Final / OT
7:30 PM ET, January 19, 2006
Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Only a superb team effort was going to beat Kobe Bryant, and the Sacramento Kings have played consummate team ball against their star-powered rivals since Francisco Garcia was in high school.
After playing a key part in a thrilling win over the Los Angeles Lakers, the Sacramento rookie finally understood the importance of role play in the NBA.
Brad Miller scored 16 points and forced overtime on a 3-pointer with 4.1 seconds left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight game in a thriller despite Bryant's best game ever against the Lakers' longtime rivals.
Garcia's eyes still were wide after a night spent guarding Bryant with tight defense that probably prevented a huge game from becoming historic. Garcia also hit the Kings' final field goal, burying a 3-pointer with 54 seconds left in regulation.
"Everybody on the floor had to do something, because Kobe is an incredible player," Garcia said after his first experience guarding the NBA scoring leader. "It's different in the NBA. One guy isn't going to beat a guy like Kobe. ... I just tried to get open, play my game and stay close to him. It was everybody's effort."
Bryant got 21 points in the first quarter and 12 more in the final 5:43 of regulation, also grabbing nine rebounds and making all 13 of his free throws to extend his franchise record to 48 straight. Bryant has scored at least 37 points in eight of the last nine games, and he surpassed Magic Johnson's franchise-record 46 points against the Kings in 1986.
"I don't care about 50 points," Bryant said. "It doesn't matter at all. ... Weird things happen in the NBA. This was one of them."
The Kings' comeback was only a bit surreal. They fell behind 102-97 with 35 seconds left on Lamar Odom's 3-pointer -- but Sacramento scored seven quick points, tying it at 104 on Miller's 3-pointer from straightaway. Odom missed a long shot at the buzzer.
"I don't know what Brad was doing," Bibby said. "It went down, and that's all that matters. We kept fighting, and we didn't give up. I kept telling everybody the game's not over yet, and we did what we had to do in overtime."
Odom scored 16 points but fouled out in the opening minute of overtime, and Sacramento went up 111-104 on Bibby's sixth 3-pointer and consecutive baskets by Thomas, who had 16 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high 10 assists -- including the last one to set up Garcia's 3-pointer.
Odom and Smush Parker berated official Dan Crawford after the final buzzer in Los Angeles' second loss in eight games. The Lakers have lost in five of their last six visits to Arco Arena, the site of several memorable playoff meetings early in the decade.
"I'll take the blame for that," said Odom, who was called for a charging foul with 22 seconds left in regulation. "I should have let the clock run down more. It was a flop call on a team that was dead. I gave them life. He drew the charge, that's what Mr. Crawford saw. It gave them momentum."
Bibby scored 24 points in the second half of his second 40-point game in five days, and the Kings got a boost from the limited return of injured starters Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Peja Stojakovic. Last-place Sacramento has won four of five before embarking on a six-game East Coast trip.
Bryant played the entire first quarter and demanded the ball on almost every possession. He finished the first half with 26 points, but grew visibly frustrated with his teammates -- particularly Odom -- when they didn't pass to him every time down the court.
Luke Walton got an earful from Bryant after the third quarter ended, but Garcia's defense was the real reason for Bryant's relative ineffectiveness. Bryant overcame that defense in the fourth quarter, leading Los Angeles to an eight-point lead before the frantic final minutes.
Abdur-Rahim scored 11 points with his mouth wired shut, making a surprisingly effective 19-minute return to the Kings' lineup just 3½ weeks after his jaw was broken by Portland's Zach Randolph. Stojakovic also returned to the lineup after missing three games with a protruding disc in his lower back, scoring 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting.
Vlade Divac attended his second straight game at courtside, again receiving a standing ovation. Divac spent his first seven NBA seasons with the Lakers, played six more in Sacramento and rejoined the Lakers in 2004, but played just 15 games last season before retiring. ... Kings owner Joe Maloof, whose frequent absences from his courtside seat prompted murmurs in Sacramento, cheered on the Kings from midcourt. Maloof has watched several recent games from a suite.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||41-93 (.441)||41-88 (.466)|
|3PM-3PA||10-32 (.313)||12-26 (.462)|
|FTM-FTA||17-20 (.850)||24-28 (.857)|
|Fast Break Points||8||7|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||29 (0/0)||22 (0/0)|