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Category: Sacramento Kings

Things to watch in Lakers-Kings game

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Some things to keep an eye on when the Lakers play at Sacramento on the second day of a three-game stretch.

1. How will Kobe Bryant's wrist hold up? I hope to keep the Kobe wrist-watch analysis in perspective, so it doesn't sound redundant. Believe me, asking Bryant how his wrist is feeling becomes as annoying to him as the reporter asking it. But it's going to be inevitable, at least for the next couple of games. As Bryant showed Christmas Day with a 28-point performance on 11-of-23 shooting, his stroke is largely unaffected -- at least to the point that he only needs to wear athletic tape around the wrist, instead of a protective device. However, his eight turnovers can be at least partly attributed to his wrist problem. The lower that number drops, the more it will indicate that Bryant is making better adjustments on his handle. 

2. The Lakers need a pick-me-up. The Lakers definitely need this back-to-back to immediately rectify blowing an 11-point lead in the final minutes of the Christmas opener. In that game, they showed that hard work alone won't be enough to beat elite opponents, and certainly won't wipe out ridiculous mistakes. The game against Sacramento gives them an opportunity to correct those and errors and feel better after collecting a win.

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Caught in the Web: Reactions to Lakers' 116-108 overtime victory over Sacramento Kings

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--The Times' Broderick Turner details the Lakers' relieved feeling after a 116-108 overtime victory Wednesday over the Sacramento Kings.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding explains why the Lakers had difficulty beating Sacramento.

--The Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones credits Kobe Bryant's late game heroics in the Lakers' win over the Kings.

--The headline in the Daily News' Elliott Teaford calls the Lakers "bipolar."

Sidebars

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan details Kobe Bryant's $100,000 fine by the NBA for uttering an anti-gay slur.

--The Times' Lance Pugmire highlights the Kings' last game at Arco Arena.

--Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins previews the Lakers-Hornets series.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin previews the Lakers-Hornets series.

--Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears details the atmosphere at Arco Arena.

--The Daily News' Teaford also highlights Bryant's fine.

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Lakers' last meeting at Arco Arena rekindles memories of contention with the Kings

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They're a decade removed from it all, but assistant Lakers coach Brian Shaw and former Kings star Chris Webber still debate. They bring up the contentious history between the Lakers and the Sacramento Kings -- meeting in the first round of the 2000 playoffs, 2001 West semifinals and 2002 West Conference Finals. They relive the subplots surrounding the series.  And Shaw makes sure to boast how the Lakers proved to be the better team, winning all playoff series en route to an NBA title.

"When we bring it up and we talk about it, I say, 'You guys looked at it as a rivalry,' "  Shaw said. "But you never beat us. How could it be a rivalry?"

Much has happened since those matchups. The Lakers' franchise fragmented after the 2003-04 season, when the team traded Shaq, fired Jackson, Derek Fisher left via free agency and Kobe Bryant was left  to lead a less talented team. The woes stacked up with a missed playoff appearance in 2005, early first-round exits in 2006 and 2007 and an offseason in which Bryant demanded to be traded. But the Lakers have since appeared in three consecutive NBA Finals and won two NBA championships after acquiring Pau Gasol and Fisher in 2008. Meanwhile, the Kings followed their elimination in seven games in the 2002 Western Conference Finals with two consecutive semifinal losses in 2003 and 2004, two first-round exits in 2005 and 2006 and are likely relocating next season to Anaheim. Many of the best elements of the Sacramento Kings -- Coach Rick Adelman, a frontline in Webber and Vlade Divac and sharp shooting in Mike Bibby and Peja Stojakovic -- have long been gone.

The Lakers' 116-108 overtime victory Wednesday against the Kings offered up major storylines -- the franchise's last game at Arco Arena, the Lakers securing the No. 2 seed and facing New Orleans in the first round and ending the season on a positive note. But the cowbells, contentious atmosphere and Bryant's late-game clutchness conjured up memories of those playoff series nearly a decade ago.

"It's fitting the game would end like this at Sacramento," Bryant told KCAL-9's John Ireland after the game. "I guess the ghosts of the past have still been haunting us."

But in the Lakers' case, they're relishing it, Shaw believes, because "there were a lot of memories that took place that made the series a lot of fun."

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Lakers make it more difficult than necessary in 116-108 overtime victory over Sacramento Kings

60885658-1Once the shot went through the basket, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant let out his signature laser-beam glare and swung out his arms.

The 23-foot jumper extended the Lakers' lead to five points against Sacramento with 1:53 remaining in overtime Wednesday night. It also appeared to be a dagger that Bryant pierced into a standing-room-only crowd in Power Balance Pavilion that clanged their cowbells and yelled as loudly as if it were Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference finals. The image provided a perfect symbolic ending to the Lakers' 116-108 victory over the Kings in presumably their last game in Sacramento.

"It's fitting the game would end like this at Sacramento," Bryant told Lakers broadcaster John Ireland after scoring 36 points on 13-for-24 shooting, referring to the Lakers' contentious history with the Kings in the 2000, 2001 and 2002 playoffs. "I guess the ghosts of the past have still been haunting us."

It fit a nice story line, with Bryant forcing overtime by hitting a pull-up three-pointer after Pau Gasol dumped the ball to him and set a screen on Kings guard Marcus Thornton, tying the score, 99-99, with 4.8 seconds remaining. But the final play of regulation shouldn't have come down to Lamar Odom picking up Thornton at the free throw line, blocking his shot and Gasol grabbing a loose ball to prevent a loss.

Sure, the Lakers ended the season with what they wanted, securing the No. 2 seeding in the West and a first-round matchup with the New Orleans Hornets, whom the Lakers swept in four games in the regular season. But it came in a way that defined too appropriately the Lakers' inconsistent 2010-11 regular season.

The Lakers enjoyed an 88-70 lead at the end of the third quarter, opened the second quarter with a 9-0 run and featured enough comfort for even newly arrived Trey Johnson to impress the team with some hustle and aggressiveness. So much for the absence of Andrew Bynum (bone bruise in right knee), Matt Barnes (sore right knee) and Steve Blake (chickenpox).

The Lakers blew a 20-point fourth-quarter lead, however, featuring Bryant missing five consecutive shots. There's no use analyzing this much further because the playoffs present a different picture. But it's only fitting that a team that's fought complacency for so long continued to do so even when the No. 2 seeding remained far from certain.

-- Mark Medina
E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant flexes after hitting a three-point shot in overtime against the Kings on Wednesday night in Sacramento. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press / April 13, 2011

Lakers Chat: Lakers vs. Kings

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Lakers vs Sacramento: Lakers beat Kings in OT; will face New Orleans in playoffs

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Lakers 116, Kings 108 (OT)

It took overtime, but the Lakers finally pulled out the victory over the Kings after blowing a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter.

The victory means that the Lakers will play the New Orleans Hornets in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, with Game 1 set for 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant had 36 points, including a three-pointer that tied the score at 99-99 with 4.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

RELATED:

Lakers-Kings photos

Lakers-Kings box score

Lakers 99, Kings 99 (end of fourth quarter)

The Lakers blew a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter and trailed, 99-96, after Beno Udrih made two free throws with 9.6 seconds left.

But Kobe Bryant made a three-pointer with 4.8 seconds left to tie the score at 99-99. Bryant just glared at the crowd as he walked to the Lakers' bench during a Sacramento timeout.

Bryant then blocked a shot by Marcus Thornton, sending the game into overtime.

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