Kobe Bryant and the new Lakers had been searching for a signature victory, something to prove their revamped club still can play with the West's powers. After they were done humiliating...

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Kobe Bryant and the new Lakers had been searching for a signature victory, something to prove their revamped club still can play with the West’s powers.

After they were done humiliating the Sacramento Kings last night, nobody could doubt it — and the Lakers added even more fuel to their biggest rivalry.

Bryant had 31 points and 12 assists, Lamar Odom scored 22 points, and Los Angeles handed Sacramento its worst home loss in nearly seven years, 115-99.

Brian Cook hit four of the Lakers’ 12 three-pointers in a building where Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal enjoyed some of their greatest playoff triumphs during the last six seasons. With Shaq long gone to Miami, they still handed Sacramento its worst loss at Arco Arena since a 116-95 defeat to San Antonio on March 2, 1998.

In the closing minutes, Bryant leaned down the bench to speak to assistant coach Frank Hamblen — but neither could remember the last time Los Angeles won so convincingly in Sacramento.

“It’s big. We have yet to beat such a top opponent like Sacramento,” Bryant said. “We’ve been in position to win these types of ballgames, and we just haven’t closed them out. This is a good step for us.”

Chris Webber and Bobby Jackson scored 20 points apiece for the Kings, whose starters spent the final minutes sitting on the bench in embarrassed indignation. It was just Sacramento’s third loss in their past 17 games.

“We weren’t doing anything that was going to get us into the game,” said coach Rick Adelman, who furiously benched his starters for the final 4:49. “They’re a team that gives us problems because of matchups, but they’re not that good. This was hopefully a wakeup call, because they handled us.”

Said Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich: “It was a great team win, probably a milestone for us. Now we’ve got something we talk about — winning on the road — and we have something to look back on.”

Snow sent away from Cavaliers’ bench

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Cleveland point guard Eric Snow was sent to the locker room after getting in an argument on the bench with Cavaliers coach Paul Silas in the second quarter against Detroit.

Snow, an ex-Sonic, returned to the bench after halftime, but did not play in the second half.

Silas was upset with Snow because the Cavaliers turned the ball over on an eight-second violation.

“Nobody was open,” Snow shouted back at Silas.

Silas then took Snow out of the game and after a heated conversation, he gestured to Snow to get off the bench.

“I am not going to discuss that,” Silas said after the game.

Snow also declined comment.


• Pistons coach Larry Brown won his 945th game and moved past Bill Fitch for fourth on the NBA’s career list.

• Milwaukee Bucks G Erick Strickland will miss at least two weeks after being placed on the injured list with a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee.

• The Portland Trail Blazers waived G Geno Carlisle.