Sacramento 107, Phoenix 100

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 25 (AP) -- Mike Bibby hit one last dramatic 3-pointer and strutted downcourt with his signature bigfoot walk.

It's been a while since Bibby had a big-game performance that incited his home crowd to such deafening excitement, yet he still remembered all the steps to the celebration he perfected during the Kings' better years.

Bibby scored 37 points and hit two of his franchise-record nine 3-pointers in the final 1:15, leading the Kings to an improbable 107-100 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

Ron Artest added 24 points and nine rebounds for the struggling Kings, who snapped a three-game losing streak and stayed in the background of the playoff picture without the help of injured starters Kevin Martin, Brad Miller and Kenny Thomas.

With time running out to make a run at a ninth straight postseason appearance, Bibby took charge as Sacramento won for just the second time in 10 games.

"This feels good,'' Bibby said. "It was a big win, and we needed it. We've got 12 (games) left, so we've got to make sure we get a good amount of those 12 to give ourselves a chance.''

And the Kings pulled out all sorts of tricks for this line-in-the-sand game. Coach Eric Musselman ran an old-fashioned weave offense in the first quarter to slow down the Suns' tempo, while Bibby found the stroke that cemented his reputation for big-game heroics during Sacramento's glory years with Chris Webber, Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic.

"We've struggled of late, and we've come up close in a lot of ballgames,'' Musselman said. "Hopefully it will build our confidence in some of these close games because we played against one of the premier teams in the league and finished with a great fourth quarter.''

Sacramento maintained a small lead through the final minutes, but Shawn Marion's layup with 1:36 left cut it to 98-96. Bibby then drilled a 3-pointer from a step behind the line, and added another from the corner with 38 seconds left.

Bibby had five assists while carrying the Kings with his second-highest point total of the season. He went a career-best 9-for-12 on 3-pointers, including the two late shots that allowed him to surpass Mitch Richmond's franchise record, set against the Clippers on Feb. 25, 1994.

"We let them hang around,'' said Marion, who scored 17 points. "We knew they were at home and the momentum was there for us to take advantage of the game, but we let them stick around, and we didn't get stops when we needed to.''

Leandro Barbosa scored 27 points and Amare Stoudemire added 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Suns, who lost for just the third time in 11 games. Phoenix, which already has clinched the Pacific Division title, is six games behind NBA-leading Dallas for the Western Conference's top seed with 13 games to play.

Coach Mike D'Antoni largely kept to his regular playing rotation despite his club's assured playoff position - but three days after Phoenix pounded Sacramento at home, the Suns spent much of the afternoon chasing Bibby and his teammates. They seemed as surprised as the Kings seemed pleased.

"It's time to get it done - no ifs, ands or buts,'' Stoudemire said. "It's just flat-out time to get it done. We can't make any excuses. Regardless of who played well or who didn't, we've got to tighten up. ... It should have been easier (to play the Kings), knowing what they run. We had such a dominant performance in the last game.''

Steve Nash had 18 points and nine assists, but the two-time MVP also committed seven turnovers, and Bibby repeated eluded him on defense. Barbosa was the Suns' only scorer off the bench - and the backup point guard scored 15 straight in a 3+-minute span of the second quarter.

John Salmons scored 17 points for the Kings, who lost Martin when their leading scorer hurt his right eye on the opening possession of the second quarter. Martin, who left moments after being fouled by James Jones, will see an eye specialist Monday.

Notes: Artest added yet another dollop of drama to his soap-opera life recently by telling teammates he will strongly consider retiring after the season to spend more time with his family. He didn't speak to reporters after Sunday's game. ... Kevin Johnson, the Sacramento native whose No. 7 jersey was retired by the Phoenix Suns in 2001, attended the game. ... Sacramento had lost five straight to the Suns.

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