5:30 PM ET, December 25, 2002
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Chris Webber dreamed of playing on Christmas since he was a kid, so he vowed to have a good time, no matter what.
"I just tried to remember this is the stage you want,'' Webber said after getting 25 points, 15 rebounds and six assists to lead the Kings to a 105-99 victory over the three-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.
"You want to play well, you want your team to win,'' Webber said. "It was a good day.''
After his last basket, a jumper that gave him 10 fourth-quarter points and the Kings a 97-89 lead with 2:12 remaining, Webber skipped downcourt with a big smile on his face.
"It just really took me back to why I love basketball,'' he said.
The slumping Lakers didn't threaten after that.
The Kings learned after the game that Jackson, averaging 19.8 points, broke his left hand when Shaquille O'Neal knocked the ball out of his hands with about five minutes left.
Jackson, who wore a splint afterward, will be re-examined Thursday in Sacramento.
"It's a bummer, man, but it's part of the game,'' he said. "We're so deep, we play so well, that's the good thing. We have been doing it all year.''
The stumbling Lakers (11-19) have lost four of five and are 8-10 since O'Neal returned after missing the season's first 12 games while recuperating from surgery on his right big toe.
O'Neal had 27 points, a season-high 17 rebounds and five assists, but shot just 8-of-19 and made 2-of-8 after halftime -- both after the outcome had been decided.
He didn't speak with reporters afterward.
Kobe Bryant also had 27 points for the Lakers along with 15 rebounds and six assists, but he made only 7 of 24 shots and went 2-for-12 in the second half.
"I'm not really going to think about this one too much,'' he said. "I'm going to enjoy Christmas and open some more gifts.''
The Lakers outrebounded the Kings 61-42, but shot only 36.7 percent to 46.3 percent for the Kings.
"I think the biggest difference is, they are not making shots,'' Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "I still think they are a pretty darned good team and they're going to be back.''
The game was the first that counted between the rivals since the Lakers beat the Kings in the Western Conference finals last June, winning the seventh and deciding game in overtime at Arco Arena.
It marked the third straight spring the Lakers eliminated the Kings on their way to their three-peat.
"They have those rings, we want the big picture,'' Webber said. "Game 7 still hurts.''
Baskets by Jackson and Webber triggered a 10-2 run that gave the Kings a 92-84 lead.
Bryant's 3-pointer and a jumper by Derek Fisher drew the Lakers within three points with 3½ minutes to play, but that's as close as they would get.
"The effort is the same we gave last year and two years ago, and unfortunately, that is no longer good enough,'' Lakers forward Rick Fox said. "And so, recognizing that, the effort we have to give now in our fourth run to the championship has to be greater.
"Teams have gotten better and they've gotten angrier and this may be the first time we're faced with that.''
The Kings and Lakers bickered through the media during the offseason, with O'Neal saying in early October he "wasn't worried about the Sacramento Queens.''
Then, on Oct. 25 in the final preseason game, Sacramento's Doug Christie and Fox were ejected after getting into a fight early in the first quarter.
The fracas continued in a Staples Center tunnel, with Fox initiating it, and he was suspended for six games, contributing to the Lakers' poor start.
Christie was suspended for two games, but that hardly slowed the deep, talented Kings.
Starting players usually acknowledge each other by shaking hands or touching fists before a game begins, but that didn't occur on this night.
Sacramento's Vlade Divac gave it a try, extending a fist toward Fox, who hesitated before pointing back. The other players ignored each other.
Robert Horry and Webber had a brief staredown late in the third quarter after Horry fouled the Sacramento star.
Otherwise, nothing out of the ordinary happened.
A three-point play by Fox capped a 12-4 run to start the third period, putting the Lakers ahead 65-53.
It was 70-60 when the Kings went on a 17-2 spurt capped by Keon Clark's dunk off a pass from Bobby Jackson for a 77-72 lead.
The Lakers went nearly six minutes without a field goal before Fisher's basket cut Sacramento's lead to three points entering the final period.
The Lakers wore white uniforms for the first time since the 1966-67 season, when they played at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Since that time, they'd worn yellow uniforms at home. They will wear the whites in every Sunday home game the rest of the season. ... The Lakers had won five of six regular-season games between the teams at Staples Center and nine of 12 overall. ... Lakers F Devean George returned to action after missing one game because of a sprained right ankle. He scored nine points in 22 minutes. ... Bryant's 15 rebounds equaled a career high. He had 12 in the first half, which ended with the Lakers leading 53-49.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||38-82 (.463)||33-90 (.367)|
|3PM-3PA||4-11 (.364)||6-19 (.316)|
|FTM-FTA||25-35 (.714)||27-38 (.711)|
|Fast Break Points||6||4|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||23 (1/0)||25 (0/0)|