Kobe Bryant drives on Tyreke Evans on Wednesday night. (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images )
Kings 113 - Lakers 97 (final)
The Lakers fall to 0-3 on the road, dropping their visit to the Sacramento Kings 113-97.
Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Lakers looked like they had tired legs. The team's bigs struggled on both sides of the ball. Pau Gasol scored just eight points on 3-10 shooting. Dwight Howard scored seven on 2-4. The Kings repeatedly and effectively isolated against Gasol late in the game.
Howard is often the reason why the Lakers are a poor-free throw shooting team but he wasn't at fault Wednesday night. Dwight hit three of four attempts but his team missed a total of 12 (27-39). Turnovers (20), including seven from Kobe Bryant and five from Darius Morris, regularly fed Sacramento's fast break.
With Howard and Gasol quiet, the Kings dominated points in the paint.
Bryant managed to shoot the Lakers back into the game more than once (38 points on 11-20 shooting, 5-9 threes, 11-13 (free throws) but it was wasn't enough. Jodie Meeks finally found his touch, scoring 15 points on 5-9 shooting.
Instead the Kings improved to 3-8 with six scorers in double figures. Marcus Thornton led Sacramento with 23. The Kings shot 54.3% from the field while holding the Lakers to 44.6%
The Lakers returned to .500 (6-6) before visits to Memphis and Dallas on back-to-back nights later this week.
King 73 - Lakers 69 (end of third quarter)
Bryant was determined to keep his team in the game, nailed multiple three-pointers to overcome an 11-point deficit to the Kings.
The Lakers looked like a team that played a big game the night before (against the Brooklyn Nets), especially big men Howard (four points) and Gasol (six).
The Kings shot 52.5% from the field through three quarters while the Lakers hit just 42.9%. Turnovers were a problem for both teams, the Lakers with 16, Sacramento with 15.
Bryant led all scorers with 31 but only two other Lakers were in double figures -- Morris and World Peace had 10 each. The Kings were led by Tyreke Evan's 14 points.
Kings 42 - Lakers 41 (halftime)
The Lakers lost their opening night battle against the Dallas Mavericks because they turned the ball over and missed free throws. Nearly a month later, with a brand new coach, some of the same problems remain.
Sacramento opened the second quarter on an 11-0 run. The Lakers responded with eight-straight points, after Coach Mike D'Antoni brought back Bryant from a rest on the bench.
At the half, the Lakers were shooting 44.1% from the field but only 40% from the line (6-15) and had 13 turnovers. The Kings shot 46.3% from the field with 10 turnovers.
Bryant was the game's leading scorer with 15 points but he also had five turnovers. John Salmons (13) and Thornton (11) led the Kings.
Howard had a quiet half with two points on just two field goal attempts for the Lakers.
Lakers 21 - Kings 15 (end of first quarter)
On the second night of a back-to-back, the Lakers opened their visit to Sacramento with a six-point, first-quarter lead against the Kings.
It wasn't an especially smooth 12 minutes for the Lakers, who shot 46.7% from the field, hit half of their 10 free throws and turned the ball over five times. It was their defense that gave them an early cushion, forcing the Kings to shoot 31.6% from the field.
Sacramento got an early boost from Salmons (nine points) but foul trouble (DeMarcus Cousins, Evans and Aaron Brooks) forced Keith Smart to go deep into his bench.
Bryant and World Peace led the Lakers with four apiece. For the second night in a row, Bryant picked up two early fouls but stayed in the game without picking up a third.
The Lakers look for their first road win in Sacramento against the Kings (2-8).
While the Lakers (6-5) handled Sacramento with relative ease earlier in the season, the Kings were down Cousins and Thomas Robinson (suspension). In Sacramento, on the second night of a back-to-back, should be far more challenging, even after taking into account the Kings' record.
Morris is expected to get another start at point guard as the Lakers wait to get Steve Nash (leg) and Steve Blake (abdominal strain) back from injury.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Kings.
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You can email Eric Pincus at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.