Bibby hit a clinching jumper with 11.7 seconds remaining, part of a 31-point night that carried the Kings to a 100-97 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.
“I know when he takes a shot late in the game, he’s going to make it,” said Chris Webber, who added 28 points for the Kings. “Even if he’s missed 15 in a row.”
“I saw the switch and I thought that was an advantage for me,” Bibby said. “I wasn’t going to drive. I looked at the clock. It was going to be a jump shot the whole time. It went in.”
The Hawks (5-26) have lost six straight games and 11 of 12. Only New Orleans has a worse record.
Bibby played 44 minutes, more than anyone else, but he still had something left at the end.
“Lue really made him work the whole night,” King coach Rick Adelman said. “I was concerned what he was going to be like down the stretch, but he made a huge shot there.”
Webber bounced back from a 6-of-21 shooting performance in a loss to Toronto. He made his first six shots and finished 13-of-22 from the field.
Lue missed a wide-open 3-pointer that would have put the Hawks ahead with 35 seconds left. After Billy’s clinching basket, Walker threw away the inbounds pass after a timeout and the Hawks were done.
“I didn’t want to get into a shootout with that team,” Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said.
Al Harrington led the Hawks with 22 points. Walker added 21 but he had another dismal night at the foul line, missing all five of his attempts to drop his season percentage below 52 percent.
Rookie Josh Smith scored a career-best 16 points for Atlanta—12 of them coming on six dunks that kept bringing the fans to their feet. The most spectacular play came in the third quarter when Predrag Drobnjak stole a pass, fed the ball to Harrington, who flipped it toward the roof. The 19-year-old Smith came soaring off the wing to slam it home, his elbows above the rim as he caught the ball.
“I knew I could get it,” Smith said. “Al’s a good passer. He knows where I like it at. I just had to go get it.”
The Kings scored the final eight points of the third quarter, taking a 79-77 lead when Webber just beat the buzzer with a shot off an inbounds pass. The officials reviewed the play, ruling that Webber got the ball off a split-second before the horn sounded.
“That was huge,” Woodson said. “I thought we played extremely well in the third quarter. But at the end of the third, it kind of turned in their favor.”
Atlanta kept it close all the way. There were 11 ties, 11 lead changes and neither team pushed a lead into double-figures.
“We’re starting to put some pieces together,” Walker said. “We’ll get better.”
The Kings placed point guard Bobby Jackson on the injured list and claimed guard Eddie House off waivers from Milwaukee. Jackson is expected to miss the rest of the regular season after undergoing wrist surgery Monday. House didn’t play. … The Hawks moved up the tipoff for their Jan. 15 game against Charlotte by an hour. It will now start at 6 p.m. to create less conflict with an Atlanta Falcons playoff game, which begins at 8 p.m. next door at the Georgia Dome. … The Hawks raised $64,000 for victims of the tsunami in southeast Asia. Walker led the way with a $20,000 donation. … Smith previous high this season was 14 points, which he’s done three times.