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Kobe Bryant's near triple-double leads Lakers past Kings, 103-98

Kobe Bryant scored 19 points and tied a season high with 14 assists despite a nagging left foot injury, and the Los Angeles Lakers kept pace for the Western Conference's final playoff spot by outlasting the Sacramento Kings 103-98 on Saturday night.

Bryant added nine rebounds and facilitated the Lakers' offense for 48 minutes after Steve Nash exited early in the first quarter with a recurring right hamstring injury. Bryant also passed Lakers great Wilt Chamberlain (31,419 points) for fourth on the NBA's career scoring list, after starting four points shy of the mark.

Dwight Howard added 24 points and 15 rebounds, and Steve Blake scored 15 points for the Lakers (38-36), who stayed even with Utah (38-36) for the eighth and final playoff spot.