LOS ANGELES The Kings didn't need to do anything to make Sunday night any easier for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Los Angeles was without leading scorer Kobe Bryant and used only seven players.
But Sacramento did the wrong things just enough to lose 113-102 at Staples Center.
The Kings played the Lakers close, except in the third quarter, when they reverted to their excessive-dribble offense, registered only one assist and were outscored 30-20.
That came after a second quarter in which the Kings scored 29 points and rallied from 10 down to tie the score 56-56 at halftime.
"I don't think we moved the ball like we did in the second quarter, and the ball got stuck on one side," Kings guard Isaiah Thomas said. "They're a great defensive team when you keep the ball on one side."
The Kings had 16 assists at halftime but finished with just 21.
"We were stagnant with the ball," Sacramento forward Patrick Patterson said. "Just standing around, watching somebody else make a play. Just not moving the ball, not cutting, not setting screens. When you're not doing that, it makes it a lot easier for the defense."
The Kings shot 19 of 48 (39.6 percent) in the second half, including 8 of 23 (34.8 percent) in the third quarter.
Even with the Lakers missing Bryant (sprained ankle) and Pau Gasol (torn foot tissue), Sacramento coach Keith Smart said the Kings needed to play close to a perfect game to win without DeMarcus Cousins (left quadriceps contusion).
The third quarter was imperfect enough to give the Lakers a cushion the Kings couldn't overcome.
"Obviously, the ball didn't move it stopped a little bit," Smart said. "We started to go too much dribble, dribble, dribble, and we had one shot-clock violation because of that."
Thomas scored 12 of the Kings' 20 points in the third quarter and finished with a team-high 26.
But the third quarter left him more frustrated than pleased.
"The passing lanes just wasn't there to try and get others involved," Thomas said. "So I was just in attack mode to try and create something at the rim. I did a good job at that, but they did a good job of taking away the things I wanted trying to get my bigs involved, my shooters involved."
Smart said he was pleased with how Thomas managed the game overall. The second-year guard said he's still looking to do better, including knowing when to score vs. facilitate.
"It's hard, but that's the job of a point guard," Thomas said. "You've got to know when it's your time to be aggressive, when to score and when to get others involved. I'm learning that each and every day in games and in practice. I'm trying to get better at that."
The Kings (23-44) overcame their third-quarter woes when the fourth quarter began. After trailing 88-76, they used a 12-2 run to cut the deficit to 90-88 with 8:36 to play.
Toney Douglas then stole a Steve Blake pass to set up a four-on-one fast break, but Jason Thompson was called for charging.
The Lakers then scored 11 unanswered points as part of a 17-4 run to put away the game.
Six of the seven Lakers who played scored in double figures.
Antawn Jamison led Los Angeles (36-32) with 27 points coming off the bench to go with nine rebounds.