Clippers fall to Kings for 11th straight time

first_imgSACRAMENTO — If Sam Cassell had any hair, he would be tearing it out while trying to figure out why the Los Angeles Clippers haven’t beaten the Sacramento Kings in three years. This time, the reasons were simple: Mike Bibby’s gutsy fourth quarter and Brad Miller’s big defensive play in the final minute sealed another win over the Kings’ downstate rivals. Chris Kaman had a career-high 25 points and 13 rebounds in the Clippers’ eighth loss in 11 games despite their highest-scoring performance of the season. Elton Brand added 24 points and 13 rebounds, but Miller and Bibby made the final game-changing plays. “It’s tough sometimes, but it’s my job,” said Bibby, his throat hoarse from illness. “If I can run, I’m going to play.” After 19 lead changes and 17 ties in three tremendously entertaining quarters, the Kings took the game’s first double-digit lead with a 10-2 run, going up 101-91 on Stojakovic’s jumper with 8:30 to play. Los Angeles pulled closer despite seven straight points from Bibby, and Kaman’s hook shot in traffic with 1:02 left got the Clippers to 114-112. Bibby, who had eight assists, found Miller for an open jumper with 44 seconds to play, but Brand made a layup moments later. After Miller missed an uncontested 13-footer, Los Angeles set up for its final shot. “They play bad against everyone else, but not against us,” said Cuttino Mobley, who had just 14 points and seven assists in his return to Sacramento. “I know what they are capable of doing. They scored 43 points in the second quarter. Things like that will happen, especially when you pass the ball like they do.” Kevin Martin added 17 points for the Kings, and Miller scored 20 in the first half but grabbed just three rebounds in 44 minutes. Kaman was outstanding for the Clippers, roaming the paint for rebounds and second-chance points while Sacramento big-man stopper Brian Skinner concentrated on Brand. “I told (Kaman) he needs to quit killing us,” Miller said with a grin. The Kings played without injured starters Bonzi Wells and Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who both watched the game in street clothes Abdur-Rahim with his broken jaw wired shut. The Clippers still are without Corey Maggette, who could be out for another month with a left foot injury. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I had a decent look, not a great look,” said Cassell, who scored 28 points. “I shot the three, and it was a shot I thought I could make.” That’s not a wise bet when the Clippers visit Arco Arena. Peja Stojakovic had 19 points and a season-high 13 rebounds, hitting two free throws with 3.4 seconds to play in the last-place Kings’ third victory in four games following a five-game losing streak. They relied on Bibby’s playmaking in the final minutes, and the flu-stricken point guard responded with even better stretch play than in his 38-point performance at Staples Center on Dec. 27 in Sacramento’s 110-93 victory over the Clippers. “The two games we’ve played them, they’ve really struggled to defend (Bibby) and Brad,” coach Rick Adelman said. “We need Mike to play at a high level. It’s as simple as that, and he was terrific tonight. … There’s not a lot of margin for error for us right now. We need those guys playing well if we’re going to win.” Bibby scored 11 of his 32 points in the final period, and Cassell missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with 6 seconds left in the Kings’ 11th straight victory over Los Angeles, 118-114 Friday night. Los Angeles’ struggles against the Kings defy logic, even when factoring in the Clippers’ reputation as longtime losers. The Clippers haven’t won in 15 straight trips to Sacramento since Nov. 7, 1997 and this one was available until Cassell, discombobulated by Miller’s deflection of a pass early in the possession, rushed a three-pointer that missed badly. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarksonlast_img

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