Lakers 106, Kings 100
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ Eight isn’t enough for the Sacramento Kings.
For the second game in a row, the Kings played with only eight players, their roster depleted by a series of fight-related suspensions. And by the end of Tuesday’s night game, they didn’t have their head coach or their leading scorer. The Los Angeles Lakers took advantage, beating Sacramento 106-100.
A bench-clearing brawl last week in Indiana led to the suspension of eight Kings. Sacramento played with only eight players in a road loss to New Jersey on Saturday and had the same number for the Lakers game. Among the missing Kings were starting center Olden Polynice and two key reserves, Michael Smith and Sarunas Marciulionis.
Following coach Garry St. Jean’s ejection in the third quarter, the Lakers took control. They went on a 14-7 to close the period, and Sacramento never regained the lead.
In the fourth quarter, guard Mitch Richmond was thrown out after getting two technicals for arguing with replacement officials about his sixth foul.
``St. Jean’s ejection tonight was a pretty big factor in the game,′ Laker guard Nick Van Exel said. ``I think that all of their technicals really came in to hurt them in the latter part of the game. I’m sure the refs frustrated them tonight, but that kind of stuff happens.′
Kings assistant coach Mike Bratz, who took over in St. Jean’s absence, said his team’s short bench has led to frustration.
``Tonight was the first game I’ve really seen it,″ Bratz said. ``It’s unfortunate our team has been dismantled the last couple of games, because we really had a good thing going.″
Cedric Ceballos scored 31 points and Elden Campbell had 23 for the Lakers, who snapped a nine-game road losing streak that spanned two seasons. The victory improved Los Angeles to 3-4.
``It was important for us to get this win on the road,″ Laker coach Del Harris said. ``You never want to be in any negative streaks.″
Richmond kept the Kings close, scoring a team-high 28 points. His jumper with 46.7 seconds left in the fourth period brought the Kings to within 101-99.
But on the Lakers next possession, Richmond was called for a foul when Sedale Threatt drove the lane and scored. Richmond not only picked up his sixth foul on the play, he argued the call, got two technicals and was ejected.
The Lakers made all three free throws to go ahead 106-99 with 33.8 seconds left.
``We’ll take it any way we can get it,′ Harris said. ``It may have been a little bit of a bizzare ending, but you know the NBA slogan, `It’s Bizarre.‴
Sacramento, which opened the season with five straight wins, overcame 15 first-half turnovers to lead 51-44 at intermission. The lead was maintained through much of the third period until St. Jean’s ejection.
``This was another night at the office, but not a full office,″ Kings forward Brian Grant said. ``We had a few players laid off this week. You do what you can, and I think we went out there and showed a lot of heart. Things didn’t go our way in the last 10 minutes. We let this one get away.″
Lakers center Vlade Divac scored 19 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Threatt, a reserve guard, contributed 15 points.
Walt Williams connected on three 3-pointers and finished with 17 points. Grant had 16 points and 11 rebounds.