7:30 PM ET, January 20, 2005
Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Mike Bibby ordered the Sacramento Kings to score when he passed to them. Then he ordered them out of the way so he could grab the rebound he needed to complete the second triple-double of his career.
And when Bibby finally left the court in the Kings' 123-96 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night, his teammates doused him with water and shoved him in celebration of the biggest individual achievement in one of their best team games of the season.
Bibby had 17 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, and the Kings shut down LeBron James in their sixth straight victory.
Chris Webber had 27 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Kings, who streaked to a big lead in the third quarter with an impressive exhibition of passing. With Bibby leading the way and all 12 players getting on the scoresheet, Sacramento racked up 34 assists and just eight turnovers in its highest-scoring game of the season.
"That was just a great team win," Bibby said. "Everybody did their part."
But Bibby knew his stats in the final minutes, and he kept going to the boards until he reached double digits.
"That last rebound was hard to get," he said. "I didn't think I was going to get it. Everybody was trying to let me get the rebound ... and I finally got in there."
Peja Stojakovic scored 19 points and Cuttino Mobley had 18, while Brad Miller added 16 on 7-of-7 shooting. Sacramento took control with a 16-5 run early in the third quarter, with each basket seemingly resulting from an excellent pass or an eye-catching steal.
The Kings haven't lost since trading Doug Christie to Orlando for Mobley, and Webber has enjoyed one of the most impressive stretches of his career. Many wondered whether there would be enough shots to satisfy all of their starting five, but so far Mobley's addition has worked -- and the Kings are having fun, as evidenced by their laughs and jokes on the bench.
"Everybody has made so much of our chemistry, but this is one of the most fun times I've ever had," Webber said.
While Phoenix slumped to five straight losses, Sacramento has quickly closed the gap in the Pacific Division. The Kings have trimmed five games off the Suns' lead in the last eight days, pulling within three games of the top spot with this win.
One night after becoming the youngest player in NBA history to get a triple-double, James had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists while disappearing for long stretches. Drew Gooden scored 17 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavs, who lost Jeff McInnis in the fourth quarter to an ankle injury that didn't turn out to be serious.
The Cavaliers dropped into a tie with Detroit atop the Central Division, but they still have the Eastern Conference's second-best record despite losing three of the first five on a tough six-game West Coast road swing.
"The best thing about this game is that it's over," Cleveland coach Paul Silas said.
With his mother and agent seated at courtside, James was back in Sacramento for the first time since his outstanding NBA debut last season. In front of the biggest media crowd of his career, according to James, he had 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds in the Cavaliers' loss.
This trip wasn't nearly as exciting.
"They started knocking down shots crazy," James said. "There was nothing we could do. We're not a great 3-point shooting team. You can't match 3 for 2. We couldn't get into a rhythm, and they did."
Stojakovic capped the third-quarter rally with a 3-pointer -- and moments earlier, the 6-foot-1 Bibby sent the crowd into a frenzy when he came up behind James on a fast break and swatted the 20-year-old star's layup attempt off the backboard.
The Kings took a 92-70 lead into the fourth and coasted to their eighth straight victory over Cleveland since Nov. 1, 2000. It was the Kings' sixth straight win over the Cavaliers at Arco Arena.
Bibby got his first triple-double since April 2, 2000, when he was with Vancouver. ... Bibby briefly went to the locker room in the first quarter after getting a cut over his right eye from Ilgauskas' elbow. He got four stitches and returned in the second quarter.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||38-93 (.409)||50-93 (.538)|
|3PM-3PA||1-6 (.167)||12-25 (.480)|
|FTM-FTA||19-25 (.760)||11-14 (.786)|
|Fast Break Points||10||13|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||15 (0/0)||21 (1/0)|