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Lakers 103, Kings 90

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LOS ANGELES -- As all the attention centered around one question for the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night -- will they get their Phil or won't they? -- the team still had to work to do against a division rival.

However, with Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins suspended by the NBA for berating San Antonio Spurs analyst Sean Elliott after the teams' Friday matchup, the Lakers could afford a little less focus.

Los Angeles built a big lead and glided to a 103-90 at Staples Center, the team's second consecutive win since firing head coach Mike Brown.

Now the Lakers (3-4) await word from former and possible future head coach Phil Jackson, whom team officials reportedly met with over the weekend.

In two games under interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff, the Lakers played looser and more care-free, particularly a starting lineup that had been trouble gelling early in the season. On Sunday, Los Angeles starters combined for 81 points -- Sacramento's starting five had 52 -- with center Dwight Howard leading the way with 23 points and 18 rebounds.

Kobe Bryant had 20 points, six assists and six rebounds, and Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol each added 18 points for the Lakers.

Reserve Jimmer Fredette scored 18 points to lead Sacramento (2-5), and center Jason Thompson added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Howard had his first big offensive outburst of the season in the first half, notching 14 points to go along with 10 rebounds and two blocks. Bryant had 15 points at the half but shot only 5-for-12 from the field.

Behind Howard's activity on the boards, and with Cousins out, the Lakers gained a 26-16 rebounding advantage at the half.

The Lakers took control midway through the first quarter, responding to a 14-13 deficit with a 11-5 run.

NOTES: With Cousins suspended, veteran forward Travis Outlaw moved into the starting lineup for the Kings, with Thompson sliding over to center. Outlaw scored 11 points in 26 minutes. ... Lakers point guard Steve Nash missed his fifth consecutive game with a non-displaced fracture in his left leg. He is expected to be out another week. ... Los Angeles lost its season series with the Kings last season (1-2) for the first time since 2004-05. ... Sacramento rookie forward Thomas Robinson, the No. 5 overall pick in this year's draft, also missed the game because of suspension. He was penalized for a violent elbow thrown against Detroit forward Jonas Jerebko in the Kings' 105-103 win over the Pistons on Nov. 7, receiving a two-game ban from the league. He also missed Sacramento's 97-86 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.
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