SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 11 (Ticker) --
Faced with an
ever-diminishing number of teammates, Peja Stojakovic
and Mike Bibby
did all they could Tuesday to get their team a win.
Stojakovic scored 27 points and Bibby added 18 and seven assists
as the undermanned Sacramento Kings posted a 109-100 victory
over the Denver Nuggets.
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The triumph was the Kings' 17th straight at home against the
Nuggets and made them winners in their first game since shipping
to the Orlando Magic on Monday in exchange for
and Michael Bradley
"I really thought it was a terrific win," Kings coach Rick Adelman
said. "Kevin (Martin
) and Maurice (Evans
) were terrific
tonight and everybody who played gave us a lift. It was just a
While star forward Chris Webber
sat out to rest his sore left
knee, Mobley and Bradley had yet to arrive in town, leaving the
Kings with just nine players in uniform.
"I'm proud of our effort because we stuck with it," said Evans,
who scored 14 points in his first start since Nov. 2. "Even
with (Webber) out and with Doug and all the things that are
going on, we were able to pull out a victory. In that sense, I
think we got everything we wanted done."
Stojakovic stepped up, scoring 10 points in the first quarter
and nine in the closing minutes. His 3-pointer with 6:24 left
snapped an 89-89 tie and gave Sacramento the lead for good.
"When you look at our team in warmups, there were only nine
guys," said Stojakovic, who has 64 points in his last two games.
"But we played as a team. A lot of guys stepped up. All nine
guys stepped up tonight. It was a great effort."
Bibby left the game with 9:40 remaining after turning his ankle
following a driving layup, and Denver quickly took advantage
with a 9-0 run that tied the game, 85-85. A hobbled Bibby
returned at the 7:54 mark, just before Stojakovic put the Kings
ahead to stay.
Afterward, Bibby indicated he would be ready for Thursday's home
game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Sacramento clinched the game with free throws in the final
minutes as Denver missed several point-blank opportunities
against a zone defense, which had stalled the Nuggets much of
the first half.
"We were missing shots we normally make," Denver forward Carmelo Anthony
said. "The last couple of games we've been missing.
Especially me. I know I was missing shots I normally make. Only
thing I can do is keep going at it."
The Kings got good production from some of their newer faces.
Martin, a rookie, scored a personal-best 17 points in just 18
minutes, including 9-for-11 from the free throw line. Starting
in place of Webber, Darius Songaila
scored 12 and had eight
scored 17 points and Anthony struggled to post 16
for the Nuggets, who lost their fifth straight since winning
interim coach Michael Cooper
's debut Dec. 31.
"It's been the same story all month," Martin said. "However many
games we've lost, guys got to get tired of it. Get fed up.
I've been fed up."
Since returning from a sprained ankle Dec. 31, Anthony is
averaging 20.5 points but shooting just 32 percent (37-of-116).
"I'm fine physically," Anthony said. "All I can do is keep
shooting. A slump is a slump. I've been in a slump before and
got out of it."
"We should have beaten them," Cooper said after his team lost
its ninth straight game to a Western Conference opponent. "They
didn't beat us, we beat ourselves. Turning the ball over, not
boxing out, and all the other little things."