Lakers forward Metta World Peace plays tight defense on Kings point guard… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
Lakers 113, Kings 102 (final)
The Lakers defended their home court on Sunday night despite playing without Kobe Bryant, defeating the Sacramento Kings, 113-102.
In one of his best games of the season, reserve forward Antawn Jamison scored a game-high 27 points and had nine rebounds for the Lakers, who used a seven-man rotation.
Metta World Peace added 22 points for the Lakers, who shot 56.9% from the field. Both Dwight Howard and Steve Nash notched a double-double; Howard finishing with 12 points and 17 rebounds and Nash contributing 19 points and 12 assists.
The Kings, playing without center DeMarcus Cousins, went on a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter to close the deficit to two points, 90-88. The Lakers immediately responded with 12 unanswered points to re-establish a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Isaiah Thomas was a problem for the Lakers, scoring 26 points for the Kings, who shot 43.8% from the field. Sacramento center Patrick Patterson made nine of 12 shots for 22 points.
The backcourt pairing of Steve Blake (16 points and eight assists) with Nash was particularly strong for the Lakers, who improve to 36-32 on the season, the first time they've been four games over .500.
With the Houston Rockets (36-31) falling at home to the Golden State Warriors (38-30), the Lakers are now only half a game behind the seventh-place Rockets.
The Kings fall to 23-44.
Lakers 86, Kings 76 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers re-established their lead over the Kings, scoring 30 points in the third quarter on 55.9% shooting for the game.
Five Lakers are in double figures, led by Antawn Jamison with 19.
Sacramento point guard Isaiah Thomas was a force for the Kings, scoring 24 points on nine-of-17 shooting. Patrick Patterson is eight of 11 rom the field and has 20 points.
Despite the Kings' hot duo, the Lakers has held Sacramento to 43.7% shooting from the field.
Lakers point guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake combined for 23 points on eight-of-16 shooting with 19 assists.
Lakers 56, Kings 56 (halftime)
The Lakers struggled to get stops against the Kings, giving up a 10-point lead to finish the first half with the score tied.
Sacramento shot seven of 15 (46.7%) from three-point range, 47.9% from the field and committed only two turnovers in the half.
The Lakers shot 52.4% from the field but only 29.4% (five of 17) from long range.
Lakers center Dwight Howard leads the Lakers with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Kings center Patrick Patterson shot six of eight from the field to lead all scorers with 14 points.
The Lakers had only six turnovers in 24 minutes.
Lakers 33, Kings 27 (end of first quarter)
Playing without Kobe Bryant, who is sitting with a sprained left ankle, the Lakers shot 59.1% from the field in the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings to take a six-point lead.
Jodie Meeks started for Bryant, scoring five points on two-of-three shooting. Antawn Jamison led the Lakers with eight points.
The Kings, without center DeMarcus Cousins (leg), shot 45.8% from the field. They were led by nine apiece from Patrick Paterson and Tyreke Evans.
While the Lakers had only two turnovers, the Kings played the entire quarter without a single miscue.
The Lakers (35-32) return from a three-game trip to play the Sacramento Kings (23-43) at Staples Center on Sunday night.
Kobe Bryant won't be in the lineup tonight after struggling through 12 minutes on Friday with his severely sprained ankle.
With the Houston Rockets hosting the Golden State Warriors, a win would help inch the Lakers closer to seventh place in the Western Conference.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Kings.
George Hill bemoans Lakers fans taking over in Indiana
Lakers are not ready for life without Kobe Bryant
Lakers gain on sixth-place Golden State Warriors
Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.