LOS ANGELES, United
States– Anthony Davis scored a team-high 21 points as the Los Angeles
Lakers put the emotions of their Kobe Bryant tribute night behind them with a
129-113 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.
The Lakers won their first game since Bryant died in a
horrific helicopter crash after losing 127-119 Friday to Portland on a night
when they paid tribute to the former NBA legend.
Davis followed up his 37-point performance against the Trail
Blazers with another team-high total in the second game of a back-to-back set.
“We got our first win,” said Lakers coach Frank
Vogel. “It is never going to feel normal. It is never going to feel the
“That is our first win since this happened. There are
going to be a lot of important steps for us along the way.”
LeBron James had a triple-double of 15 points, 10 rebounds
and 10 assists and Avery Bradley scored 16 of his 19 points in the first 12
minutes as the Lakers racked up 81 points in the first half.
Bryant’s career high was 81 points in 2006 against Toronto
second only to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in 1962.”
“I loved the way we came out tonight,” Vogel said.
“We knew last night was going to be an emotional game. We got through it.
Tonight it was get back on track and go out and get a win no matter what.”
James’ triple-double was his 11th of the season, one off
Luka Doncic’s league lead, and the 92nd of his career.
Only Oscar Robertson (181), Russell Westbrook (146), Magic
Johnson (138) and Jason Kidd (107) have more career triple-doubles.
James said they had to get used to Bryant tributes whenever
they travel to a new NBA building, noting: “It should be acknowledged
because of what he meant to this franchise for 20 years.”
One of the last people to talk to Bryant before he and eight
others died last Sunday, James said it was a bittersweet recollection.
“It is not a great memory because it is the last one
(conversation),” he said after Saturday’s game. “I got an opportunity
to talk to him. But for me to always think about that is not a great memory, because
it was the last one.”
Elsewhere, red-hot Damian Lillard continued blistering pace
with 51 points to lead the Portland to a 124-107 victory over the Utah Jazz.
Lillard connected on 17 of 29 field-goal attempts and made
all eight of his free throws en route to his third 50-point performance over
the past six games and fourth of the season.
He is averaging 48.8 points during the six-game stretch.
In Boston, Jaylen Brown scored 32 points as the Boston
Celtics won their sixth game in the last seven with a 116-95 victory over the
Jayson Tatum tallied 25 points, Marcus Smart had 16 points,
and Brad Wanamaker chipped in 15 as the Celtics avoided a season sweep by
Boston played without injured leading scorer Kemba Walker, who
has a sore left knee.
Ben Simmons led the 76ers with 23 points, and Joel Embiid
was held to 11 on a dismal one-of-11 shooting.
Philadelphia was done in by poor shooting. They attempted 33
shots from three-point range but made just seven.
The 76ers had beaten the Celtics in their first three
meetings this season, including December 12 at the Boston Garden.
Also, Kawhi Leonard scored at least 30 points for the ninth
straight contest as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves
Leonard, who also had six rebounds, needed just 24 minutes
of playing time to score 31 points.
Paul George, playing in his second contest after missing
nine games because of a left hamstring strain, had 21 points and seven rebounds
in 25 minutes.
In Washington, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving sprained his
right knee in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 113-107 loss to the Washington
Irving — who will have an MRI on Sunday to determine the
extent of the damage — became tangled with Bradley Beal in a tussle for the
ball before Beal fell awkwardly on the outside of his right leg.
Irving finished with 11 points, his lowest mark in a game
this season, as the Wizards rallied for the win.