Lakers rout Kings, clinch top seed in WestApr 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."
LA LAKERS 124 FINAL
Apr 16 1:01 AM
LA LAKERS 101 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 16 12:33 AM
LA LAKERS 62 HALFTIME
Apr 15 11:45 PM
LA LAKERS 34 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 15 11:12 PM
- NBA's 6-city tour lets US catch up in 3-on-3 basketball May 21
- Entering Hollywood, Kobe Bryant gets advice from Spielberg May 20
- Towns, Porzingis unanimously selected to All-Rookie 1st team May 19
- Cavs 9-0 in these playoffs, and joining rarefied NBA air May 18
- 76ers win NBA draft lottery, Lakers stay at No. 2, keep pick May 17
- After lots of losing, 76ers hope to win big in NBA lottery May 17
- Jim McMillian, forward on '72 Lakers title team, dead at 68 May 16
- Clarification: Stars fuel hope for mid-major prospects May 13
- LeBron says Curry deserves MVP, debates meaning of award May 11
- Stephen Curry is first unanimous NBA MVP, takes honor again May 10
- Kings' methodical coaching search ended with Dave Joerger May 10
- Kings hire coach Dave Joerger 2 days after firing in Memphis May 9