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Sunday, March 31, 2013 - Page updated at 10:30 p.m.

Bryant hits milestone in crucial victory

By The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Kobe Bryant scored 19 points and tied a season high with 14 assists despite a nagging left foot injury, and the Los Angeles Lakers kept pace for the Western Conference's final playoff spot by outlasting the Sacramento Kings 103-98 on Saturday night.

Bryant added nine rebounds and facilitated the Lakers' offense for 48 minutes after Steve Nash exited early in the first quarter with a recurring right hamstring injury. Bryant also passed Lakers great Wilt Chamberlain (31,419 points) for fourth on the NBA's career scoring list, after starting four points shy of the mark.

Dwight Howard added 24 points and 15 rebounds, and Steve Blake scored 15 points for the Lakers (38-36), who stayed even with Utah (38-36) for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Tyreke Evans had 21 points and nine rebounds for Sacramento.

With Bryant engineering the offense, Los Angeles showed some of its best ball movement of the season.

Still, when Bryant hit 1 of 2 free throws to put the Lakers ahead 101-98 with 24 seconds remaining, Sacramento had a chance.

Cousins missed on a pair of three-point shots and Bryant made two free throws to seal the win.

L.A. LAKERS fg ft
min m-a m-a or-t a pf pts
Bryant 47:37 5-18 9-11 1-9 14 2 19
Gasol 32:44 6-11 0-0 1-2 10 2 12
Howard 40:16 10-14 4-10 6-15 1 3 24
Nash 1:48 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 2
Meeks 38:27 5-10 1-2 2-3 0 3 14
Blake 32:13 5-9 0-0 0-2 1 2 15
Jamison 22:13 3-10 3-3 4-7 1 2 10
Clark 19:55 3-7 0-0 1-4 0 1 7
Duhon 4:25 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0
Morris 0:23 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Totals 38-82 17-26 15-42 28 16 103
Percentages: FG .463, FT .654. Three-point goals: 10-30, .333 (Blake 5-8, Meeks 3-8, Clark 1-4, Jamison 1-4, Duhon 0-1, Morris 0-1, Bryant 0-4). Team rebounds: 10. Team turnovers: 7 (6 PTS). Blocked shots: 7 (Howard 5, Clark 2). Turnovers: 7 (Howard 4, Blake, Bryant, Duhon). Steals: 9 (Bryant 2, Clark 2, Meeks 2, Gasol, Howard, Morris). Technical fouls: Defensive three second, 10:12 first.
SACRAMENTO fg ft
min m-a m-a or-t a pf pts
Salmons 44:21 5-12 0-0 2-3 3 2 13
Thompson 23:50 7-10 1-1 2-4 1 4 15
Cousins 38:55 8-20 3-4 2-11 2 3 19
Thomas 25:22 3-5 2-3 0-0 5 1 10
Evans 42:45 9-15 3-3 2-9 6 3 21
Thornton 26:05 6-15 4-5 3-7 0 0 18
Hayes 11:59 1-5 0-0 3-5 1 1 2
Patterson 20:28 0-4 0-0 2-4 1 3 0
Douglas 6:15 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 1 0
Totals 39-86 13-16 16-44 19 18 98
Percentages: FG .453, FT .813. Three-point goals: 7-24, .292 (Salmons 3-7, Thomas 2-4, Thornton 2-7, Evans 0-1, Cousins 0-2, Patterson 0-3). Team rebounds: 7. Team turnovers: 12 (13 PTS). Blocked shots: 2 (Patterson, Salmons). Turnovers: 11 (Evans 4, Cousins 3, Hayes, Salmons, Thomas, Thompson). Steals: 1 (Salmons). Technical fouls: Defensive three second, 9:18 first; Defensive three second, 4:45 second; Cousins, 3:17 second.
L.A. Lakers 25 28 29 21 — 103
Sacramento 37 20 18 23 — 98
Attendance: 17,317 (17,317). Time: 2:12. Officials: Derrick Stafford, Nick Buchert, Zach Zarba.

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