Kobe Bryant scored 29 points, but the L.A. Lakers found themselves at 0-2 after losing to the exciting young Sacramento Kings 100-91 on Monday. The Lakers were in the meat game of a back-to-back-to-back sandwich, and couldn't complete a fourth quarter comeback led by Bryant and former King/former Ron Artest Metta World Peace. World Peace had 19 off of the bench for L.A.
The Kings were paced by the brilliant Marcus Thornton, who scored 27 points while soaking up just 15 shooting possessions. Thornton shot 9-13 from the field including four three-pointers and was a perfect 5-5 from the line, where Sacramento struggled as a team. The Kings didn't play anything close to a perfect game, which -- given the result -- perhaps shows how much Sacramento has improved and how much L.A.'s margin for error has shrunk.
Tyreke Evans had 20 points for the Kings, and DeMarcus Cousins added 12 and 11, with 10 of his points coming in a masterful third quarter. In his first regular season game, Jimmer Fredette was a tentative 3-8 from the field, electing not to attempt a single three-pointer. Chuck Hayes started at contributed seven points, nine rebounds, three blocks and largely excellent defense on Pau Gasol (15 points).
The Lakers play in Salt Lake City on Tuesday to cap off a tough opening run. The Kings, who didn't have a single player burn more than 36 minutes, visit Portland.