NBA

Wed, Apr 13, 2011 - 10:30 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Kobe nets 36 as Lakers hang on

Kobe Bryant and the Lakers will face the Hornets in the first round.
Share This Story

   
 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP)

Sacramento Kings fans made it feel like old times.

Then, so did Kobe Bryant.

Power rankings

Who's first? Who's worst? Check out our final NBA power rankings.

Bryant's tying 3-pointer with 4.8 seconds left in regulation forced overtime, and the Los Angeles Lakers regrouped to hand the Kings a 116-108 loss Wednesday night in what might have been the last game ever in California's capital city.

''I told Phil it's fitting it's going to end this way,'' Bryant said after sharing a laugh with Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

When the final buzzer sounded, thousands of fans refused to leave their seats, doing everything they could to protest the franchise's possible move to Anaheim. Some cried, others took pictures. But all cheered in one, booming voice: ''Here we stay! Here we stay!''

Feeling the vibrations from their locker room, Kings players Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia, Marcus Thornton and Donte Greene returned to the floor.

''No matter what happens,'' Garcia said, grabbing the microphone, ''this is always going to be our home.''

For one, perhaps final night, it was.

A standing-room only crowd packed things beyond the 17,317-seat capacity, clanking cow bells and roaring louder than they had in years. They brought handmade signs, painted their faces and cheered their loudest to will their beloved team back.

And they nearly did.

Instead, the Lakers pulled away in overtime to earn the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, setting up a first-round series against New Orleans.

''I really feel for these fans,'' Jackson said. ''I'm sure it's a sad, sad day for many.''

NBA STANDINGS

Check out who's in playoff position here.

Thornton had 33 points and Evans added 19 to help the Kings outscore the Lakers 29-11 in the fourth quarter to rally from 20 points down. They went ahead by three until the final seconds, when Bryant delivered a shot to crush Sacramento's hopes yet again.

Fans stood for almost the entire fourth quarter and overtime as the Kings nearly capped an improbable rally. Jason Thompson's dunk with 1:22 remaining in the fourth gave the Kings their first lead of the half, and it would be a brief one.

After Bryant's shot forced overtime, the Lakers easily controlled overtime. They sprinted out to a six-point lead and never trailed in the extra session.

Afterward, the Kings' dance team stood at halfcourt, hugging, crying, and saying goodbye. Others took the court to take pictures for the final time, and coach Paul Westphal tipped his hand to the crowd in thanks.

''We're proud of the way we represented this city and this area,'' said Westphal, who got choked up in his postgame news conference. ''We don't know if we'll continue doing that or playing somewhere else. We really felt it tonight. We know that through the ups and downs, these fans supported us. We think we're ending one of those down times.''

Bryant finished with 36 points and Lamar Odom scored 22 for the Lakers, who played without injured center Andrew Bynum. They hope to have him back for Game 1 on Sunday night against New Orleans.

Leave it to the Lakers to deliver so much torment.

When the Kings had an NBA-best 61 wins in the 2001-02 regular season, the Lakers eliminated them - in an epic Game 7 in Sacramento, no less - that started the long, hard fall for this franchise. The Kings failed to recover from the end of the Chris Webber-Vlade Divac days, attendance dwindled and their outdated arena continued to age.

After years of political bickering and failed ballot measures to build a new arena, Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof started seeking other options. Now it seems the only thing stopping them from moving the franchise to Anaheim is a block by NBA owners.

The Maloofs are scheduled to make a pitch at the NBA Board of Governors meeting that begins Thursday in New York. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson - a former NBA All-Star - and Anaheim officials also will attend.

The Maloofs have until Monday to officially file for permission to relocate, and a vote would likely come within weeks of that request.

''This is my home,'' Evans told the crowd afterward. ''I started my career in Sacramento, and I'll never forget the times we had.''

Notes: The Kings played a video before the game to show the season's highlights. ... Lakers center Andrew Bynum (hypextended right knee) and reserves Matt Barnes (sore right knee) and Steve Blake (chicken pox) did not play. They will be re-evaluated this week along with Bynum. ... Extra security, including bomb-sniffing dogs, roamed the arena during the game.

Tagged: Lakers, Kings, Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

Clippers net franchise-record 57th win Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Chris Paul on the Clippers setting a franchise record for wins after beating the...

Damian Lillard's Oakland upbringing Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Damian Lillard talks about having to grow up early in Oakland.

Francesa: Melo must sacrifice for Knicks to win Posted: Apr 15, 2014
Mike Francesa explains why the Knicks need Carmelo Anthony to accept a contract ...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..