Bibby Paces Kings Past Struggling Clippers
Sacramento 118, L.A. Clippers 114
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 6 (Ticker) -- The Sacramento Kings may have reversed roles in the Pacific Division with the Los Angeles Clippers this season. Mike Bibby is not ready to concede anything just yet.
Bibby scored 32 points and dished out eight assists while Brad Miller added 26 points as the Kings held on for a wild 118-114 victory over the Clippers.
Bibby has been his usual solid self, however, averaging a team-best 20 points per game. He scored 11 points in the fourth quarter Friday as the Kings opened the period with a 10-2 run and survived a late barrage to improve to 2-0 against the Clippers this season.
Sacramento owned a four-point lead with 2:30 to go when Bibby drilled a long 3-pointr from the left wing to push the advantage to 112-105. Sam Cassell answered with a 3-pointer, but Bibby knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:45 remaining to give the Kings a 114-108 edge.
"(Bibby) was terrific tonight," Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "During the fourth quarter, he was great. We need Mike to play at a high level, it's as simple as that."
Bibby, who struggled through a 4-of-20 performance Tuesday in the Kings' loss to Philadelphia, has been battling flu-like symptoms for the better part of a week. "I was a little bit tired last game and a little bit tonight," he said. "But I tried to fight through and just get to the basket a lot more."
Sacramento has won 11 straight against Los Angeles and has not lost to its division rival since January 18, 2003. The Kings also have won 15 in a row vs. the Clippers at Arco Arena, where Sacramento has limped to an uncharacteristically poor 9-10 record this season. The Kings looked right at home on Friday, however, shooting 55 percent (45-of-82) from the floor.
"Right now, we need all the wins we can get," Miller said. "If we can keep getting them against (the Clippers), it's going to help us out in the division as well. It's a wide-open year. Whoever gets through these early-season struggles is going to have a push."
Sacramento owned a four-point lead with 2:30 to go when Bibby drilled a long 3-pointer from the left wing to push the advantage to 112-105. Sam Cassell answered with a 3-pointer, but Bibby knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:45 remaining to give the Kings a 114-108 edge.
Los Angeles cut its deficit to 114-112 when Chris Kaman hit a running lefthanded hook with just over a minute remaining. Bibby found Miller for a wide-open jumper on the ensuing possession. Elton Brand hit a short baseline jumper with 38 seconds to go to halve the deficit, and Los Angeles had an opportunity to take the lead in the waning seconds. But Cassell's potential go-ahead 3-pointer hit the front iron, and Peja Stojakovic made a pair of free throws on the other end to seal the victory.
"It was a good look, I just missed," said Cassell, who bounced back from a 1-of-12 shooting performance against the Kings in Los Angeles 10 days ago. "We didn't play solid (defense) and they made shots. That's how the game goes."
"To let (Sacramento) shoot 55 percent in the game and still be as close as we were was amazing in itself," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We came down at the end of the game and executed pretty well for ourselves, but they had the extra possession."
The game featured 19 lead changes, with neither team able to wrestle control during the first three quarters. But Sacramento led the entire fourth quarter and held off Los Angeles.
"We did what we wanted to do," Adelman said. "You've got to execute down the stretch, you've got to get stops. We couldn't get a stop, but we kept scoring. We tried to put it in Brad and Mike's hands, let them make plays and the other guys feed off of them."
Stojakovic collected 19 points and 13 rebounds while Kevin Martin chipped in 17 points for the Kings, who have won three of their last four games. Cassell scored 28 points, Kaman had a career-high 25 and 13 rebounds and Brand added 24 and 13 to pace the Clippers, who have dropped eight of their last 11 after a 14-5 start.
"They came up with a lot of loose balls," Brand said. "We played well enough to win but just didn't capitalize at the end."