LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Doug Christie not only was an offensive force for the Sacramento Kings, he also did a commendable job defending a player coming off the most prolific game of his career.
Christie scored a season-high 22 points on 10-for-12 shooting, dished out 10 assists and held Quentin Richardson in check after his 44-point effort on New Year's Eve as the Kings beat the Los Angeles Clippers 116-109 Saturday.
"Doug was terrific. That's got to be a great shot in the arm for him because he hasn't really gotten a lot of shots," coach Rick Adelman said. "That one stretch when I had Mike and Peja on
the bench at the start of the fourth, he made three or four straight shots."
Christie, who entered with the lowest field goal percentage of
any Sacramento starter (.443), was 4-for-4 in the first quarter --
including a buzzer-beating 14-footer that gave the Kings a 35-27
"Doug's shooting the ball with a lot of confidence," teammate
Mike Bibby said. "He was making shots early, so we were getting
him the ball. He hit a lot of tough shots, as well as open ones."
Bibby scored 23 points, helping Sacramento beat the Clippers for
the 16th time in their last 21 meetings. Peja Stojakovic, the NBA's
second-leading scorer, finished with 21 as the Kings came back from
a five-day layoff and evened their road record at 6-6.
Predrag Drobnjak scored 22 points for the Clippers, who played
the final 17:40 without starting point guard Marko Jaric after he
sprained his left foot. Richardson and Corey Maggette each had 21
points and Elton Brand had 19, but it wasn't enough to prevent
Sacramento's 18th victory in 22 games.
Richardson, who made a career-high 17 field goals against the
Denver Nuggets, was 9-for-22 against Christie's defense and 2-for-8
from 3-point range.
"He's so tough because he's so strong," Christie said of
Richardson. "He's so deadly inside or outside. He was knocking
down his set shots, and I just tried to stay with him as much as I
could -- even when I was on the weak side. I tried to keep a hand on
him just to let him know that I was there, and it deterred him a
little bit from trying to get the ball.
Brand's tip-in of Maggette's missed layup with 2:41 remaining
gave the Clippers a 103-102 lead, their first since the opening
minute of the third quarter. But Stojakovic's 3-pointer put the
Kings back in front, and Christie found Brad Miller for a backdoor
layup and a 108-105 edge with 1:26 left.
Bibby clinched it with six foul shots in the final 59 seconds.
"To be a good team, we need to play well down the stretch. And
that just didn't happen today," Brand said. "The last two minutes
of the game really hurt us. Sacramento is a playoff team, a
veteran-laden team, and they know how to execute. That's what we're
learning right now."
Former Clippers forward Tony Massenberg had two of his shots
blocked by Brand on consecutive possessions early in the fourth
quarter, then was hit with two quick technical fouls by referee Joe
Crawford after arguing his foul on Drobnjak the next time down the
floor. Maggette converted both free throws, and Drobnjak sank both
of his to tie the score at 88 with 10:49 remaining.
"It's just uncalled for in the course of a game like that to
get two technical fouls and get kicked out. It's a four-point game.
I mean, you can be upset when guys make plays like that, but you
can't let it go in that direction. I was more upset about that,"
Bibby and Stojakovic each scored 11 points in the first half and
Christie made his first five shots as the Kings took a 59-58 lead
at intermission. Drobnjak had 10 points off the bench during a 5:07
span to help trim Sacramento's 12-point lead to 53-52 with 2:16
left in the second quarter.
The Clippers received a scare with 5:40 left in the third
quarter when Richardson took a charge from Vlade Divac and Brand
landed on Richardson's left knee. ... The Kings have used the same
starting lineup in 29 of their first 30 games. The only blemish was
Dec. 25 against Dallas, when Stojakovic was suspended. No player
appeared in all 82 games for Sacramento last season. ... Bibby's
sister, Charlsie, is married to Clippers G Eddie House. ... The
Kings haven't had a losing month since April, 2000. ... The
Clippers conclude their six-game homestand Sunday against their
Staples Center co-tenants, the Lakers, who are the designated