Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/22/12
SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings needed a victory in the worst way and used their best performance of the season to get it. The Kings used a strong third quarter and solid fourth period to run away from the Los Angeles Lakers 113-97 Wednesday night at Sleep Train Arena. The Kings (3-8) scored a season-high number of points and also did a tremendous job defensively against Lakers' big men, power forward Pau Gasol and center Dwight Howard, to help slow Los Angeles (6-6). The Kings received strong offensive contributions with six players reaching double figures, led by Marcus Thornton's 23 off the bench. Defensively, the Kings were active and swarmed Howard, who entered the game averaging 20.3 points a game, but attempted just four shots. "(The Kings) did a good job of never leaving me and never letting me get to the spots I like," said Howard, who scored seven points. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said the Kings did a good job of "sitting in Howard's lap." "When teams have done that before we've been able to hit shots and make them come out and guard us," said Bryant. "We couldn't do that (Wednesday night). Conversely, the Kings, for the first time this season, consistently made perimeter shots. They were particularly adept in the second half, hitting 62.5 percent (25 of 40) from the field. Kings forward Jason Thompson registered a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He credited the team's coaching staff with an assist. "They did a good job of telling us how the Lakers were going to defend us and what we needed to do," Thompson said. "We needed this game badly and to get it against the Lakers only makes it better." Added Kings coach Keith Smart, "Everybody knows how badly we needed a win. We had a bad stretch of losses, but we're going to stay the course." A crowd of 15,249 watched the Kings move toward victory by shooting 65 percent in the third quarter. Sacramento led by as many as 11 points (69-58) in the third, but Bryant helped the Lakers close to four points entering the fourth. Bryant scored 38 points to lead all scorers, but he couldn't do enough because he received little scoring help. On the other side, the Kings' Tyreke Evans finished with 18 points, while Chuck Hayes also contributed to Sacramento's season-high point total with 10 points. Thornton had 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the Kings hold off the Lakers' charge. Kings center DeMarcus Cousins endured a foul-plagued night but made two huge drives to stunt a Los Angeles rally. The Kings grabbed a 42-41 halftime lead on 6-foot runner by Jason Thompson with 0.8 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Jimmer Fredette played just eight seconds of the half, but he assisted on Thompson's basket. Kings small forward John Salmons led the team with 13 first-half points. That was already a season-high for Salmons, who didn't score in the second half. Thornton had 11 points before halftime. Both teams experienced first-quarter foul trouble. Bryant picked up two early fouls, while Sacramento's Evans and Cousins were whistled for two fouls apiece in the period. NOTES: Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said Wednesday he'd made it through his first game on the bench Tuesday night "just fine" after a victory over the Brooklyn Nets. D'Antoni is recovering from knee replacement surgery. He replaced Mike Brown as the Lakers' coach Nov. 12, but he wasn't healthy enough to join the team until Tuesday night. ... Lakers guard Steve Nash still is recovering from a fractured fibula suffered Oct. 31 during a collision with Portland rookie guard Damian Lillard. ... Wednesday's game was the last of a four-game homestand for the Kings.
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