PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—After a rash of injuries and two significant trades threatened to derail Sacramento’s season, the Kings are somehow back in the NBA playoffs.
Mike Bibby added 19 points and 11 assists for the Kings, who controlled their own destiny after Minnesota lost to Denver 107-104 earlier.
“It’s a good feeling,” Stojakovic said. “All the things that have gone wrong with this team and we still have injuries to some of our main guys, so it feels good.”
The Kings have made the playoffs each of coach Rick Adelman’s six seasons at the helm with an offense that is always one of the league’s most potent. But center Brad Miller is out with a fractured fibula and guard Bobby Jackson tore ligaments in his wrist back in December.
Sacramento dealt Doug Christie to Orlando for Cuttino Mobley and Michael Bradley earlier in the season, and then sent five-time All-Star Chris Webber and two other players to Philadelphia just before the trading deadline for Kenny Thomas, Brian Skinner and Corliss Williamson.
Considering the disruptions, it’s not surprising the Kings have been streaky and unpredictable this season. Now with the playoffs locked up, Adelman can breathe a little easier down the stretch.
“I’ve been saying all along, and no one was willing to listen that we’ve been an up and down team,” he said. “If we go on any type of losing streak and Minnesota goes on a winning streak, we would have been in trouble.”
Shareef Abdur-Rahim had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Darius Miles returned after missing three games to score 23 points for the Blazers, who lost Damon Stoudamire to a bruised shoulder in the fourth.
Williamson had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Sacramento, which sits in fifth place in the Western Conference. Mobley had 18 points.
Abdur-Rahim scored inside to get Portland within 115-112 with 23.5 seconds left, but Mobley made two free throws on the other end.
Rookie Sebastian Telfair drained a 3 for the Blazers with 12 seconds left, but Mobley hit both free throws again for the Kings, who have scored at least 118 points four times in their last six games.
Telfair had 21 points and six assists for the Blazers, while Ruben Patterson added 20 points.
Stojakovic, who came within three points of his season high, shot 11-of-22 from the field and made six 3-pointers.
“They’ve got excellent shooters,” Patterson said. “Peja had a wonderful game. We just couldn’t get it done.”
Even with the return of Miles, who has suffered from hand and shoulder injuries, the Blazers have lost seven straight and have won just twice since interim coach Kevin Pritchard took over on March 2.
King forward Kenny Thomas took an elbow to the eye in the first quarter and didn’t return … C Theo Ratliff, who was fined $35,000 on Wednesday for missing weight lifting sessions, missed his ninth consecutive game for the Blazers with shoulder injuries. G Derek Anderson (back) missed his eighth. … Things got heated in the fourth when Williamson knocked down Joel Przybilla with an arm to the head. Przybilla got up and shouted at Williamson and the two had to be restrained by teammates. Williamson was called for a flagrant foul.