Trans. Dec 6 10:26 ET (Dec 6 10:26 ET ) The Los Angeles Lakers navigated the first 19 games of the season without star Kobe Bryant well enough to welcome him back with a winning record. Jodie Meeks made two huge 3-pointers in the final minutes to finish with 19 points, lifting the Lakers past the Sacramento Kings 106-100 Friday night in what's expected to be their last game before Bryant returns. ''You know who he is, he's Kobe Bryant. But he's not going to be able to do it by himself,'' said Lakers center Jordan Hill, who had seven points and nine rebounds.
Pau Gasol finished with 20 points and registered 10 rebounds, his 8th double-double of the season, to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a victory over the Sacramento Kings, 100-86. This is the 3rd straight victory for Los Angeles (7-7). Jordan Hill also chipped in for Los Angeles, finishing with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Despite the loss, Greivis Vasquez put up 20 points for Sacramento on 9-18 shooting, including 2-6 from behind the arc.
Kobe Bryant returned to practice this week for the Los Angeles Lakers, and it is only a matter of time until he is fully healed from his torn Achilles tendon. Until then, coach Mike D'Antoni will continue to mix and match his rotation, but it seems that he has finally found a unit that works. Ten players have already started for Los Angeles but it's had the same starting five in the last four games, and that group is expected to be on the floor again Friday night against the visiting Golden State Warriors. Among the new starters is forward Jordan Hill, who joined the lineup Nov. 12 after coming off the bench for the first eight games.
Jordan Hill barely played for coach Mike D'Antoni when they were together with the New York Knicks four years ago, and he started this season on D'Antoni's bench again with the Los Angeles Lakers. Hill has quickly made it impossible for D'Antoni to keep him off the court while the Lakers chase wins without Kobe Bryant. Hill had career highs of 24 points and 17 rebounds, and Jodie Meeks and Nick Young scored 19 points apiece in the Lakers' 114-99 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.