Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 1/19

Game 1: Thursday, January 19th
Game 2: Thursday, February 23rd
Game 3: Tuesday, March 14th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 22nd

Kings 85

(25-30, 7-19 away)

Lakers 106

(28-26, 15-10 home)

7:30 PM ET, February 23, 2006

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

1 2 3 4 T
SAC 22 25 25 1385
LAL 28 27 22 29106

Top Performers

Sacramento: M. Bibby 25 Pts, 2 Reb, 5 Ast

Los Angeles: K. Bryant 36 Pts, 6 Reb, 10 Ast, 2 Stl

Kobe's 36 points, 10 assists lead Lakers past Kings

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- For a while there, it was just like old times for the Los Angeles Lakers.

And veterans Kobe Bryant and Devean George were right in the middle of things.

Bryant and George, key members of the Lakers' three championship teams from 2000-02, scored nine points each during an 18-3 fourth-quarter run that propelled the Lakers to a 106-85 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night.

With Bryant watching from the bench with four fouls, the Kings scored the last seven points of the third quarter to cut the Lakers' lead to 77-72. That's when the game-turning spurt began.

"It felt great tonight," said Bryant, who led the way with 36 points. "The energy was just tremendous. After we would get a steal, get a stop, we would come down, score, and be hungry for another stop, another steal. It just kept snowballing, and we continued to step up our aggression level."

Bryant scored 11 points in the fourth quarter before coming out of the game for good with 3:29 remaining. He also had a season-high 10 assists, six rebounds and two steals.

Lamar Odom had 19 points, six rebounds and nine assists, and George had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers (28-26), who won for the third time in four games and snapped a three-game losing streak to the Kings.

"We've had a couple momentum shifts throughout the course of the year, and this is what we've been talking about as a group -- we want to build the momentum, because now is the time to do it," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We've shown signs of this -- the Houston game at the end of the road trip."

The Lakers had lost five of six on the road before beating the Rockets 89-79 on Feb. 8 despite the absence of Chris Mihm, who missed six games because of a sprained right shoulder before returning Tuesday night against Portland.

"Tonight was one of the best games of the year for us in terms of start to finish as far as keeping our defensive mind-set and mentality," Mihm said.

Mike Bibby scored 25 points, Brad Miller added 16 and Ron Artest had 15 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Kings (25-30), who fell 3½ games behind the Lakers in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"They played harder than us," Kings forward Kenny Thomas said. "We got back in the game, and then we let it go again."

The Lakers shot 12-of-21 in outscoring the Kings 29-13 in the fourth quarter. The Kings made their final two shots to finish 5-of-18 in the period.

Overall, the Lakers shot 41-of-78 (52.6 percent) and the Kings shot 34-of-82 (41.5 percent).

Bryant scored five points to cap a 9-3 spurt that put the Lakers ahead 69-56 with 7:13 left in the third quarter. But he picked up his fourth foul less than a minute later, sending him to the bench.

The Lakers held their own in Bryant's absence until the Kings got two jumpers from Bibby and a 3-pointer from rookie Francisco Garcia to finish the third quarter. Bryant returned at the beginning of the final period, and Los Angeles quickly took command.

"In the fourth quarter, we started missing it," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "They got easy opportunities and blew it open. We just have to do a better job on both ends of the court."

Miller made three straight baskets to give the Kings an 11-4 lead, but the Lakers scored the next 10 points in a span of 85 seconds to go ahead for good.

Game notes

The Kings are 7-6 since acquiring Artest from Indiana. ... Mihm returned to the starting lineup, replacing Kwame Brown. Mihm had six points, one rebound and three blocked shots in 27 minutes before sitting out the fourth quarter. ... Thomas had seven points and 13 rebounds in 38 minutes despite having five stitches in his forehead. He was elbowed Tuesday night during the Kings' 102-77 victory over Golden State. ... The Kings acquired Vitaly Potapenko and Sergei Monia in a four-team trade Tuesday, with Brian Skinner going to Portland. "It's not going to change the guys I play now," Adelman said. The Lakers didn't make a move as the trade deadline passed. "We had a couple things we were close. Nothing happened on them," Jackson said, adding he wasn't disappointed.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 85 106
FGM-FGA 34-82 (.415) 41-78 (.526)
3PM-3PA 6-25 (.240) 10-16 (.625)
FTM-FTA 11-15 (.733) 14-19 (.737)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-35 9-36
Assists 23 30
Turnovers 16 13
Steals 2 10
Blocks 6 5
Fast Break Points 3 14
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (1/0) 20 (3/0)
Largest Lead 7 24

Top Performers

Los Angeles
Mike Bibby Bibby
Points: 25
Reb: 2
Ast: 5
Stl: 0
Blk: 0
Kobe Bryant Bryant
Points: 36
Reb: 6
Ast: 10
Stl: 2
Blk: 0