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Capital offense by Lakers

They neglect to bring defense with them to Sacramento and look uninspired in their worst loss this season. / SACRAMENTO 113, LAKERS 101

December 10, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Bresnahan is a Times staff writer.

SACRAMENTO — The principal characters from the years-ago rivalry were no longer with the Sacramento Kings, but there the Lakers were, mired in another tough spot in front of a boisterous crowd at Arco Arena.

Somehow, it didn't matter that Mike Bibby was with Atlanta, Peja Stojakovic was with New Orleans, and Doug Christie, Chris Webber and Vlade Divac were now retired.

The Kings came to play on Tuesday night, bent on reversing the trend of an unremarkable 5-16 season.

Better make that 6-16.

The Kings stuck it to the Lakers in a surprisingly one-sided 113-101 victory.

The Lakers couldn't stop anybody from penetrating the lane, Andrew Bynum couldn't stop accruing fouls and Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof couldn't resist raising his arms and asking for more crowd noise during a timeout when it became obvious this wasn't the Lakers' night.

It wasn't even close to being their night, actually.

Kobe Bryant had 28 points on a ragged nine-for-25 shooting. Bynum had eight points and four rebounds in 21 herky-jerky minutes.

Toward the end, a small group of Lakers fans yelled, "We want Luke," a reference to seldom-used forward Luke Walton.

That was the only thing they could cheer for, although Walton never did play.

The Lakers lost on the road to a sub-.500 team for the second time in a week.

"You've got to respect your opponent to win games consistently," said Lamar Odom, who had 11 points and eight rebounds. "We came in here thinking we were going to win. We've got to come out with a lot of energy and play the right way the whole game. If we don't, then we could lose to Westchester High School."

About the only kind thing to say about the Lakers was that they didn't cough up another second-half lead.

Maybe it's because they never led by more than five, a short-lived 32-27 edge in the second quarter.

In fact, the Kings took a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter and led by as many as 18 in the last 12 minutes.

Forget Boston (20-2) for a moment. The Lakers (17-3) now trail Cleveland (18-3) for the second-best record in the league.

They also surrendered more than 100 points for the fourth time in the last five games, something that Bryant said "absolutely" concerned him.

"We've got to focus on defense pretty much exclusively and not worry about the offensive side of things," he said. "We've got to get back to that, start sharpening it up a little bit."

The Lakers and Kings had their clashes earlier this decade, beginning when the Lakers narrowly took the teams' first-round tussle in the 2000 playoffs and rising to an apex when Robert Horry hit from beyond the three-point arc in the 2002 Western Conference finals. Along the way, Bibby, Stojakovic and Webber made the Lakers sweat just about every time the teams played.

Not even Horry's heroics could have saved the Lakers on Tuesday.

The game looked as if it belonged to the Kings from the start, an early 11-2 lead eventually turning into a 56-51 halftime edge.

Bryant had six points on two-for-nine shooting in the first half, a harbinger of his night.

Afterward, when the damage was long done, Coach Phil Jackson was asked if any of the Lakers had played well.

"Pau had a fine game," he said, referring to Pau Gasol's 25-point, 12-rebound effort. He mentioned no other names.

Odom and Trevor Ariza broke out yellow headbands in the first quarter, but they failed to infuse any life into the Lakers, who had actually won four consecutive games at Arco Arena.

John Salmons and Francisco Garcia each scored 21 for the Kings, who made 49.4% of their shots.

They had lost eight consecutive games and 11 of their last 12 but left with the satisfaction of pinning the Lakers with their largest loss of the season, nosing out the Pistons' 11-point victory last month.

Kings fans, always eager when the Lakers arrive in town, were overjoyed by the victory, one even holding up a sign that read, "All we want for Christmas is to beat L.A."

Wish granted.


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