Kobe Bryant remained away from the court because of a sprained left ankle. He even avoided sitting on the bench to offer coaching advice, perhaps wanting to ensure he doesn't pass along his flu-like symptoms to other teammates.

No matter.

The Lakers' 113-102 victory Sunday over the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center featured plenty of elements that suggested they can do fine at least for another game without his guidance.

The Lakers' offense literally included everyone, from a sharpshooting Antawn Jamison (27 points on 8-of-14 shooting), a surprisingly efficient Metta World Peace (22 points points on 10-of-13 shooting), a balanced Steve Nash (19 points, 12 assists), an aggressive Steve Blake (16 points, eight assists) and a dominant Dwight Howard (12 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks).

Add it all up and the Lakers (36-32) have a one-game lead over the Utah Jazz (34-32) for the No. 8 playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"We can't necessarily just depend on Kobe to make plays. We have to make plays for each other," Howard said. "It's still my job to control the game with my energy and my activity."

Howard may have had zero second-half field goal attempts, but it hardly affected his energy level, particularly with a torn labrum in his right shoulder he conceded took a few extra hits in the Lakers' win Friday over Indiana.