Lakers match worst start in a decade
Kobe Bryant had 29 points to lead all players during his team’s Sacramento Kings but he was not enough to stop the bleeding as his Los Angeles Lakers lost its second match in a row.AP photoThe Los Angeles Lakers continued their stumbling start to a new era with a 100-91 road loss to the Sacramento Kings on Monday as the visitors matched their poorest opening to a campaign for nine years.
Following their fourth-quarter meltdown against the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day, the Lakers (0-2) were overpowered by the young Kings, leaving new coach Mike Brown still searching for his first victory since taking over in the off-season.
Marcus Thornton scored 12 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter for Sacramento and Tyreke Evans added 20 to cancel out a game-high 29 from Los Angeles’s Kobe Bryant.
The Kings looked fresh in what was their season opener, continually beating the Lakers for pace around the court to build a 14-point advantage through three quarters.
Los Angeles, however, woke from their slumber and fought back to trail 89-87 late in the game, but Sacramento used an 8-0 run in the final few minutes to ensure the Lakers lost their first two games of a season for the first time since 2002.
Metta World Peace added 19 for the Lakers, whose consecutive losses put a damper on the start of new coach Mike Brown’s tenure.
“We have a lot of games left, a lot of games left,” World Peace said. “Everything is going OK. Everything will be great.”
Meanwhile, Kris Humphries shrugged off loud booing to finish with 21 points and 16 rebounds, and Deron Williams had 23 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, helping the New Jersey Nets beat the Washington Wizards 90-84 Monday night in the season opener for both teams.
The Nets trailed by as many as 21 points in the second quarter, but began to turn things around with a 16-2 run.
John Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, had 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists, but he only shot 3 for 13. Backup shooting guard Nick Young led Washington with 16 points in just 18 minutes. He missed a large part of the second half after jamming his left foot, but returned.
Turkish center Mehmet Okur failed to score a basket in his debut for the Nets, but pulled five assists during his 20 minutes on court.
Another Turkish player was highly influential, as Hidayet “Hedo” Türkoğlu led all scorers with 23 points, leading the Orlando Magic past the Houston Rockets 105-94.
Hedo also had six points and four assists, while Dwight Howard added 212 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots. J.J. Redick had 20 points for the Magic, who bounced back from an opening-day defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Kyle Lowry had 20 points and 12 assists for the Rockets.