Lakers Off to 0-2 Start After Losing to Bulls; Kings
The Los Angeles Lakers, losers in the “Chris Paul Sweepstakes” to their fellow Staples Center occupants, the Clippers, are now down 0-2 after letting a late lead slip away on Christmas Day to the Bulls and then dropping a road game the next night in Sacramento.
The Lakers were up by 11 with under 4:00 to play in the opener against Chicago. They were up 87-81 with under 1:00 left. But a crucial turnover by Kobe Bryant aided Derrick Rose as he took over in the final minute of the Bulls 88-87 victory. Luol Deng blocked Kobe Bryant’s last second shot to seal the win for the Bulls.
“They’re one of the best teams in the league, and we did a phenomenal job holding them down,” said Bryant, who scored 28 points while playing with a torn wrist ligament. “(On the last play) they did a good job with the rotations, and (Deng) came over and made a good block.”
If it weren’t for my teammates, making the steal and getting the ball to me at the end, there’s no way I could have gotten that shot off to help us win that game,” Rose said.
Rose had 22 points to lead the Bulls. Deng chipped in 21 and Carlos Boozer added 15. For the Lakers, it was Bryant with 28, Pau Gasol with 14 and Steve Blake with 12.
On Monday night the Lakers went up to the Capitol to take on the Kings. The Kings and their fans were fired up for the hated Lakers. In fact, they were pumped just to be at a basketball game at all after nearly losing the team to the L.A. area a year ago.The Kings beat the Lakers 100-91 on the strength of Marcus Thornton’s 27 points, 12 of those in the fourth quarter.
“It was nice to be back,” coach Paul Westphal said. “It was wild in there and our players really liked the feeling of that game. The fans were just fantastic.”
Tyreke Evans added 20 points, John Salmons had 13 and Demarcus Cousins had 12 points and 11 rebounds to add to the Lakers misery.
“It’s not a rivalry,” Kobe Bryant said. “We beat them every year. Oh my God. I don’t care if they beat us tonight. I like (Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof). I hope they enjoy this.” Kobe had 29 points for the Lakers and Metta World Peace had 19 off the bench. “We have a lot of games left, a lot of games left,” World Peace said. “Everything is going OK. Everything will be great.”
The Kings fans are hopeful that the team can get a new arena built in the area to stop the team from moving to Anaheim. The new additions to the roster with the young talent already in place should make for some exciting games this year, which should help. Newly acquired Chuck Hayes was impressed with the fans in his first home game. “These fans are unbelievable,” Hayes said. “I thought they were loud on TV. I thought they were loud as an away player and I think they’re even louder as a home player. It was just a great moment.”