Bibby, Williamson Lead Kings in Houston
Sacramento 88, Houston 80
HOUSTON, Jan. 11 (Ticker) -- Mike Bibby and Corliss Williamson made sure the Sacramento Kings would not fall short again to the injury-riddled Houston Rockets.
Bibby and Williamson scored 19 points apiece as the Kings cruised to an 88-80 victory over the struggling, depleted Rockets, who have lost four straight games.
Bibby found Williamson for a layup and made a short runner to give Sacramento its largest lead at 76-63 with just under seven minutes to go.
A 3-pointer by Rafer Alston cut the deficit to 82-77 with 2:06 to go. Houston had a chance to get closer, but Moochie Norris missed from long range with 59 seconds left. The Kings sank six free throws to seal the win.
"It was not really a high-scoring game but we were able to withstand their runs," Bibby said. "We rebounded good but didn't shoot well. We helped each other out more than we have been doing in the past."
Williamson came off the bench and posted a season high in points on 7-of-14 shooting. Bibby added eight assists for Sacramento, who stopped a two-game skid. Kenny Thomas had 14 points and eight rebounds and Brad Miller collected 11 and 11.
"(Williamson) was great," Miller said. "With that dunk, he looked like he was back at (the University of) Arkansas. He had the legs kicked out. He keeps himself ready for the game anytime we need him."
"We haven't been finding a way to win ugly games but we found a way to get this win and we really needed it," Williamson said. "It was a very much-needed win. Both teams have people out with injuries. That's when teams are most dangerous, because guys step up and play hard. We've been on both sides of it. It was an ugly game but a good game."
Juwan Howard scored 24 points and grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds for Houston. Dikembe Mutombo had a season-high 18 rebounds and Alston scored 15 points for the Rockets, who fell to 3-11 at home.
"It's very disappointing," Howard said. "We feel we're letting down the fans and we do not, of course, want to lose our fan appeal because they're our sixth man. I think we had every chance possible to win this game, but sure enough, we did not close it out."
Sacramento held Houston to an abysmal 3-of-20 from the arc. The Rockets also made just 9-of-17 free throws while watching Sacramento make 27-of-33.
"I don't care how hard you play, if you don't shoot the ball competently, you're going to have a hard time," said Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, whose team lost in double overtime in Charlotte on Tuesday. "We do just enough good to lose close. That's what we've been all season. It's mind-boggling. I know some of our guys killed themselves out there tonight and while that should certainly be complimented, this is about winning."
"You can still win games shooting a bad percentage," Alston said. "You've got to do the little things, and for some reason we're not doing them. I don't know why. We've got some great veteran guys on this team and we know better, but we have to find a way to get to loose balls and secure the rebounds."
The Rockets trailed, 18-13, after one period, and 43-36 at halftime.
The Kings quickly extended to a 54-42 lead on Miller's jumper. Sacramento later went nearly four minutes without a basket, allowing Houston to twice climb within four points.
David Wesley's jumper with 1:34 left got Houston within 59-55, but rookie Francisco Garcia responded with a bucket and Bibby's three-point play pushed the lead back to 64-55 with 49 seconds left in the third quarter.