SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- After their first road playoff loss in nearly two years, the Los Angeles Lakers finally might have a challenge on their hands.
Chris Webber had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Mike Bibby scored 20 points as the Sacramento Kings evened the Western Conference finals 1-1 Monday night, weathering Shaquille O'Neal's biggest game of the postseason to beat the Lakers 96-90.
The Lakers' NBA-record streak of 12 consecutive road playoff victories ended in an ugly game in front of another delirious Arco Arena crowd. It was just the third defeat in 27 playoff games for the two-time champions, who hadn't lost on the road since Game 5 of the 2000 NBA Finals.
The best-of-seven series shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Friday night, with Game 4 on Sunday at Staples Center.
The game wasn't exactly a classic. Sacramento led 89-74 with 6 1/2 minutes left, but the Kings managed just one field goal after that. The Lakers gradually rallied despite poor shooting and turnovers by both teams in the closing minutes.
Trailing 92-82, the Lakers scored five straight points, but O'Neal, who had 35 points, missed a free throw, then came up short on an easy hook shot. Los Angeles missed five straight shots in the closing seconds before Kobe Bryant's 3-pointer with 12.5 seconds left cut the lead to 93-90.
The Lakers eagerly fouled Webber, who missed seven of his first nine free throws on the night. Webber hit one of two, and Rick Fox missed a 3-pointer to seal it.
The Lakers got 22 points on 9-for-21 shooting from Bryant, who received three liters of intravenous fluids in the hours before the game after an overnight bout with food poisoning.