SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Devoid of any feeling in his right arm since late in the third quarter, Kobe Bryant still managed to do what he does best: make clutch shots.
Bryant ignored an arm that had no feeling and connected on two huge 3-pointers in the second overtime, finishing with 38 points as the Los Angeles Lakers bounced back from a humbling Christmas Day loss to Cleveland by beating the Sacramento Kings 112-103 on Saturday night.
Bryant wasn’t sure how the “funny bone” on his right elbow was hit, but went to the locker room briefly for some therapy, then returned for much of the fourth quarter, when he used primarily his left hand and attempted only one shot, which was blocked.
“My arm went numb and it spazzed up,” Bryant said. “My moment came for me to step up (in the second overtime). The defense relaxed, (Donte Greene) put his hands down and left me open for those shots.”
It felt like old times for Bryant, who grew accustomed to antagonistic crowds earlier in his career at Arco Arena. Only the second sellout of the season, Kings fans loudly booed the Lakers when starting lineups were announced and began chanting “Beat LA!” It was reminiscent of the crowds that cheered the Kings in the Chris Webber era, when Sacramento was typically battling the Lakers for supremacy in the Western Conference.
“To tell you the truth, it kind of (stunk) coming up here the last few years,” Bryant said. “It seems like they are getting behind this young team. It felt good to get booed like it used to be.”
It was another frustrating loss for the Kings, who went scoreless in the overtime period in a loss to Cleveland. Against the Lakers, the Kings squandered a seven-point lead in the first overtime and shot just 1-of 8 in the second OT.
Pau Gasol had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who avoided losing consecutive games for the second time this season. Shannon Brown scored 15 points and Odom had 13 points and 15 rebounds.
They played without starting forward Ron Artest, who the team said suffered a concussion on Christmas evening, falling while carrying boxes down a flight of stairs and injuring his left elbow at his Los Angeles home.
Artest was treated at UCLA Medical Center, undergoing a CT scan and receiving stitches in the back of his head and his elbow. The team said a neurologist examined Artest on Saturday. He is day to day and didn’t travel with the team on its Saturday flight to Sacramento.
“With Ron out, it was definitely different,” Brown said. “Everyone on this team gets a chance to show their stuff at one time or another.”
After the Kings scored the first seven points in the first overtime, they went scoreless over the final 2:40 as the Lakers rallied. Gasol tipped in a missed shot by Derek Fisher from close range, tying the game at 101 with .04 seconds left.
Lamar Odom opened the second overtime with a putback basket that gave the Lakers the lead for good. Then Bryant took control, connecting on back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Lakers in front 109-103 with 2:37 left. Los Angeles outscored the Kings 11-2 in the second OT.