LOS ANGELES (AP) — Reserve forward Xavier Henry scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, Pau Gasol had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings 100-86 Sunday night.
Steve Blake finished with 12 assists, nine points and five rebounds. Blake, who has started all 14 games for the Lakers at point guard in place of the injured Steve Nash, has recorded double digits in assists in each of the last five.
The Lakers, back at .500 following their third straight victory, began a stretch of four consecutive games against teams with losing records (Washington, Brooklyn and Detroit).
Greivis Vasquez led Sacramento with 20 points and DeMarcus Cousins added 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Reserve guard Isaiah Thomas finished with nine points in 30 minutes and was 4 for 11 from the field, ending his string of double-digit games at 12 — the longest season-opening streak by any Kings player off the bench since the franchise relocated from Kansas City after the 1984-85 campaign.
The Kings played at Staples Center for the second straight day after erasing a 20-point deficit against the Clippers and losing 103-102. They spotted the Lakers a 13-point lead in the second quarter before cutting the deficit to 55-52 with consecutive dunks by Cousins and No.1 draft pick Ben McLemore 42 seconds apart early in the third.
But the Lakers maintained the lead the rest of the way, breaking it open with a 13-5 run that put them up 86-69 with 6:57 to play.
Vasquez connected on his first six shots, four of them during a 1:37 span, but Los Angeles still led 29-24 after one quarter against a team that came in averaging the fewest first-quarter points in the league (22.6).
Lakers forward Wesley Johnson turned in perhaps the defensive play of the game less than 4½ minutes in when he when he hustled up court and executed a spectacular chase-down block of Luc Mbah a Moute’s fast-break layup — the kind of play that LeBron James patented.
The Kings are 3-4 since rookie head coach Michael Malone inserted McLemore and Jason Thompson into the starting lineup in place of shooting guard Marcus Thornton and forward Patrick Patterson, following the team’s 1-5 start without the injured Carl Landry. Landry is expected to be sidelined three to four months because of torn flexor muscle in his left hip, which required surgery on Oct. 15.
NOTES: Kings F Travis Outlaw was fined $15,000 by the league for “excessive and unnecessary contact,” a day after getting his first career his ejection for his flagrant 2 foul against J.J. Reddick.
... Pau Gasol has a new book out titled “Life - Vida,” in which former Los Angeles Times award-winning photographer Lori Shepler chronicled the Laker center’s activities on and off the court since the start of the 2010-11 season. ... Sacramento has shot less than 50 percent from the field in each of its first 13 games. ... Kings coach and director of player development Dee Brown is scheduled to have surgery this week after injuring his knee at practice on Friday. ... No Lakers player has scored more than 25 points in a game so far.