Shocker at Staples -- Kings upset Lakers, 100-95

January 29, 2011, 6:05 am
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LOS ANGELES (AP) The Sacramento Kingsseemed downright stunned by what they had just done, throwing towelsand hollering with unfamiliar joy in Staples Center's sparse visitors'locker room. DeMarcus Cousins led the festivities, bubbling with jokesand busting on everything from Carl Landry's shoes to Omri Casspi'sdeodorant."I feel like I won a championship now," the big man said with a joking smirk.Cousins realizes Sacramento'ssurprising 100-95 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday nightwasn't for a title. It's certainly the high point of this young team'smiserable season - and for one improbable evening, the Kings werebetter than the champions.Cousins had 27 points and 10rebounds, and Casspi added 20 points as the club with the NBA'sthird-worst record (11-33) beat the two-time defending champs in theirown building, snapping an eight-game losing streak to Sacramento'sformer archrivals in the process."Obviously they're the best team inthe league, they're the champions, and it feels good," Casspi said."It's a great way to get our first win down here together, and it's agreat way to start a tough stretch of games. We feel really good."Samuel Dalembert scored 18 points asthe Kings (11-33) jumped to a 20-point lead in the third quarteragainst the Lakers' uninterested defense. The Kings then survived theLakers' late rally for their first win over Los Angeles since December2008.Kobe Bryant passed Hakeem Olajuwonfor eighth place on the NBA's career scoring list while scoring 21 ofhis 38 points in the first quarter, but the Lakers sure appeared to getcaught looking ahead to Sunday's NBA finals rematch with Boston."I don't think so," Bryant said in his clipped postgame comments. "Maybe a little bit, but I doubt it."Even though captain Derek Fisher puta two-day ban on all talk and thought about the Celtics duringThursday's practice, the Lakers resembled the disorganized,disinterested bunch that overlooked Milwaukee in an embarrassing homeloss four days before the Miami Heat's visit on Christmas - anotherblowout defeat.Shannon Brown scored 17 points, butPau Gasol struggled with nine points on 4-of-11 shooting, and LamarOdom had just four points while missing all seven of his field goalattempts. Los Angeles has won 10 of 13, but just three of its last sixheading into Sunday."We didn't execute defensively verywell," Bryant said. "We blew so many coverages and gave so many openlooks. We were a little out of sync and slow in our rotations, and itcost us. We just weren't sharp defensively at all. We've still got workto do. We still have to continue to work at it and get moreconsistent."Cousins scored 22 points in thefirst half before finishing one point shy of his career high for theKings, who pulled the upset after losing eight of their previous 10.The Kings earned their thirdimpressive road win in the past three weeks. Sacramento also won at NewYork and Portland before posting its first road victory over the Lakerssince March 2008.Dalembert and Casspi led a crisp18-4 run after halftime, and Sacramento eventually went ahead 81-61midway through the third quarter. Dalembert took over where Cousinsleft off exploiting Los Angeles' 7-footers from the perimeter, hittinghis first five shots after halftime."The start of the third quarter wascertainly the key to the game," Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said."Everything went great for us. We were able to build up that big lead,and they weren't able to chip it away. We did struggle a lot at theend, but we did hold on. That's big progress from some of the thingswe've had happen to us earlier in the year."The Lakers trimmed the lead to 14points heading into the fourth quarter, and consecutive dunks by Bryantand Gasol cut Sacramento's edge to 93-89 with 3:19 to play. But theLakers got just one point out of their next three possessions, andCasspi tipped home Tyreke Evans' missed jumper with 1:29 to play beforethe Kings hit free throws in the final minute."I think we're surprised," Lakerscoach Phil Jackson said. "We played some defense in the fourth quarter,but it seemed to be the only quarter we could really get up and defend.... Their big guys came out and really took it (to) our guys andcarried the day for their team."In Bryant's first game since earninga starting spot at Staples Center next month in his 13th All-Star game,the leading All-Star vote-getter needed 13 points to pass Olajuwon. Hegot them all in the first 8 12 minutes, breaking downcourt for aone-handed jam for the decisive 24,947th point.NOTES: Cousins and Gasol exchangedangry looks and lightly bumped chests with 2:52 to play after Gasolforced a turnover by pressuring Cousins near the Lakers' bench. ...Fans entering Staples Center were told they might appear in "Jack andJill," a movie starring Adam Sandler, Al Pacino and Katie Holmes.Director Dennis Dugan ("Happy Gilmore") was in the building with acrew.

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