Lakers 106, Kings 100
After 48 minutes of plug-nickel basketball, the Lakers beat Sacramento, 106-100, Tuesday night in their final home regular season game at Staples Center.
Not that it mattered all that much.
The Lakers had already clinched the top seed in the Western Conference and home court advantage throughout the playoffs Friday against Minnesota. After knocking off the Kings, only the Clippers’ game Wednesday stands between the Lakers and their first-round match-up against Oklahoma City this weekend.
But after dropping six of nine, the win was a slice of momentum to build upon before facing the Thunder, which is the next time Kobe Bryant, who is battling knee, finger and ankle injuries, and Andrew Bynum, who is out with a strained left Achilles', will play.
Shannon Brown started in place of Bryant and scored 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the floor, his highest point total since a 27-point output Feb. 16 against Golden State. Brown has been suffering from a sprained right thumb that has hindered him since he injured it March 2 against Indiana.
Pau Gasol scored a game-high 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting, and Sasha Vujacic made two buzzer-beaters, the first a 27-foot three-point jumper at the end of the first quarter and the second a fading baseline jumper to beat the third quarter buzzer, on his way to 13 points off the bench.
If there was a turning point in Tuesday’s worthless contest, it came with 8 minutes, 4 seconds in the third quarter. After Kings star rookie point guard Tyreke Evans made a layup to make the score 67-66, Lakers, he argued with referee Derek Richardson after apparent frustration that a foul wasn’t called.
Richardson whistled Evans for back-to-back technical fouls, ending Evans’ rookie season, and the Lakers went on a 10-1 run after that call to go up 77-67 with 3:27 left in the third – at which point they cruised to win No. 57.
Jordan Farmar scored four points on one-of-three shooting from the floor, but left the game in the second quarter with a strained left hamstring. Farmar won’t play against the Clippers on Wednesday, a team spokesman said.