Lakers bounce back by beating Kings in 2 OTs
SACRAMENTO: Kobe Bryant scored 38 points and the Los Angeles Lakers bounced back from a humbling Christmas Day loss to Cleveland by beating the Sacramento Kings 112-103 on Saturday night in double overtime.
After Lamar Odom opened the second overtime with a putback basket, Bryant connected on a pair of 3-pointers to put the Lakers in front 109-103 with 2:37 left. Los Angeles outscored the Kings 11-2 in the second OT.
Beno Udrih scored 23 points for the Kings, who held the Lakers scoreless in the final 3:35 of the fourth quarter to force overtime. Tyreke Evans had 18 points, Donte Greene had 16 and Omri Casspi added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Pau Gasol had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who avoided losing consecutive games for the second time this season. Shannon Brown scored 15 points and Odom had 13 points and 15 rebounds.
The Lakers lost 102-87 to Cleveland on Friday before a national TV audience and are in a stretch of four games in five days, concluding Tuesday at home against Golden State. They played without starting forward Ron Artest, who the team said suffered a concussion on Christmas evening, falling while carrying boxes down a flight of stairs and injuring his left elbow at his Los Angeles home.
Artest was treated at UCLA Medical Center, undergoing a CT scan and receiving stitches in the back of his head and his elbow. The team said a neurologist examined Artest on Saturday. He is day to day and didn't travel with the team on its Saturday flight to Sacramento.
The youthful Kings were stagnant on offense late in the first overtime and it carried over into the second, when their only basket was a driving layup by Evans with 3:01 remaining. The Kings lost a game earlier in the week against Cleveland when they were outscored 13-0 in overtime.
After the Kings scored the first seven points in the first overtime, they went scoreless over the final 2:40 as the Lakers rallied. Gasol tipped in a missed shot by Derek Fisher from close range, tying the game at 101 with .04 seconds left.
The victory moved the Lakers (24-5) past idle Boston for the best record in the NBA.
Seemingly bothered by a sore right arm, Bryant missed all four shots in the fourth quarter, when he began passing and shooting with his left. Yet Bryant did slap the ball away Evans in the closing seconds as the Kings never got a shot off, forcing overtime with a 94-all tie.
Bryant was his usual self offensively, but it was Brown helping the Lakers pull away in the fourth quarter. Brown scored eight points over a two-minute stretch, his three-point play putting Los Angeles ahead 92-85 with 4:23 remaining.
An enthusiastic crowd, only the second sellout of the season, loudly booed the Lakers when starting lineups were announced and began chanting "Beat LA!" It was reminiscent of the crowds that cheered the Kings in the Chris Webber era, when Sacramento was typically battling the Lakers for supremacy in the Western Conference.
Despite Bryant making his first five shots and scoring 16 points in the third quarter, the Kings would not back down. It took a late 3-pointer and a breakaway dunk by Bryant in the final 1:04 to pull the Lakers even at 78 heading into the fourth.
Udrih capped off a highly productive first half by dribbling past Bryant and hitting a 3-pointer with a second left to give Sacramento a 57-55 lead. Making a rare start, Udrih scored 13 points and Greene had 11 for the Kings. Bryant had 14 points and Gasol added 12 for the Lakers, who shot 55 percent.
NOTES: Greene took an elbow from Andrew Bynum in the second quarter that opened a cut on his chin that required six stitches. Greene returned to start the second half. The teams meet again New Year's Day in Los Angeles. New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia watched the game from courtside seats.