Kings 113, Lakers 97

Martin McNeal, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings used a strong third quarter and solid fourth period to run away from the Los Angeles Lakers 113-97 Wednesday night at Sleep Train Arena.
A crowd of 15,249 watched the Kings (3-8) end their five-game losing streak by shooting 65 percent in the third quarter.
Sacramento led by as many as 11 points (69-58) in the third, but Kobe Bryant helped the Lakers close within four points entering the fourth.
Bryant scored 38 points to lead all scorers, but he couldn't do enough because he received little scoring help. Lakers forward Pau Gasol scored just eight points, and center Dwight Howard had just seven.
On the other side, the Kings had six players in double figures, led by Marcus Thornton, who came off the bench to score 23. Tyreke Evans finished with 18 points, while Chuck Hayes also contributed to Sacramento's season-high point total with 10 points.
Thornton had 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the Kings hold off the Lakers' charge.
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins endured a foul-plagued night but made two huge drives to stunt a Los Angeles rally.
The Kings grabbed a 42-41 halftime lead on 6-foot runner by Jason Thompson with 0.8 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Jimmer Fredette played just eight seconds of the half, but he assisted on Thompson's basket.
Bryant led all scorers with 15 points in the half, but he was the lone Laker to score more than six points.
Kings small forward John Salmons led the team with 13 first-half points. That was already a season-high for Salmons, who didn't score in the second half. Thornton had 11 points before halftime.
It wasn't a good half for either team's high-scoring center. Howard scored just two points, while Cousins went scoreless in the first half.
The Kings opened the second quarter by scoring the first 11 points to grab a 26-21 advantage. That brought Bryant, Metta World Peace and rookie Darius Morris off the bench.
Bryant quickly scored six straight points and nine of the team's next 11 as the Lakers regained the lead.
The Lakers held a 21-15 at the end of one quarter. It was the ninth time in 11 games Sacramento trailed after the first period. The 15 points were a season low in the first quarter for the Kings. Twice, they'd scored 18.
Both teams experienced first-quarter foul trouble. Bryant picked up two early fouls, while Sacramento's Evans and Cousins were whistled for two fouls apiece in the period.
Cousins gestured to coach Keith Smart not to replace him, but he was rebuffed and replaced by Hayes.
NOTES: Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said Wednesday he'd made it through his first game on the bench Tuesday night "just fine" after a victory over the Brooklyn Nets. D'Antoni is recovering from knee surgery. He replaced Mike Brown as the Lakers' coach Nov. 12, but he wasn't healthy enough to join the team until Tuesday night. ... Lakers guard Steve Nash still is recovering from a fractured fibula suffered Oct. 31 during a collision with Portland rookie guard Damian Lillard. ... Wednesday's game was the last of a four-game homestand for the Kings.

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