Instant Replay: Kings salvage win after near collapse vs LA



SACRAMENTO -- A sea of yellow infiltrated Sleep Train Arena Thursday night. Los Angeles Lakers fans came out of the woodwork to watch NBA legend Kobe Bryant one more time in the capital city before he hangs up his sneakers later this year.

But while Bryant was the main attraction, it was the home team that came away with the win.

[HAM: Kings fans secretly happy to see Kobe retire]

The Sacramento Kings jumped all over the Lakers from the opening tip, leading by as many as 27 points in the third. But the Lakers fought back late, taking a lead with just under four minutes remaining. The Kings withstood the charge and found a way to pull it out, coming away with a 118-115 win in front of the bipartisan crowd.

Los Angeles had no answer for the Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings star big crushed Roy Hibbert and every other player coach Byron Scott threw at him until the Lakers toughened up the interior in crunch time. Cousins finished the night with 29 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, but it was his defense down the stretch that won this game for Sacramento.

[RELATED: Cousins falls in second returns of All-Star voting]

Starting for the injured Omri Casspi, Quincy Acy had a near perfect 8-of-9 night from the field on his way to a season-high 18 points.

After failing to score in double-figures in eight straight games, Ben McLemore looked energized against Bryant. The 22-year-old guard scored his 16 points by hustling and moving without the ball.

Rudy Gay chipped in 18, including a big floater in the lane in the last minute of the game. Kosta Koufos scored 14 on 7-of-9 shooting and Marco Belinelli added 14 as the Kings barely survived a wild one against the Lakers and improved to 15-21 on the season.

Fans filled the seats to see Bryant and he didn’t disappoint. The 17-time All-Star scorched the Kings for 28 points, including a few highlight-reel dunks. The aging star sat for the entire fourth quarter as Byron Scott turned the ball over to his young core.

D’Angelo Russell was the real star of this game for LA, leading the Lakers back with an incredible second-half surge. The rookie guard scored 19 of his 27 in the second half as Los Angeles clawed back into the game. Lou Williams got loose for 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting and Jordan Clarkson finished with 15.


Cousins was a beast from the opening tip. He struggled with foul trouble, but still managed to score 29 points on 8-of-12 shooting in 32 minutes of action.


Cousins and Rondo knocked the ball loose from Clarkson inside of 10 seconds. Cousins recovered the fumble, was fouled and nailed the freebies to give the Kings the 118-115 lead with 6.8 seconds remaining. The Lakers missed their last-ditch attempt to tie the game and the Kings walked away with the win.


Casspi missed his third-straight game with a sore upper back and rookie Willie Cauley-Stein missed another game with a finger laceration.  


The Kings stay on their home court Saturday night to play the Western Conference-leading Golden State Warriors. 

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