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Worthy Is Near-Perfect--So Are Lakers, 133-111

December 29, 1985|STEVE SPRINGER | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Playing the Lakers these days is a lot like trying to disarm a time bomb.

You know the explosion could come at any moment. You only hope you're not nearby when it happens.

And you certainly don't want to be next in line after they've lost a game.

That's just where the Sacramento Kings were Saturday night, and the result was predictable: a 133-111 Laker victory before a capacity Arco Arena crowd of 10,333.

The heavy artillery was supplied by Laker forward James Worthy, who hit 14 of 15 from the floor en route to a game-high 31 points.

Worthy enhanced his near-perfect evening with a 3-for-3 performance at the free-throw line.

"The last couple of games, the shots haven't been falling," he said. "I wasn't concentrating."

He wasn't the only one having problems. The Lakers were coming off an 18-point loss to the Spurs at San Antonio Thursday night, had been held below 100 points in two consecutive games for the first time in more than a year and had been forced out of their fast-break, showtime offense in five of their last six games.

Still, the team is 25-4, is running away with its division and is competing, in the minds of some, with the best teams this league has produced.

All the same, nobody likes to lose.

"We didn't rebound the last few games," forward Kurt Rambis said. "And we haven't been playing that good defense. When you are winning easily, you are not taking care of business. When you lose, you make adjustments."

They did it all Saturday night, shooting 64% from the floor while outrebounding the Kings, 41-24, in their first visit to the new home of the former Kansas City Kings.

"We talked a lot about sustaining our running game," Laker Coach Pat Riley said, "and stopping other teams from controlling the tempo."

The defeat was the fourth straight for the Kings, a season low, dropping Sacramento's mark to 9-21.

The Kings didn't have to wait long for Saturday's explosion.

Fifty-four seconds, to be exact.

That was when Worthy took a pass from Magic Johnson and connected on a baseline jumper.

The gates were open. The game's most flawless fast break was back, as suddenly as it had disappeared.

They might as well have taken the microphone away from Chick Hearn and handed it to a race track announcer. With Johnson at the controls, the Laker offensive machine was about to become a blur.

Johnson swooped in to score on a layup.

He fed Worthy for a one-handed dunk.

He fed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for another stuff shot.

He hit Byron Scott in the corner, and the Laker guard connected on a jumper.

He hit Abdul-Jabbar with another pass, and the center scored on a sky hook.

Twelve straight points and the Lakers hadn't even warmed up yet.

For the Kings, however, the race was over before it had started.

Sacramento made one run late in the first quarter to cut the Los Angeles lead to four, but the Lakers, back in high gear, weren't about to shift into neutral again.

They ran off 13 straight points and never looked back.

Johnson finished with 20 points, 13 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. He was no slouch in the shooting department, either, hitting 8 of 11 from the floor and 4 of 4 free throws.

Abdul-Jabbar hit 10 of 13 from the floor and also wound up with 20 points.

Reggie Theus and LaSalle Thompson led Sacramento with 21 points each.

Laker Notes

The Kings will be in their temporary quarters in the Arco Arena for this season and next but must be moved into their permanent new facility by the 1987-88 season. If not, under the terms of the agreement allowing them to move from Kansas City, the franchise would revert back to the league. Current building plans call for an arena-stadium complex near the Arco Arena in the North Natomas area. Estimated capacity: 15,000-17,000. Estimated cost of the complex: $100 million. . . . Laker reserve guard Ronnie Lester is scheduled to undergo an arthrogram Monday, according to team trainer Gary Vitti. Lester irritated cartilage in his left knee when he tripped over Byron Scott in practice. But Lester can play if needed. . . . Sacramento forward Otis Thorpe cannot play until Jan. 1. He is on the injured list with a strained left knee. He was hurt on Dec. 17.

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