101 - 124 Final
  for this game

Lakers rout Kings, clinch top seed in West

Apr 16, 2008 - 6:53 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) - Pau Gasol scored 22 points as the Los Angeles Lakers secured the top spot in the Western Conference and home-court advantage throughout the postseason with a 124-101 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

MVP-candidate Kobe Bryant overcame a rough shooting night to finish with 20 points as the Lakers closed out the regular-season with four straight victories.

This is the 14th time in franchise history that the Lakers have secured the No. 1 seed, netting a total of seven NBA crowns in the process. The last time it happened was in 2000 - and a title ensued.

"We talked about it in training camp - our goal was to win the championship," Bryant said.

Los Angeles (57-25) owns a half-game lead and a tiebreaker in the standings over the New Orleans Hornets (56-25), who conclude their season on Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks.

"We're definitely satisfied with (the top spot), but not fulfilled because it doesn't give you any rings or championships," Gasol said. "We have to play our best throughout the playoffs."

The Lakers are set to play either the Mavericks or the Denver Nuggets in Western Conference quarterfinals.

"They have the potential in that locker room to (win it) all," Kings coach Reggie Theus said.

Jordan Farmar beat the first-half buzzer with a 3-pointer to give Los Angeles a 62-48 cushion, which would grow after the teams' emerged from the locker rooms.

The Lakers buried the Kings with a 22-7 run to end the third quarter.

Sasha Vujacic and Vladimir Radmanovic nailed consecutive 3-pointers before Radmanovic stole the ball and finished with a dunk during a 34-second span in the third, as the Lakers forged a 101-72 lead.

All the Lakers' starters sat out the final quarter with the game well in hand as the bench contributed 49 points in the contest.

"It's all about momentum," Bryant said. "You want to be playing your best basketball going into the playoffs and we feel like we're doing that, so we ended the season exactly where we wanted to."

The Kings were missing their two leading scorers Kevin Martin (right knee) and Ron Artest (left thumb) because of various injuries.

Quincy Douby and Beno Udrih scored 32 and 22 points, respectively, for Sacramento, which missed the playoffs under first-year coach Reggie Theus.

Theus had a lengthy post-game conversation with his squad in which he directed much praise.

"We just talked about the things we accomplished in terms of us as a team and I thanked them for playing so hard for me all year," Theus said. "We fought through a lot of adversity, a lot of injuries."