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Recap: Lakers 103, Kings 98
Line Movements
Date: March 30, 2013 10:00 PM EDT
  

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Kobe Bryant passed Wilt Chamberlain for fourth place on the NBA's scoring list, then put on one of the best passing performances of his storied career.

Bryant scored 19 points and tied a season high with 14 assists despite a nagging left foot injury, and the Los Angeles Lakers kept pace for the Western Conference's final playoff spot by outlasting the Sacramento Kings 103-98 on Saturday night.

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``My foot's (messed) up, but other than that, I feel great,' he said, chuckling.

Bryant added nine rebounds and facilitated the Lakers' offense for 47 minutes, 37 seconds after Steve Nash exited early in the first quarter with a recurring right hamstring injury. He helped Los Angeles tie a season low with seven turnovers.

``I thought that was key - those 23 seconds. Otherwise he would've been tired,' coach Mike D'Antoni said, sarcastically. ``He just looked at me and said, `I'm not coming out tonight.' Sounds good to me.'

With Bryant engineering the offense, Los Angeles showed some of its best ball movement of the season.

Dwight Howard had 24 points and 15 rebounds, Pau Gasol added 12 points and 10 assists and three others scored in double figures for the Lakers (38-36), who stayed even with Utah (38-36) for the eighth and final playoff seed. Los Angeles hosts 10th-place Dallas (36-37) in a critical tilt Tuesday night.

Even with the pressure of a playoff race, Bryant was all smiles in a cramped quarter of Sacramento's visiting locker room. He had met Chamberlain when he was about 8 years old in Philadelphia and long held the Lakers legend in higher esteem than some milestones he's reached because of the franchise connection.

``He was like Conan the Barbarian,' Bryant said. ``That was the most impressive thing to me. He was just a warm-hearted gentleman.'

Bryant's latest performance proved too much for the Kings again.

Tyreke Evans had 21 points and nine rebounds, and DeMarcus Cousins added 19 points and 11 rebounds but missed a pair of difficult 3-pointers in the final seconds to seal Sacramento's latest loss. The Lakers won the season series 3-1.

``I guess you can't really talk bad about the way these guys competed,' Kings coach Keith Smart said. ``I thought our guys did everything they could from a statistical standpoint outside of winning the basketball game.'

At least until the closing moments.

Bryant slipped a pass to Gasol for a fast-break dunk - and his 13th assist - to put Los Angeles ahead 98-93 with 4:52 remaining. Gasol also tossed an alley-oop to Howard just before.

Cousins followed with a free throw and a long jumper, and Evans added a layup to slice the Lakers' lead to two. After Bryant missed a jumper, Jodie Meeks stripped Evans on a layup attempt at the other end. Bryant hit 1 of 2 free throws to put the Lakers ahead 101-98 with 24 seconds remaining, giving Sacramento one last chance.

Howard blocked Cousins' 3-point attempt. After pleading with the official for a foul, Cousins got the ball back and he forced a 3-point miss before Bryant's final free throws sealed Sacramento's latest loss.

``The play wasn't for me. I was supposed to hand it off,' Cousins said. ``But I got hit in my lower groin and it kind of screwed up the play.'

Los Angeles lost Nash with a strained right hamstring just 1:48 into the game. D'Antoni patted Nash on the back before the point guard walked gingerly to the locker room and never returned. Nash is day to day.

Sacramento surged ahead 37-25 after the first quarter with a frenetic pace that often left the Lakers' frontline in the backcourt. The Kings, who entered the game averaging an NBA-best 108.9 points since the All-Star break, made 15 of their first 21 from the floor.

Sacramento held Bryant scoreless until he hit a pair of free throws with 8:50 remaining in the second quarter. The shots sparked Bryant and the Lakers late in the half, along with a larger-than-normal sprinkling of Los Angeles fans sporting purple and gold throughout the announced sellout crowd of 17,317.

Bryant made a pull-up jumper from the free throw line with 7:54 remaining in the second quarter to eclipse Chamberlain's mark of 31,419 points. The only three ahead of him now is Michael Jordan (32,292), Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387).

Asked if Abdul-Jabbar's record is obtainable for him, Bryant said ``I don't see it happening' unless he decides to play longer than planned.

``What a journey,' said Bryant, in his 17th season. ``It's been a very, very long journey. I'm certainly extremely appreciative of all the support of the Laker faithful, the Laker Nation.'

Bryant had a bone spur in his left foot that has bothered him for several games. The injury apparently is unrelated to his sprained left ankle, which occurred earlier in Atlanta, though he said the soreness all sort of blends together.

With his foot stiffening up when he sits, Bryant came out for just 23 seconds.

Bryant finished a thunderous dunk down the lane and added two free throws and a pair of assists, rallying the Lakers back with a 14-1 run to close the third quarter. Los Angeles led 82-75 entering the fourth.

The Kings had scored at least 100 points in 20 of the previous 23 games, including 11 straight at home. With a possible move to Seattle the latest relocation threat for the Kings, Bryant didn't think he had played his last game in Sacramento.

``I predict we'll be back here,' Bryant said. ``You guys have been saying the same (thing) for three years.'

NOTES: Bryant's career high is 15 assists against Washington on Feb. 12, 2002. ... Cousins was called for a technical foul in the second quarter for slamming his hand on the scorer's table after officials whistled teammate Jason Thompson for a foul. ... Kings F James Johnson rejoined the team but sat out his eighth straight game because of personal reasons.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

 CLOSING LAS VEGAS LINE
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 LAL  -140   -2.5   219 
 SAC  +120   +2.5   
LAS VEGAS LINE MOVEMENTS

 CLOSING SPORTSBOOK LINE
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 LAL  -145   -2.5   219 
 SAC  +125   +2.5   
OFFSHORE LINE MOVEMENTS

 BETTING TRENDS
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 LAL  85%   74%   41% 
 SAC  15%   26%   59% 
BT MOVEMENTS

 NBA HEAD TO HEAD
 Mar 17, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 SAC 102 Under: 215 
 LAL 113 Cover: 2.5 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Nov 21, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 LAL 97 Over: 210 
 SAC 113 Cover: 21.5 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Nov 11, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 SAC 90 Over: 193 
 LAL 103 Cover: 2.5 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Oct 25, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 SAC 94 Cover: 16.5 
 LAL 82 Under: 176 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Oct 21, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 SAC 99 Cover: 12.5 
 LAL 92 Under: 191 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Oct 19, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 SAC 103 Cover: 10.5 
 LAL 98 Over: 201 
 Tools:   Recaps

 NBA RECAPS
 Saturday, Mar 30
 
    Bulls at Mavericks
2:05 PM EDT
    Magic at Hawks
7:05 PM EDT
    Bobcats at 76ers
8:05 PM EDT
    Clippers at Rockets
8:05 PM EDT
    Grizzlies at Timberwolves
8:05 PM EDT
    Thunder at Bucks
8:35 PM EDT
    Nets at Jazz
9:05 PM EDT
    Pacers at Suns
10:05 PM EDT
    Lakers at Kings
10:05 PM EDT
    Trail Blazers at Warriors
10:35 PM EDT
 
 
 
  
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