Tuesday, April 20, 2010
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Lakers wrap up home slate with win over Kings

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[April 20, 2010]  LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Pau Gasol had 28 points and eight rebounds, Shannon Brown scored 24 points and Kobe Bryant rested as the Los Angeles Lakers finished their regular-season home schedule with a 106-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

Sasha Vujacic scored 13 points for the Lakers, who lost six of nine before Gasol and the reserves pulled away in the second half of their sixth straight win over the Kings, their formerly fierce Pacific Division rivals.

HardwareTyreke Evans scored 10 points before his remarkable rookie season ended with a third-quarter ejection as the Kings wrapped up their fourth straight losing season with their 11th defeat in 12 games.

Bryant sat out to rest his litany of injuries, including a sprained ankle and a broken finger, while center Andrew Bynum missed his 12th straight game with a strained Achilles' tendon. Both starters should be ready to play this weekend when the top-seeded Lakers open defense of their NBA title.

After wrapping up the regular season Wednesday night on the Clippers' red-and-blue court, the Lakers are expected to open the playoffs Sunday against Kevin Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder.

Backup guard Jordan Farmar also shut it down for the season after straining his left hamstring in the first half, while Gasol played just 33 minutes -- though he had to return in the final 3 1/2 minutes to help the Lakers hold off the Kings, who got within four points late before Brown's jumper with 28 seconds to play.

Beno Udrih scored 21 points and Jason Thompson had 19 points and 16 rebounds as the Kings finished 14th in the Western Conference at 25-57, an eight-win improvement on last season's NBA-worst team. Sacramento will have another strong shot at a top-five draft pick a year after dropping to fourth in last year's lottery.

Evans was tossed in the third quarter by referee Derek Richardson, who whistled back-to-back technical fouls when Evans apparently said something unsavory to him. Evans had just hit consecutive layups to pull Sacramento within 67-66, and apparently was angry about a foul not being called.

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Evans is the leading candidate for the NBA's rookie of the year award, entering the game averaging 20.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists. Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James are the only other NBA rookies to average a 20-5-5.

Evans had 10 points, three assists and one rebound before his ejection.

The Lakers remain optimistic Bynum will be back for the playoff opener. The 7-foot center, who was hurt in late March, is expected to practice Friday and Saturday after running on a treadmill two days in a row.

NOTES: Ron Artest is finishing the regular season as just another California blond: The Lakers' attention-seeking forward and reserve center DJ Mbenga dyed their hair dark yellow. Coach Phil Jackson said Artest and Mbenga were getting plenty of grief from their teammates for their dye jobs. ... Vujacic hit buzzer-beating jumpers after the first and third quarters. ... Brown had the fourth 20-point game of his career. ... Sacramento finished 7-34 on the road, losing eight of their last nine away from Arco Arena.

[Associated Press; By GREG BEACHAM]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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