LOS ANGELES (AP)—Despite missing three of their top four scorers because of injuries, the Sacramento Kings again made life miserable for the Los Angeles Clippers. All it took was a healthy Mike Bibby and a determined supporting cast.
Bibby scored 17 of his season-high 38 points in the third quarter and added a season-best 10 assists Tuesday night as the Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with a 110-93 victory.
“There was nothing we could do about it. The game still goes on, so we still had to play,” Bibby said. “The guys stepped up and everybody played good all the way around.
“We were running a little bit and got easy baskets in transition. We played together on both ends of the court. We passed the ball and made them work on defense. It was a good win for us.”
Stojakovic sat out for the second time in three games because of a protruding disc in his lower back. Wells missed his third straight game due to a groin injury. Abdur-Rahim missed his first game of the season because of a broken jaw, the result of an elbow from Portland’s Zach Randolph during the second half of Monday night’s 105-92 loss.
“Shareef had X-rays done and we found out this morning that it was broken, but we didn’t know the extent of it until tonight,” coach Rick Adelman said. “He got hit pretty good, but you never know about those things. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out exactly what the doctor says and what the procedure is going to be.”
“You can’t take anybody lightly because you can get blown out easily in this league,” said Brian Skinner, the first player off the Kings’ bench against his former team. “Everybody’s in there for a reason. Everybody’s getting a paycheck, and everybody’s doing what they’re supposed to do because that’s their job. A lot of guys got to play who haven’t been able to play for a while.”
The Kings used their fifth different starting lineup, with rookie Francisco Garcia replacing Stojakovic at small forward and Kenny Thomas making his first start this season in place of Abdur-Rahim. The duo combined for 19 points.
“It scares me when a team’s top guns aren’t playing,” Clippers guard Sam Cassell said, “because that allows other guys to step up who weren’t getting the proper minutes that they think they deserve. So when they get them, they play even harder. But we had no one to blame but ourselves.”
Elton Brand scored 25 points for the Clippers, who have lost six of eight following a four-game winning streak and squandered an opportunity to regain sole possession of first place in the division from idle Phoenix. Chris Kaman had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Los Angeles was short-handed as well. In addition to Corey Maggette’s injured left foot, which is expected to keep him out at least until the end of January, forward Quinton Ross missed his third straight game with a sore lower back, and reserve center Zeljko Rebraca remained sidelined indefinitely because of an irregular heartbeat.
The Clippers shot 44 percent and were 0-for-8 from 3-point range. Cassell shot 1-for-12.
After helping the Clippers build a 14-7 record as the starting point guard while Shaun Livingston was out with a back injury, Cassell was shifted to shooting guard upon Livingston’s return six games ago, and is 12-for-50 over the last four.
“It affects me a little bit because I’m used to having the ball 90 percent of the time on the court, but I can’t use that as an excuse at all. I’ve got to find a way,” Cassell said. “I’m getting shots that I normally make, but they’re not going in. I just can’t go 1-for-12 and expect us to be successful.”
Mike Dunleavy absorbed his 500th regular-season loss in the NBA, compared with 479 victories. The Clippers have accounted for 110 of those defeats during his 2 1-3 seasons with them. When they hired him, his career record was eight games over .500.
When the Kings swept the four-game set last season, none of the games were decided by more than six points. … This is the first time since Feb. 23, 1993, that the teams have faced each other with the Clippers having a winning record and Sacramento a losing one.