Bryant, Lakers down Kings, finish with bangDec 13, 2008 - 7:51 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- An impromptu team meeting was meant to help the Los Angeles Lakers clear up some recent deficiencies. While it didn't fix all the flaws, the get-together proved to be constructive.
Kobe Bryant scored 32 points and came up large down the stretch for the Lakers, who finished the game with a flourish to secure a 112-103 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday.
Pau Gasol finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who staved off a late comeback bid to avenge a 113-101 loss to the Kings three days earlier.
"It was the right time to do it," Gasol said of the meeting called by veteran Derek Fisher earlier in the afternoon. "The sooner the better, so we are all aware of what's going on. We talk, we share our feelings and we're all on the same page."
Bryant was coy in his response when asked about the gathering, neither confirming or denying what took place. However, he did agree that the Lakers showed signs of improvement after the sluggish showing to begin the week.
"We did better playing against them," Bryant said. "In Sacramento, we weren't able to contain them in any stretch. In all (on Friday), we did OK."
After trailing by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, the Kings suddenly found themselves within three points with three minutes to play thanks to Spencer Hawes.
Hawes scored seven straight points in the fourth, including a 3-pointer that cut the deficit to 101-98.
"We found ways to keep (the Kings) in the game," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We did it through a variety of things - we missed foul shots, giving up fouls at the end of the quarters.
"Let's not take anything away from Sacramento, but we really kept them in the game."
But after Derek Fisher converted a jumper and Beno Udrih missed a pair of free throws on the other end, Bryant closed it out in style.
Bryant hit a short jumper off the glass and followed it up on the ensuing possession with a three-point play as he was fouled while throwing down an emphatic dunk. His ensuing free throw made it 108-98 at the 1:36 mark.
"They are a great basketball team and they made some plays down the stretch, and that's really it," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "I thought we played them pretty even, pretty much for the whole game."
John Salmons led the way with 26 points and Udrih added 17 for Sacramento, which committed 17 turnovers, leading to 24 points going the other way.
"I think, in the past, we would have quit before the game was over," Salmons said. "We kept fighting and we were right there with them. At this point, we have to take anything that we can get."
Tight throughout the opening half, the Lakers gained some separation with an 18-3 run in the third.
With the score even at 58-58, the Lakers surged ahead, 76-61, on Bryant's 3-pointer as the Kings were held without a field goal during a six-minute stretch.
Trevor Ariza added 13 points and Andrew Bynum chipped in with 10 rebounds for Los Angeles.
The Kings, who have lost nine of 10 overall, had handed the Lakers their third - and worst - defeat of the campaign earlier in the week.
LA LAKERS 112 FINAL
Dec 13 1:16 AM
LA LAKERS 84 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 13 12:41 AM
LA LAKERS 52 HALFTIME
Dec 12 11:53 PM
LA LAKERS 33 0:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Dec 12 11:19 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