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Kings win for 11th time in 14 games

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.

He did, and so did the rest of the Sacramento Kings, with the
possible exception of Bobby Jackson.

"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.

Peja Stojakovic equaled a season high with 26 points; Mike Bibby
scored 14 points, and Jackson added 11 for the Kings (23-8), who
won for the 11th time in 14 games.

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.

Game notes
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.

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