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Lakers fall to 0-2 with a 100-91 loss to the Kings

The defeat at Sacramento leaves L.A. 0-2 only two days into the season.

December 26, 2011|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Lakers guard Kobe Bryant tries to drive past Kings guard Marcus Thornton on Monday night in Sacramento.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant tries to drive past Kings guard Marcus Thornton… (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images )

Reporting from Sacramento -- Mike Brown tried to put on a brave front. He didn't care if there were cowbells in his ear.

"That's all right," the Lakers' coach said before Monday's game against Sacramento. "I lived on a farm growing up."

Noise turned out to be the least of the Lakers' problems.

They were run ragged by the younger and more determined Kings, 100-91, at Power Balance Pavilion.

Two games, two losses, two fourth-quarter fizzles.

Unlike their come-from-ahead loss to Chicago on Sunday, the Lakers couldn't quite close a 15-point gap in the fourth quarter against Sacramento. They pulled within two with 4:24 to play but failed from there.

They looked old and slow and appeared to really missed Andrew Bynum, sidelined ? two more games before his league-imposed suspension ends.

"We still have a good-enough team to compete better than what we did [Monday]. That's what's disappointing," Brown said.

The fun doesn't end yet for the Lakers. They play a third game in as many days Tuesday against Utah at Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant had 29 points on 10-for-24 shooting and Metta World Peace had one of his best games in forever, scoring 19 points on eight-for-14 shooting.

But only one other Lakers player, Pau Gasol, finished in double-figure scoring, and that was after a mere two points in the first half. Gasol had 15 points and nine rebounds.

Late in the game, when a comeback seemed more than probable, the Lakers couldn't get stops on defense.

Nor could they keep DeMarcus Cousins from taking rebounds. He beat Gasol for one after a missed Kings free-throw attempt in the final minutes and then almost beat him again to another missed Kings free-throw, drawing a foul on Gasol.

"We gave up way too many offensive rebounds," Bryant said.

Gasol and Cousins each picked up a technical foul in the final minute.

"I was tired of him getting away with a couple things," Gasol said. "He was grabbing my arms from the back so I just raised them up to clear space because he was obviously using his body to push."

Cousins then cocked his arm back as if he was going to hit Gasol but didn't follow through on the threat.

The Kings are the opposite of the Lakers, a team without a championship but with plenty of youth. Marcus Thornton (24 years old) had 27 points. Tyreke Evans, age 22, had 20 points. Cousins, 21, had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Toward the end of the third quarter, Bryant had his injured right wrist manipulated on the bench by physical therapist Judy Seto.

He didn't look happy but came back and played, scoring six points in the fourth. He said he was fine after the game.

Gasol played with protective padding on his right shoulder after sustaining a sprain while going through a screen against Chicago.

Forward Josh McRoberts entered the game with a sprained left thumb and exited early after Gasol landed on his left foot. ?X-rays were negative, and McRoberts was told he had a sprained big toe. He said he wanted to play in Tuesday's game.

The Lakers were supposed to have loaded up on shooters during the off-season but they made one of 16 three-point attempts against Sacramento. The Kings, however, made an impressive nine of 18.

"No more rings, Kobe!" yelled an ecstatic Sacramento fan in the final minute as Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof exuberantly pounded his chest from a courtside seat.

There are 64 games left in the regular season. The Lakers could use a jolt sometime soon.


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