pointer with five minutes to play.

"It was a great confidence-builder for myself, but ultimately we wanted to win the game," said Fredette, who scored all 12 of his points in the fourth quarter. "We were coming back, and we had a few things that didn't go our way, and a couple of shots that didn't go down that could have put us really close."

World Peace and Bryant both hit key 3-pointers down the stretch to counteract big baskets by Fredette and John Salmons, who had eight of his 12 in the final period.

Marcus Thornton scored 15 points for the Kings, who have lost two straight since California's capital city announced its financing plan for a $391 million downtown arena to replace Arco Arena. Sacramento couldn't keep up with the Lakers despite committing just five turnovers, their fewest in a game since Dec. 1, 2007.

"These guys could have folded and said, `It's over, we're going to roll over,"' Sacramento coach Keith Smart said. "But they played hard and got themselves back in the game, and that's why this group is going to be OK. This group is going to come around as we continue to get familiar with each other, and they're going to play hard every single night."

Two nights after scoring 31 points in a win over Minnesota in his first game in the mask, Bryant had 31 points through three quarters against the defense-deficient Kings. The NBA's leading scorer had 20 points in the first half, but didn't score in the fourth until hitting a rally-killing 3-pointer with 2:43 to play.

Bryant is sticking with his clear plastic mask until his nose is less tender, although he says the protection feels like "a sauna on my face."

The mask hasn't affected his vision or his shooting stroke: He's 20 for 24 on free throws since donning the mask, even though he banked in his last foul shot with 9.5 seconds left.

"The mask felt fine," Bryant said. "It felt fine last game, it felt fine tonight."

The Lakers have had trouble with their upstate rivals in recent months, starting with Sacramento's 100-95 win at Staples Center in January 2011 to snap a six-game skid in the series. The Kings then beat the Lakers at home on Dec. 26 while Bynum served a suspension, sending Los Angeles off to a 0-2 start to the season.


  • Before the game, Sacramento announced forward J.J. Hickson will miss the next three games to rest a bruised hip. The fourth-year backup was hurt during the Kings' loss to the Clippers earlier this week.
  • Derek Fisher got a technical foul for arguing a foul called against him after Isaiah Thomas hit him in the head with his elbow and then pulled Fisher down to the court in the third quarter.
  • Eddie Murphy watched the game from courtside.
Copyright 2016 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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In his second straight game in a protective mask, Kobe Bryant scores 38 points in the Lakers' victory over the Kings.  (Getty Images)
In his second straight game in a protective mask, Kobe Bryant scores 38 points in the Lakers' victory over the Kings. (Getty Images)
Sacramento (12-24)26321633107
L.A. Lakers (22-14) «31342723115
SAC:F. Garcia 18 Pts
SAC:D. Cousins 13 Reb
SAC:I. Thomas 6 Ast
LAL:K. Bryant 38 Pts
LAL:A. Bynum 15 Reb
LAL:D. Fisher 7 Ast
Players of the Game
SacramentoLos Angeles

Francisco Garcia

Kobe Bryant

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I. Thomas, PG276-122-236114
M. Thornton, SG255-113-332315
T. Evans, PG247-140-052114
D. Cousins, C225-160-0131310
J. Thompson, PF171-81-23043
D. Greene, SF322-100-04315
C. Hayes, PF252-30-04454
J. Salmons, SF245-90-012012
F. Garcia, SG237-112-232318
J. Fredette, PG215-90-011112
T. Outlaw, SFDid Not Play
J. Hickson, PFDid Not Play
T. Honeycutt, SFDid Not Play
H. Whiteside, CDid Not Play
Totals 45-1038-9402322107
Los Angeles
A. Bynum, C408-133-4152119
K. Bryant, SG3713-2411-1483038
P. Gasol, PF376-113-474115
M. World Peace, SF325-113-343215
D. Fisher, PG303-30-04756
S. Blake, PG190-21-11411
T. Murphy, PF181-20-06012
M. Barnes, SF164-90-021110
A. Goudelock, SG114-70-01119
J. Kapono, SGDid Not Play
L. Walton, SFDid Not Play
J. McRoberts, PFDid Not Play
D. Morris, PGDid Not Play
D. Ebanks, SFDid Not Play
Totals 44-8221-26482513115
Other Games
Mem 102 Final
Tor 99
Mil 94 Final
Atl 99
NJ 94 Final
Bos 107
Chi 112 Final
Cle 91
Dal 92 Final
NO 97
Den 117 Final
Hou 105
GS 83 Final
Phi 105
Char 72 Final
SA 102
Miami 98 Final
Utah 99
LAC 78 Final
Pho 81