Tonight the Kings (5-9) visited the Staples center to play Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers (10-1).
The Lakers came in on the strength of their best start of a season since 2001-02, when they won a championship. The Lakers had won four of the last six meetings between the two teams by an average margin of 18.5 points.
For the Kings, Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes started in place of the injured Kevin Martin and Mikki Moore.
Midway through the first quarter the Lakers led 17-12. Kobe was aggressive early, attacking John Salmons and drawing a crowd. The Kings were led early by Jason Thompson, who had success on the block against Gasol and Radmanovic.
Sasha Vujacic hit a three pointer to end the first quarter and put the Lakers up 32-27.
The Kings held tough by converting seven Lakers’ turnovers into 13 points.
The Kings held tough for most of the second quarter, but the Lakers went on a 13-4 run to end the half and led 61-52.
Kobe had 10 points at the break, while John Salmons led the Kings with 13.
In the third quarter the Lakers ran the Kings out of the building and led 96-80 at the end of the third.
The Kings were beat both in transition and in the half court. The Lakers turned Kings’ turnovers into easy buckets and controlled the paint in the half court.
The Kings went on a 20-6 run in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 105-100. The push was led by Bobby Brown of the Kings bench, who would finish with 21 points and seven assists.
Down the stretch the Laker defense tightened up, suffocating the Kings. Los Angeles held off the feisty Kings and won 118-108.
Kobe had his usual handful of highlight plays in the fourth quarter. He finished with 24 points, six assists, and four rebounds. Andrew Bynum added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
John Salmons led the Kings in scoring with 24. Jason Thompson was impressive, with 15 points and seven rebounds.
On this night the Kings were in an uphill battle. They put up a fight, but in the end the Lakers were too much for them.
The Kings move to 5-10 and will play at the Portland Trailblazers tomorrow night.