The Los Angeles Lakers blamed themselves, not absent teammate Dennis Rodman, for the end of their 10-game winning streak.
Jason Williams scored 21 points as the Sacramento Kings won 105-101 Sunday night over the Lakers, playing their first game since Rodman was granted an indefinite leave of absence for unspecified personal reasons.
Despite 33 points by Shaquille O'Neal and 29 by Kobe Bryant, including 10 in the final period, the Lakers lost for their first time since Kurt Rambis took over as coach from Del Harris in late February. Rambis had tied an NBA record by winning his first nine games.
"That's no excuse. That has nothing to do with us not winning," Rambis said of Rodman's absence. "We lost because of my inexperience as coach. I wasn't able to get this team to do what I wanted them to do. We didn't execute plays."
O'Neal, who added 11 rebounds for the Lakers, said Rodman's absence had nothing to do with the loss.
"We just didn't have the defensive intensity like we usually have," he said. "We're not going to make excuses for absent players."
But Sacramento fans were more than willing to blame Rodman, and to revel in their team's win over the shorthanded Lakers.
"You guys ain't nothing without Rodman," one fan yelled at Lakers forward Robert Horry in the closing seconds of the game.
Chris Webber had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings and Predrag Stojakovic had 17 points off the bench as Sacramento snapped a three-game losing streak.
The Kings had lost their previous 10 games against the Lakers, a streak that stretched back to 1995.
"We just came in tonight and played aggressively during the first quarter and just kept the pressure on them the whole game," Williams said. "Usually we have a good first half and then a bad second one. Tonight we just puit all together."
Stojakovic, a rookie from Yugoslavia, tied his career high in points by going 7-of-11 from the field including 3-for-7 on 3-pointers while playing 30 minutes.
"It's our job to put him in situations where he's getting better minutes, and we haven't done that," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "But tonight I saw that he was finding better situations, so I left him in."
Los Angeles trailed by five points at halftime, but Bryant hit two straight jumpers and O'Neal dunked to complete an 8-3 run that pulled the Lakers into a 63-63 tie.
Tariq Abdul-Wahad responded with a three-point play, however, and added six more points in the period as the Kings built an 84-76 lead heading into the fourth period.
Sacramento built its lead to 11 points on a 3-pointer by Vernon Maxwell with 6:30 left, and Williams followed with a long jumper as he was falling to the court to give the Kings their biggest lead.
The Lakers responded with eight straight points, six of them by Bryant, to pull within five points with four minutes left. But neither team scored for the next two minutes and Vlade Divac then had a three-point play to build the Sacramento lead to eight points.
Los Angeles scored five straight and then pulled within 103-101 with eight seconds left on a basket by Derek Fisher, but Williams hit two free throws with 4.6 seconds remaining.
Stojakovic had 14 points, Webber had 13 and Williams had 12 as the Kings closed out the second quarter with a 22-11 run to take a 60-55 halftime lead. O'Neal had 21 points and Bryant had 15 for the Lakers in the first half.
Notes: The Lakers also were missing starting point guard Derek Harper, who was sidelined with a sprained left ankle. ... Rambis had been seeking his 10th consecutive win to open his coaching career, which would have broken the record he shares with Buddy Jeannette of the 1947 Baltimore Bullets. ... Despite the win, the Kings are just 10-22 at home against the Lakers since moving to Sacramento in 1985. ... The Lakers had a four-game road winning streak snapped.
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