Lakers overtake shorthanded Kings in OT
Updated: Friday November 17, 2000 2:40 AM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Kobe Bryant is well past the point where youthful cockiness becomes supreme confidence. At 22, he's a tested veteran who's been in tight spots before -- and knows just what to do with the game on the line.
Bryant hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left in regulation, then made the go-ahead jumper with 24 seconds left in overtime as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings 112-110 on Thursday night.
Bryant, who had eight points in overtime, finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds and several staredowns of the heckling fans behind the Lakers' bench. Until the exact moment he tied the game and silenced the frenzied Arco Arena crowd, Los Angeles appeared headed to a discouraging upset.
Kobe wouldn't let it happen.
"I just have a great time when I'm out there playing in an environment like this," Bryant said. "That (3-pointer) was the best look I had all night. I just waited for the chance."
"We had a chance if we kept coming back on them in the fourth quarter, and we did and found our way in," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We had to struggle behind some very good 3-point shooting (by the Kings), but they cooled off in the fourth quarter."
The Kings got to brink of victory thanks to Doug Christie, who scored 19 of his season-high 32 points after halftime, and Stojakovic, who had 29 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.
"You can't keep a player like (Bryant) down. He's too talented," said Christie, who played sterling defense on Bryant until the final minutes. "When you play Kobe, you just hope he's not on."
Sacramento had its five-game winning streak snapped and lost at home for the first time this season, but its spirited short-handed effort should boost coach Rick Adelman's confidence in his bench and in Christie, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Toronto for his defensive prowess.
The Kings began the game without Webber, their leading scorer and rebounder, who missed his second game with a sprained left ankle. Then, just 39 seconds into the second half, the Kings lost Williams to a sprained right ankle.
Sacramento jumped ahead of the Lakers with an impressive burst of offense in the second half and led 91-78 with nine minutes to play. But the Lakers battled back with O'Neal and Bryant leading the way, and they pulled within one in the final minute.
Stojakovic blew past Robert Horry for a layup to put Sacramento up by three, but after Brian Shaw missed with six seconds left, he passed out to Bryant, who drilled a long 3-pointer from straightaway.
After Bryant scored in the final minute of overtime, Stojakovic drove the lane and couldn't get the ball over O'Neal. There was only minimal body contact between the two, but both teams saw it differently.
"He's not a dunker, so I thought he'd try to toss it over me," O'Neal said. "They wanted a foul, but I didn't touch him."
"I don't think there was any doubt about it -- it was a flat-out foul that wasn't called," Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "We'll have to live with it."
The game was the first meeting between the teams since their contentious first-round playoff series last spring. Sacramento lost twice at Staples Center, but won two elimination games at Arco Arena before losing the deciding fifth game in Los Angeles.
The hard feelings from the series haven't subsided, as shown by the "Beat L.A.!" chants throughout the stadium and the staredown between Williams and O'Neal after a collision in the first half. After Bryant hit his game-tying 3-pointer in regulation, he spent several seconds staring down a heckler.
Notes: Williams, who had 11 points and seven assists in his best half since returning from a five-game drug suspension, collapsed on the court and was helped to the locker room by teammates. ... Sacramento doesn't play again until Wednesday night against Chicago. The five days off comprise the Kings' longest break of the regular season. ... San Francisco 49ers receiver Terrell Owens, who didn't practice with the 49ers on Thursday because of turf toe, was in the front row at Arco Arena. Afterward, Owens spoke to O'Neal and Bryant in the locker room.