Kings Top Jazz Despite Kirilenko’s 10 Blocks
Sacramento 91, Utah 89
SALT LAKE CITY, March 25 (Ticker) -- Andrei Kirilenko did all he could, but Mike Bibby and Bonzi Wells did just a little bit more.
Bibby had 24 points and eight assists and Wells added 23 points, eight rebounds and five steals as the Sacramento Kings posted a 91-89 triumph over the Utah Jazz, who wasted a big effort from Kirilenko.
"(Kirilenko) is an excellent player. That's what he does," Wells said. "His arms are very long and very active. They did a good job of putting up a smaller lineup with him as a freelance guy, blocking shots."
Utah trailed by as many as five points in the fourth quarter before Carlos Boozer converted a three-point play and Keith McLeod drained a shot from the arc with 7:31 remaining for a 79-77 edge.
The King were able to rebuild their advantage to three points when Ron Artest found a slicing Kenny Thomas, who scored 11 points, for an easy a layup. But Mehmet Okur nailed a 3-pointer with 4 1/2 minutes left to tie the game at 85-85.
Both teams went scoreless over the next 2:46 until Wells hit a 3-pointer from the right corner.
"Luckily I made him (Kirilenko) pay, leaving me open in the corner," Wells said. "My teammates had confidence to come to me down the stretch, and luckily I made the baskets."
"Bonzi stepped it up and hit a huge shot," said Bibby, who added four steals. "He was wide open, I was hoping he'd hit it and he did." Following a Utah basket, Brad Miller scored on a layup, making it 90-87 with 47 seconds to go.
Boozer had a chance to make it a one-point game once again but missed both of his free throws nine seconds later. The 6-9 forward converted a layup with one second left to make it 90-89.
"Free throws destroyed us the whole game," Kirilenko said. "I can imagine if we had just made three more free throws, and only missed 13, we'd win the game."
After Bibby split a pair of free throws, Matt Harpring had a chance to send the game into overtime, but he misfired on a wide-open jumper as time expired.
"I got a good shot," said Harpring, who scored seven points. "I should have squared my body up more, but I just missed it."
"I figured there was only eighth-tenths of a second left, and I figured they couldn't get off a real good shot if they wanted," Bibby said. "But they did, and luckily they missed."
Miller scored 11 points and Artest and rookie Francisco Garcia added seven apiece for the Kings, who shot 43 percent (31-of-72) from the field.
"It's a big win for us obviously," Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "They needed a win, too, and any win you can get down the stretch especially on the road. Any road win we can get right now is really huge for us."
Sacramento (35-34) pushed its lead to two games over New Orleans for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference playoff race.
Boozer had 19 points and 16 rebounds and Devin Brown contributed 17 points off the bench for Utah, which shot 46 percent (33-of-71).
"You take a look at every game, it's almost the same scenario we are slow getting into the game, then we get warmed up and we start playing our game," Kirilenko said. "But sometimes it's too late."
The Jazz (32-37) fell three games behind the Kings.
"It's tough, but we've gotta go home and live with it," Harpring said. "That's part of the business. It's getting tougher, it's getting steeper. But if we go on a winning streak, we're there."