Lakers Toughen Up, Stop the Kings, 92-90

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Everyone brought their shootin' irons Tuesday night, but there's a new sheriff in town.

Meet the law hereabouts, the Lakers, who adjourned the shootout at the Arco corral.

Less than a minute into the second half, behind by 66-54, they put on a defensive stand that lasted the rest of the game and edged the Kings, 92-90, at Arco Arena. The victory gave the Lakers a one-game lead over Golden State in the Pacific Division.

A.C. Green blocked Spud Webb's driving layup with seconds left, preserving the victory. The ball bounced into the corner, where Wayman Tisdale picked it up for a last desperate shot that bounced off the side of the backboard.

How big a turnaround was this?

The Kings shot 67% during the first half.

"That team smoked us in the first half," Coach Mike Dunleavy said.

"They didn't have me thinking they couldn't keep doing it. They made me a believer. We just had to pick up our individual defense.

"Having just given that speech, we let them drive to the basket for a three-point play to start the second half."

That was Lionel Simmons' drive past James Worthy for a layup, drawing a foul, completing the three-point play.

A moment later, Simmons made a 15-footer. The Kings led, 66-54, and were now shooting 68.8%

The Lakers then held them to 26 points the rest of the game--and one field goal in the last 6:05.

"We made a few adjustments," Dunleavy said. "Obviously, I don't want to say what. We're playing them again Sunday."

What adjustments could the Lakers have made?

"They always say that," King Coach Dick Motta said. "Everything just went cold for us. That happens."

Until this season, Motta ran his slow, patterned offense here, but the Kings, having added Webb and Mitch Richmond, now get out and run.

Ask the Lakers.

"We're putting on a little better offensive show," Jerry Reynolds, Sacramento's general manager, said before the game.

"Of course, we haven't stopped anyone for a month."

By halftime, the last thing anyone was worried about was the Sacramento defense. Webb had 16 points, Richmond 15 and Dennis Hopson another 10. Among them, they were shooting 79.2%.

However, the Laker guards weren't exactly standing around, themselves.

By halftime, Sedale Threatt and Byron Scott had scored 27 points and were shooting 76.5%.

"I knew when Spud made his first eight points and I was four for four, we were going to have a shootout," Threatt said. "Because he was feeling it, and I was definitely feeling it."

Simmons was feeling it, too, early in the third quarter, but the Lakers did what they have done so often this season. They dug down and slowed the opposition to a halt.

They caught up during the third quarter and fought the Kings through the fourth.

At 86-86, Sam Perkins blocked Richmond's driving layup. The Lakers ran, Worthy made a behind-the-back bounce pass to Scott and Scott's layup put them ahead to stay.

But not far ahead. The Kings had the ball with 16 seconds to play.

Webb drove into the lane. Perkins and Green rose ahead of him, remembering Dunleavy's warning that Webb likes to hold the ball and draw a foul.

Webb shot.

Green got a hand on the ball.

"I think it's the first shot I've blocked all season," he said.

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