Kings Lose to Lakers By Only 8

Times Staff Writer

If his presence hadn't been captured on videotape, Jerry Reynolds would not be admitting today that he was a witness to the sacking of Sacramento, when the Lakers outscored the Kings, 29-0 to open the game. You're only supposed to see those kinds of runs in a pool hall.

"In years to come, I'll deny it," Reynolds said Sunday night. "I want you to know that."

If nothing else Sunday night, the Kings wanted to let the world know that they aren't as bad as they looked that February night in the Forum.

They didn't beat the Lakers. "The Lakers, to the casual observer, appear to be the better basketball team," Reynolds said after the Lakers' 10th straight win, 129-121, over the Kings. "They beat us like they're supposed to."

And they'll never erase the memory of that opening act.

"There's no use dwelling on it. We were all part of it in different ways and I'm still ashamed of it," said Reynolds, who was still an assistant coach that night but replaced Phil Johnson before the Kings played another game.

"But at least this game was a reminder that something like that, there's no excuse for."

The Kings nearly put the Lakers in the position of grasping for excuses, taking a 14-point lead, 23-9, midway through the first quarter.

The Lakers recovered in time to take a 37-32 lead at the end of the quarter, were up by four at the half, 62-58, and after a 40-point third quarter, appeared to have the game in hand with a 102-91 lead.

But this was a much different show than the one the Kings saw a couple of days ago, when Reynolds put on the tape of the shutout.

"I really wasn't interested in seeing that," said Reggie Theus, who led all scorers with 33 points.

"That was a pretty freak thing that happened. . . . There's a tendency to be gun-shy after that, but I definitely wanted to put it up early."

Theus, who ended the possibility of another shutout by hitting a 19-footer 23 seconds into the game, scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, when the Kings drew within four, 123-119, with 2:54 to go after A.C. Green threw away an in-bounds pass.

But Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had a frequently frustrating night--7 of 18 shooting, five fouls and a technical--made a short sky hook while cutting across the lane, making it a six-point game with 2:32 to go.

The assist, of course, went to Magic Johnson, who recorded his second triple-double in three games with 33 points, 19 assists and a team-high 12 rebounds.

On Sacramento's next possession, second-year center Joe Klein, who had a career-high 22 points and 12 rebounds, lost his footing--he said later he slipped in some water--and the ball ended up in the hands of James Worthy.

"We thought we'd go at him (Abdul-Jabbar) a little bit using Joe and LaSalle (Thompson) to wear him down," Reynolds said.

"But when Joe fell down, that wasn't part of the plan. I didn't design that play."

How concerned was the Forum crowd that the Lakers' 32-game, home-court winning streak against the Kings was in jeopardy? Well, a roar arose during the next time out, but that was only because three guys in Boston Celtics jackets and T-shirts staged an impromptu demonstration.

The Lakers went inside again to Abdul-Jabbar. Otis Thorpe blocked his shot, but was called for goaltending and the Laker lead was eight.

Eddie Johnson, who had 18 points coming off the bench for Sacramento, hit a tough 12-footer on the baseline to make it 127-121, but after a free throw by James Worthy, Johnson missed a shot and Theus missed two--one a running left-hander in traffic, the other a fast-break layup with Magic Johnson the only man back on defense.

"Good defense," Theus said of Magic's play. "I had the option of throwing to Othell, but I had Magic back-pedaling, so I opted to shoot it."

A couple of minutes earlier, when he had a jump ball against Abdul-Jabbar, Theus opted to swat the ball out of bounds on its way up, a move that did not sit well with Reynolds.

"It wasn't what we wanted," Reynolds said. "But that's not the first time I've been miffed, as it were. And I have three more weeks of miffing to go."

Theus did have an explanation.

"The last time I had a jump ball against him, I got stitches," he said. "My head kind of got in the way of his elbow and he gave me about three or four stitches on the side of my head.

"I wasn't interested in letting that happen again."

The Lakers, admittedly, are having trouble keeping their interest, although their current winning streak is their longest of the season. They're 19-2 since the All-Star break, and remain four games ahead of Boston for the league's best record with 14 games to go.

"Sometimes it's tough to get up for a game every night," Magic Johnson said. "Now it's becoming easier for other teams to come in here and catch us off guard."

With Magic, however, it's still strictly en garde. Check his stats just for third quarters in the last three games: 14 points and 7 assists against Utah, 11 points and 8 assists against San Antonio, 11 points and 8 assists against Sacramento.

This ended the Lakers' six-game homestand, their longest of the season. They play the Suns in Phoenix Tuesday, before returning home to play Detroit on Thursday.

"It will be good to get out of town," Magic said. "We need to get out. We've been here too long."

The rest of the league undoubtedly agrees.

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