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Lakers 98, Kings 95: Sacramento falls apart late against Bryant, Lakers

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In one of the uglier games of the season, the Kings faltered late against the 5-19 Lakers.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In one of the ugliest games of the young season, the Kings fell to the cellar dwelling Lakers 98-95 in Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant had 32 points and six assists in the victory for Los Angeles (5-16), while Darren Collison led the way for Sacramento (11-11) with 26 points and six assists.

After Collison hit a reverse layup to give the Kings a 95-94 lead with 45 seconds left, Kobe Bryant hit four straight free throws and the Kings failed to answer. Rookie Nik Stauskas missed a tough three in the closing seconds after a disastrous final play between him and Collison that capped off a sloppy offensive night for Sacramento.

The Kings were playing their fourth game in five nights, and it was clear throughout the game that Los Angeles was the fresher team. The Lakers took advantage of the Kings lack of ball control, snagging 21 points off of 16 Sacramento turnovers while allowing just five turnovers of their own.

Kobe Bryant's 32 points featured his usual array of clutch shots, including a three pointer with 2:15 left in the contest that tied the game at 92. Bryant shot just 11-26 from the floor, but was effective late in the contest with nine points and three assists in the closing six minutes. Carlos Boozer added 15 points and nine rebounds off the bench, while Nick Young had 11 points.

Rudy Gay had 23 points, five rebounds and five assists for Sacramento, while Ben McLemore provided 15 points and consistent defense on Bryant. The turning point in the contest was with seven minutes left in the third quarter when McLemore picked up his fourth foul. The Kings had been leading 67-58, but their offense struggled with turnovers and the Lakers reeled off a 12-2 run capped off by 10 from Bryant.

Sacramento's defense wasn't the issue as they held Los Angeles to 39.6% from the field. On the offensive side, the Kings shot 45.7% but struggled to maintain any offensive consistency despite playing the worst defensive squad in the league (the Lakers allow 115.2 points per game). The biggest surprise of the game came at the free throw line where the Kings sank just 24 of 37, including just 2-8 from Collison.

The Kings bench again struggled mightily, combining for only 18 of the Kings 95 points. Derrick Williams played 21 minutes and contributed just four points and three turnovers, while Ramon Sessions and Stauskas combined to shoot 3-11 from the floor for six points. For the second game in a row, Omri Casspi did not get any playing time as Coach Michael Malone opted to go with Williams.

After the foray to Los Angeles, the Kings return home for a five game home stand starting with the Houston Rockets on Thursday and the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.

For the opponent's perspective, visit Silver Screen and Roll.