The Los Angeles Lakers will be without star Kobe Bryant, but they remain confident to pull a victory out when they take on the Sacramento Kings Sunday night at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Though Bryant missed all four of his shots and finished without a point while playing only one quarter, Los Angeles (35-32) pulled out a 99-93 win at Central Division-leading Indiana on Friday. With Bryant shouting instructions and diagramming plays on the sideline, Dwight Howard had 20 points with 12 rebounds and completed a tiebreaking three-point play with 1:30 remaining.
"It was our best win of the season," said Metta World Peace, who had 19 points and seven boards. "It's been an up-and-down year, not to our fans' liking as far as the record is concerned. But I would say it's our best win of the season."
Los Angeles shot 42.3 percent overall, but 13 of 26 from 3-point range and held the Pacers to 37.4 percent shooting to win for the 18th time in 25 games.
The Lakers hold a slim lead over Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"I just think we're more comfortable, we are playing more together," point guard Steve Nash said. "I'm confident that we can repeat this performance, but we have to keep winning games."
The Kings (23-43) are a West-worst 6-28 away from home and have lost 11 of 12 on the road, but they're coming off their most lopsided win of the season, 121-79 at home over Chicago on Wednesday.
With DeMarcus Cousins sidelined by a left quad injury that's left him day to day, Tyreke Evans had 26 points and Isaiah Thomas added 22 as the Kings shot 54.2 percent, scored 27 fast-break points and committed a season-low five turnovers.