Originally created 01/17/04

Kings topple the Lakers



SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Peja Stojakovic scored 23 points and the Sacramento Kings routed the injury-depleted Los Angeles Lakers 103-83 Friday night in an anticlimactic meeting of archrivals.

Mike Bibby had 21 points for the Kings, who won their fourth straight and improved the NBA's best record to 28-9. But the Kings attached almost no significance to their first game of the season against Los Angeles - because these weren't the real Lakers.

Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, Horace Grant and Rick Fox all missed the game, leaving coach Phil Jackson, Gary Payton and the Lakers' supporting cast to endure the taunts and cowbells of Sacramento. The Lakers had won three straight with their diminished roster, but they were no match for the Kings.

Sacramento scored 17 consecutive points early in the third quarter, punctuated when Stojakovic accidentally banked in a 3-pointer. The Kings took a 29-point lead early in the fourth and coasted to the win despite regularly losing focus in yet another home victory.

Payton scored 16 points but was thoroughly outplayed by Bibby, who hit several tough jumpers and ran the Kings' up-tempo offense to perfection before sitting out the fourth quarter. Sacramento is a league-best 21-2 at home.

Kareem Rush scored a career-high 30 points for the Lakers in Bryant's starting spot.

Bobby Jackson added 15 points for Sacramento, and Doug Christie had 12. Brad Miller had nine points, 15 rebounds and five assists.