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 Kings snap 8-game skid, stun Lakers 113-101

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PostSubject: Kings snap 8-game skid, stun Lakers 113-101   Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:19 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif.(AP) Kobe Bryant had
mastered the art of concentration over cowbells at Arco Arena, where
the upstate fans never gave him a moment's peace during the best days
of the Lakers' rivalry with their Kings.Now that their clang is
pretty much gone from Arco Arena's non-sellout crowds, the Lakers' MVP
guard kind of misses the noise - and in their absence, he missed far
too many shots in one of the NBA's most improbable results this season.Francisco
Garcia and John Salmons scored 21 points apiece, and Sacramento snapped
an eight-game losing streak with a surprising 113-101 victory over Los
Angeles on Tuesday night.Bobby Jackson added 15 points for the
Kings, whose first victory in nine home games arrived just in time to
boost coach Reggie Theus' job security. Sacramento (6-16) had lost 11
of its last 12 games overall, but Salmons and Garcia steadily increased
a second-half lead against the Lakers, who couldn't rally while Bryant
struggled with 9-of-25 shooting."I just couldn't get in a
rhythm,'' said Bryant, who scored 28 points. "I probably missed the
cowbells, just the cowbells and the food poisoning. ... The place has
changed a lot. Even last year, we came in and there were a lot of
Lakers fans.''Probably no opponent has hit more big shots
through the cacophony of Sacramento sound than Bryant, who survived
cowbells, that infamous 2002 bout of playoff food poisoning, and Doug
Christie's defense to lead a series of big wins over the past decade.
He once took just one shot in the first half of a game here while
curiously refusing to shoot, and he might have been better off doing it
again: He missed 11 of his first 13 shots against Salmons' defense."It's
probably our biggest win of the season, especially at home, since we've
been struggling,'' Salmons said. "Hopefully we can grow from this. This
was one of those games that could turn your whole season around. We
could look back at tonight's game a year from now and say, 'The Lakers
game was the turning point of this season.'''Playing without
injured leading scorer Kevin Martin, Sacramento took a seven-point lead
into the fourth quarter and scored eight straight points to go up 97-82
with 9 1/2 minutes to play. The Kings led by 17 with 6 1/2 minutes
left, increasing the lead even after Bryant returned, and Beno Udrih's
layup with 3:17 left put Sacramento ahead 110-92."I thought it
was one of the few times all year that we played 48 minutes of solid
basketball all the way down to the wire, just in every category,'' said
Theus, who's on a hot seat after Sacramento's slow start in his second
season. "We know it's just one win, and we've got a long way to go, but
it's a great way to get off the slide.''With a home visit from
the Phoenix Suns looming on Wednesday night, the Lakers might have
overlooked the lowly Kings. Pau Gasol had 25 points and 12 rebounds for
the Lakers, who had won three straight while opening the season 17-2,
matching the best start in franchise history.Los Angeles hadn't
lost to a Western Conference team this season, going 11-0. But with
Lakers starters Derek Fisher, Andrew Bynum and Vladimir Radmanovic
shooting a combined 9-for-22, Bryant's struggles were magnified."We
came in here thinking we were going to win, and we didn't respect our
opponent,'' said Lamar Odom, who had just 11 points and eight rebounds.
"You've got to play with a certain energy. If you don't you could lose
to Westchester High School.''Brad Miller scored 13 points and
Udrih added 12 for the Kings, who avoided the longest home skid in 51
years for a franchise that began life as the Rochester Royals.
Sacramento hasn't sold out Arco Arena this season, and even several
thousand Lakers fans couldn't fill it.Martin missed the game
with an injured left ankle after aggravating the problem during
Sacramento's humiliating 33-point home loss to Denver last Wednesday.
The Kings don't know when Martin will return, but he already has missed
13 games this season with ankle problems.The Kings played with
fresh legs after five days off, and Garcia scored 14 points in the
first half as Sacramento took an early 11-point lead. After 2-of-9
shooting in the first half and four straight misses to open the third
quarter, Bryant got going - but Salmons also heated up with 12 points
in the third quarter to keep the Kings up 87-80 heading into the fourth.Notes:
The teams meet again at Staples Center on Friday night. ... Former
Kings assistant coach Pete Carril attended the game, sitting near the
Sacramento bench. ... San Francisco 49ers linebackers Patrick Willis
and Takeo Spikes also were in the crowd.

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Kings snap 8-game skid, stun Lakers 113-101
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