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Lakers beat Kings, move to 2-0 under Bickerstaff

Associated Press Modified: November 12, 2012 at 12:31 am •  Published: November 12, 2012
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"It's unfortunate for our team right now to have those missing pieces, because there were a lot of good things we had been doing," coach Keith Smart said. "Tonight we did a lot of good things, even with our depleted team. We still had chances to maintain, but obviously we were playing against an elite group of players tonight."

Cousins began his two-game ban for confronting a Spurs TV analyst in a hostile manner following a 97-86 home loss to San Antonio on Friday night. Robinson completed his two-game absence, following his vicious elbow to the throat of Detroit's Jonas Jerebko during Sacramento's 105-103 home win last Wednesday. Cousins loses about $70,500 in salary and Robinson more than $82,000.

"It was tough," said forward Travis Outlaw, who made his first start of the season and had 11 points in 26 minutes. "I think the most we could have done was to try to get out and run at them a little bit more. But overall, everyone did leave it out there on the court."

The Lakers built a 72-57 lead with an 11-0 run, capped by Bryant's two free throws with 4:26 left in the third quarter. They extended the margin to as many as 22 with 4:23 remaining on a pair of 3-pointers 40 seconds apart by Metta World Peace. He and Paul Gasol each finished with 18 points.

"We were really just going out there and playing pickup basketball, to be honest," Bryant said. "We were out there freelancing, and that forces you to communicate with each other. But we have some form of structure and a little bit of an idea of what we want to do out there."

Howard had 14 points and 10 boards in the first half, including a short hook shot off an offensive rebound in the final seconds of the second quarter to give the Lakers a 57-48 lead at intermission.

"He'll have games like this. I mean, this is what he does," Bryant said of Howard. "I was pretty upset at him, though, because he kind of let a couple of rebounds go at the start of the game. I had an opportunity to get them, but I thought he was. And I told him: 'Those are yours. That's what you do. You don't want to have a game where you finish 18 or 19 rebounds and it could have been 20.' It should have been a 23-20 night for him."

Steve Blake, starting at point guard for the fifth straight game because of Steve Nash's knee injury, was limited to 12 minutes in the half because of an abdominal strain that kept him off the court for almost 10½ minutes.

NOTES: Bryant was at the free throw line at the midway mark of the second quarter when the sellout crowd began chanting "We Want Phil!" They must have been misguided. Jackson was a 73.6-percent free throw shooter during his 12 seasons as an NBA player, and Bryant was 83.8 percent lifetime coming in ... Smart got a technical foul early in the second quarter for complaining about a non-call against Antawn Jamison, who made a clean block on a layup by Marcus Thornton and sent him crashing to the floor ... Lakers F Devin Ebanks, who posted $5,000 bail following his arrest early Friday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, was scratched for the second straight game. He is due back in court on Dec. 7 ... The Kings are 0-4 on the road, matching their worst start away from Arco Arena since 2007-08, when they dropped their first nine to tie a franchise record.