Lakers Beat Kings, Still Alive for League's Best Record

At the outset of the Lakers' trip to Sacramento, the Kings started off hot, and L.A. fell behind by 12 points in the first quarter. But with Kevin Martin out of the Kings' lineup for the third straight game with an ankle injury, their offense wouldn't last, and the Lakers quickly recovered to run away with a 122-104 victory in Sacramento.

L.A. was down 29-17 in the first quarter, but woke up in time to post 40 in the second, while cruising to a halftime lead of 71-55.

The Lakers' bench has struggled to hold onto leads as of late, but they had no trouble doing so in this one. Sacramento got no closer than 10 points the rest of the way, and Pau Gasol was the only starter to play in the fourth quarter.

Gasol led the team with 26 points and 12 rebounds, Kobe Bryant finished with 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists, while Lamar Odom chipped in 15 and 12.

With the win, the Lakers trail the Cleveland Cavaliers for the league's best record -- and home court advantage throughout the playoffs -- by just a half a game in the standings. Three of L.A.'s four remaining games are against Denver, Portland, and Utah, while the Cavs will face Boston and Philadelphia (twice) in three of their last five.

The Lakers will be working Andrew Bynum back in over (at least) their last two games of the regular season, while LeBron James and the Cavs will likely cruise to the finish line. It's still possible for the Lakers to catch Cleveland in the standings, but remember, it's not necessary: the Lakers are the only team that's been able to win in Cleveland this entire season.

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