SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 29 (Ticker) --
When they absolutely needed
to, Mike Bibby
and the Sacramento Kings turned things around.
Bibby scored 31 points to lead a balanced attack as the Kings
got back into their Western Conference first-round series with a
116-104 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics.
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"We're in the playoffs now," Kings coach Rick Adelman
had to play this game like it was our last. And we have to do
the same on Sunday."
The sixth-seeded Kings rebounded from a pair of disheartening
losses in Seattle in which they displayed none of their
firepower. The primary culprit was Bibby, their floor leader
who made just 8-of-30 shots, including 0-of-7 3-pointers.
Back in raucous Arco Arena, Bibby found things more to his
liking. He drained 11-of-21 shots, including his first
3-pointer of the series, as he led all five starters in double
"The fans helped us out a lot," said Bibby, who also had team
highs of seven rebounds and four assists. "We came in here to
try to get momentum going. We jumped out to a big lead in the
first quarter and kept rolling."
Bibby was prominent in many positives for Sacramento. He scored
10 points in the first quarter, helped the Kings build a
21-point second-quarter lead and turned back a rally by the
SuperSonics in the final period.
"I knew I'd bounce back," Bibby said. "I didn't shoot the ball
(well) in that first game. If I had any contribution in that
game at all, I thought we would have won that game. I shot a
lot of extra shots last night. I'm just trying to get it to a
"I think Mike Bibby was very focused and determined tonight to
push his team to a victory, moreso than our leaders were,"
Seattle center Jerome James
said. "I've been waiting for
(Bibby) to show up. He came out tonight and announced his
presence with authority."
scored a playoff career-high 22 points, Cuttino Mobley
added 21 and Brad Miller
14 for the Kings, who shot 49
percent (39-of-79) and sank 33-of-36 free throws. That was more
than enough to overcome their repeated shortcomings on the
"We came out and played hard," Thomas said. "(My game) just
happened. I was just trying to put the ball on the floor and go
to the hole and James pretty much couldn't stay with me because
he's a 7-footer. I'm a lot quicker than him, so I was getting
to the basket real well."
scored 33 points and James had another big game with
22 and nine rebounds for third-seeded Seattle. That was not
enough for the Sonics to overcome some early turnovers and a
poor game by All-Star forward Rashard Lewis
, who managed just
nine points on 2-of-10 shooting and did not speak with reporters
"I don't think the game was much different than the first two,"
Allen said. "Bibby was just making his shots. The same shots
he was missing in Game One, he was taking tonight and making
them. Brad Miller got off to a good start. That's where their
confidence started turning."
Game Four is here Sunday. The Kings have not been eliminated in
the first round since 2000 and are 5-0 at home when trailing in
a series during that span.
Seattle committed nine turnovers in the first quarter and fell
into a 31-19 hole. Bibby had a hoop and free throw and BobbyJackson
added a basket to open the second period and give
Sacramento a 36-19 advantage.
"Once the crowd got into the game, they got confidence and
momentum," Sonics coach Nate McMillan
said. "When a team is
putting up those type of numbers in one quarter, you're going to
Miller made three straight hoops and Bibby drained a jumper to
give the Kings their largest lead at 48-27 with 5:18 to play.
Allen responded with two three-point plays and a 3-pointer in a
14-1 run that cut the deficit to eight points just over two
Thomas scored 12 points in the third quarter to keep the Sonics
from getting any closer than seven points. Bibby's 3-pointer
made it 97-85 early in the final period and he added a
three-point play and two free throws for a 106-93 advantage with
"We had to take care of home court," Mobley said. "All we have
to do is tie it up (Sunday) and it's a three-game series."