Wednesday , Apr , 18 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Lakers battle for playoff positioning in Sacramento

(Sports Network) – Pacific Division rivals wrap up the regular season, as the
playoff-bound Los Angeles Lakers visit the Sacramento Kings tonight at ARCO

The Lakers will be the seventh or eighth seed in the Western Conference
playoffs. They will face the top-seeded Mavericks if they are No. 8 or the
second-seeded Suns if they are No. 7.

A victory would automatically make the Lakers the seventh seed. If Golden
State wins and the Lakers lose, the Warriors would be the seventh seed in the
postseason and the Lakers would be No. 8.

Superstar Kobe Bryant poured in 50 points, his tenth 50-plus point game of the
season, to lead the Lakers into the playoffs with a 109-98 win over the
Seattle SuperSonics on Sunday at the Staples Center.

Bryant, who was 18-of-25 from the field, also had eight rebounds for the
Lakers, who snapped a four-game losing streak to secure a playoff berth for
the second season in a row. Lamar Odom ended with 14 points in the victory.

The Lakers, who were eliminated in seven games by the Phoenix Suns in the
first round of last year’s playoffs, are 16-24 as the visitor this season.

Sacramento, which had its streak of eight straight years in the postseason
halted, tries to avoid going into the offseason on a two-game losing streak.
On Monday, David West scored 25 points as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City
Hornets edged the Kings, 125-118, at ARCO Arena.

Ron Artest tallied 22 points and pulled down seven rebounds in the loss for
the Kings, who are 20-20 at home this season. Mike Bibby and Francisco Garcia
both ended with 17 points, while Shareef Abdur-Rahim netted 15 in defeat.

Kevin Martin has been a pleasant surprise for the Kings this season. Martin
leads Sacramento in scoring (20.3 ppg), while Artest, who is second on the
Kings in scoring (18.8 ppg), has grabbed a team-best 6.5 rebounds. Bibby has
dished out a club-high 4.8 assists per game.