Lakers Blow 22-Point Fourth Quarter Lead, But Beat Kings In Overtime To Clinch No. 2 Seed

The Lakers will host the New Orleans Hornets in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

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Kobe, Lakers Hold On To Beat Kings In Overtime, 116-108, Clinch No. 2 Seed

The Los Angeles Lakers were cruising to a win over the Kings tonight, but a funny thing happened on the way to a victory in Sacramento. The Lakers led by 22 points in the fourth quarter, but gave it all back, even falling behind in the closing minutes. However, Kobe Bryant hit a tying three-pointer with 4.8 second remaining, and the Lakers cruised in overtime, beating the Kings 116-108 in perhaps the final game ever in Sacramento.

The Lakers clinched the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, and will host the New Orleans Hornets in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 36 points, grabbed nine boards, and dished out six assists for the Lakers, who finished the regular season at 57-25. Lamar Odom had 22 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, while Pau Gasol scored 18 points, had 13 rebounds, and six assists on the night.

Matt Thornton led Sacramento with 36 points in defeat. The Lakers amazingly had six players play all 82 games this season: Bryant, Gasol, Odom, Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, and Shannon Brown. The Lakers open their playoff series with the Hornets on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. PDT at Staples Center.

For more news and information about the Lakers, or on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Kings: Starting Lineups, Playoff Scenarios, Etc

The Dallas Mavericks are up big on New Orleans in the fourth quarter, so the task for the Los Angeles Lakers tonight is simple. Beat the Sacramento Kings, and the Lakers are the No. 2 seed, playing either Memphis (if the Grizzlies beat the Clippers) or New Orleans (if the Clippers win). If the Lakers lose Wednesday night to the Kings, the Lakers will fall to No. 3 and play Portland in the first round.

Here are tonight's starting lineups:

Lakers (56-25)

Kings (24-57)

Tonight's game is televised on KCAL.

For more news and information about the Lakers, or on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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NBA Fines Kobe Bryant $100,000 For 'Offensive And Inexcusable' Comments

As expected, Kobe Bryant wasn't suspended for Wednesday's regular season finale against the Sacramento Kings, for Bryant's homophobic slur directed at NBA referee Bennie Adams on Tuesday night. However, the Los Angeles Lakers' susperstar guard was fined $100,000 by the NBA. Here is the statement from league commissioner David Stern:

"Kobe Bryant’s comment during last night’s game was offensive and inexcusable. While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated. Accordingly, I have fined Kobe $100,000. Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society."

Earlier Wednesday, Bryant issued a statement of his own, not issuing an apology, but rather stating, "What I said last night should not be taken literally."

For more news and information about the Lakers, or on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Andrew Bynum, Matt Barnes Expected To Play This Weekend When Playoffs Begin For Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers received good news on Wednesday, heading into their regular season finale against the Sacramento Kings. Both Andre Bynum and Matt Barnes got their MRI results back, and the news was good. From the Lakers' press release:

Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who injured his right knee in last night’s game versus the San Antonio Spurs, had an MRI this morning. Results of the MRI showed that Bynum has a bone bruise, but the injury is not deemed to be serious.

Lakers forward Matt Barnes also had an MRI exam on his sore right knee, which was surgically repaired on January 11, 2011. Results of Barnes’ MRI showed no new damage.

Both players are expected to be ready to play when the Lakers open the playoffs this weekend.

The Lakers need to win tonight, or have Dallas lose to New Orleans, to secure the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. As the No. 2 seed, the Lakers would face either New Orleans or Memphis in the first round. If they are the No. 3 seed, the Lakers would face Portland.

For more news and information about the Lakers, or on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Kobe Bryant On Homophobic Slur: 'What I Said Last Night Should Not Be Taken Literally'

Kobe Bryant issued a statement on Wednesday after he was caught on television yelling a homophobic slur at NBA referee Bennie Adams on Tuesday night. The remarks were caught on video during the TNT broadcast of the Lakers' game at Staples Center against the San Antonio Spurs. Here is the full statement from Bryant, per the Lakers:

What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.

I have read that statement a few times, and I can't seem to find an apology anywhere. It is unclear whether or not  Bryant will face some sort of suspension or fine for his comments, but it's hard to imagine the league suspending him for any playoff games. The incident is under review by the NBA.

For more news and information about the Lakers, or on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Mum After Kobe Bryant Apparently Yells Homophobic Slur At NBA Referee

As if the Los Angeles Lakers didn't have enough to worry about today, Kobe Bryant may have made things worse with some foul language in last night's win over San Antonio. After picking up a technical foul, Bryant went to the bench and yelled something at Bennie Adams. What Bryant yelled has been reported as a homophobic slur. Here is video from ESPN:

The Lakers aren't confirming or denying what Bryant said, but the Human Rights Campaign issued a statement, per Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times:

"What a disgrace for Kobe Bryant to use such horribly offensive and distasteful language, especially when millions of people are watching," the HRC said in a statement. " Hopefully Mr. Bryant will recognize that as a person with such fame and influence, the use of such language not only offends millions of LGBT people around the world, but also perpetuates a culture of discrimination and hate that all of us, most notably Mr. Bryant, should be working to eradicate. Bryant and the Lakers have a responsibility to speak up on this issue immediately. America is watching."

The Lakers are also trying to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference with a win Wednesday night in Sacramento, and are also awaiting the results of the MRI on center Andrew Bynum's hyper-extended right knee.

For more news and information about the Lakers, or on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Look To Clinch No. 2 Seed With Win In Possible Final Game In Sacramento

The Los Angeles Lakers need a win (or a Dallas loss) to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, but will be facing a hostile crowd in perhaps the final Kings home game after 26 years in Sacramento. The Lakers will be without center Andrew Bynum, as they wait for results on his MRI. In addition, Steve Blake (chickenpox) and Matt Barnes (sore right knee) are out as well.

The Lakers will clinch the No. 2 seed in the West with a win, or a Dallas loss at home to New Orleans. The Kings' crowd though figures to be fired up as the team could be moving to Anaheim this offseason. Expect a raucous crowd tonight at Arco Arena.

The Lakers called up Derrick Caracter from the D-League, and will have Trey Johnson, whom they just signed, available as well. The Lakers lead the season series with the Kings, 2-1. Sacramento picked up a 100-95 win at Staples Center on January 28. The Lakers have beaten the Kings in 14 of their last 17 encounters, and have not lost at Arco Arena since December 9, 2008.

For more news and information about the Lakers, or on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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