Bibby, Kings Beat Clippers to End Skid
Sacramento 110, L.A. Clippers 93
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 27 (Ticker) -- Just when it appeared the Sacramento Kings' success against the Los Angeles Clippers would expire, Mike Bibby turned back the clock with a vintage performance.
Bibby scored 17 of his season-high 38 points in a pivotal third-quarter run as the Kings rolled to a 110-93 triumph over the Clippers.
The streak appeared likely to end Tuesday as the Clippers came in tied for first place in the Pacific Division, while the Kings entered with a five-game losing streak and mired in the division cellar.
"This was a game that we were supposed to get," Los Angeles guard Shaun Livingston said. "This was a letdown for us. From me on down to everyone else, we will need to lean on one another and pick it up."
The game also marked the first time a Clippers team with a winning record squared off against a Kings team with a losing record since February 23, 1993.
Los Angeles won that game, 123-116, but had no such luck Tuesday due to a dominant third-quarter performance by Bibby, who finished 10-of-20 from the floor and 14-of-16 from the line in falling just short of his career high of 40 points, set February 4 against New York.
"I got to the free-throw line a lot tonight - and that helps," Bibby said. "I was trying to be aggressive and whatever they gave me, I took."
With Sacramento holding a 62-50 lead with just over nine minutes remaining in the third, Bibby simply took over as the Kings pushed the lead to 84-60 in less than seven minutes.
"We played together on both ends of the court," said Bibby, who added a season-high 10 assists. "We passed the ball well and made good cuts while forcing them to play defense. Everyone played good all the way around."
Bibby was the primary force behind the 22-10 burst, shooting 6-of-6 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the line for 17 points. He began the run with a jumper with 9:06 remaining and capped it with four free throws as the Kings took control.
"Mike had a great shooting game tonight," said Kings rookie Francisco Garcia, who added 11 points, six rebounds and three blocks. "He was getting hot and really hurting them with a lot of pick-and-rolls. He was reading the big men very well and reacted to what they did."
The outstanding performance by Bibby overshadowed a solid effort by Brad Miller, who collected 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Kevin Martin added 20, eight and five for Sacramento, which shot a crisp 35-of-40 (88 percent) from the foul line.
"Our young guys did a nice job and Brad and Mike were terrific," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "They really controlled the game for us. It was obviously a win we really needed, but surprisingly we had three starters out of the game.
The players Adelman was referring to were All-Star forward Peja Stojakovic (back), shooting guard Bonzi Wells (groin) and forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who suffered a broken jaw in Monday's loss to Portland.
"This morning we found out it was broken," Adelman said of Abdur-Rahim, who will be sidelined indefinitely. "We had X-rays done and didn't know the extent of it until tonight. He got hit pretty good with the back of a hand, but you never know about those things. We will have to wait and see tomorrow to find out exactly what the doctor says and what the procedure is going to be."
Elton Brand led the Clippers with 25 points but scored only six after intermission. Chris Kaman chipped in 14 points and 11 boards for Los Angeles, which has dropped six of its last eight games.
"Sacramento hasn't been playing well," said Brand, who added six blocks. "They lost to Portland last night and had their backs up against the wall. They wanted to come here and play well and they really took it to us. We were not able to match their intensity."
Adelman was especially pleased with his team's defensive effort on starting guards Cuttino Mobley and Sam Cassell, who combined to shoot 10-of-35 from the field.
"I think we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do," Adelman said. "And what we didn't want to do was give them any spurts and let Cuttino and Sam get off. And we had to try to control Elton Brand. We had guys after last night who came out with a nice attitude and controlled the game."
The Kings, who never trailed, came out on fire by hitting on 21-of-38 (55 percent) of their shots in the opening half. Miller scored 16 of his points in the first half and Martin added 13 in the opening two quarters to help Sacramento to a 59-44 lead at intermission.
"We let guys have open shots and let the Kings get into a rhythm," Livingston said. "They kept knocking down uncontested shots and we didn't match their intensity tonight."