Miller had a season-high 31 points and 12 rebounds while making
11 straight shots, and Sacramento rebounded from an embarrassing
loss with a 113-93 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday
Miller thrived in the absence of Webber, who sat out with a
sprained right ankle. The two-time All-Star made every shot he took
during the final three quarters, finishing 14-for-18 while
flawlessly filling Webber's playmaking role atop the offense.
"They always say I'm probably the only person in the league
that doesn't want to shoot enough," Miller said. "When Webb is
out, I know I've got to be able to step up and change my role a
little bit. I'm cool doing it every now and then."
His inside play also got New Jersey's big men into foul trouble,
forcing defensive mismatches for the undermanned Nets. The Kings
would love to see that aggressiveness more often -- but Miller, who
made his way into the NBA with hard, thankless work, usually
refuses to assert himself quite so forcefully.
"I don't think he's ever been a volume shooter," coach Rick
Adelman said. "His first thought is to pass and to not take the
shot. The way they were defending, he was going to get shot after
shot after shot, and we kept telling him that."
There were plenty of open looks to go around. Peja Stojakovic
scored 25 points and Cuttino Mobley had 20 points, 10 assists and
seven rebounds for the Kings, who made a season-best 55 percent of
their shots and recovered nicely from their worst home loss in nine
years. San Antonio beat them 103-73 Sunday night, snapping a
six-game winning streak.
Mike Bibby had 19 points -- including four 3-pointers -- and 10
assists as the Kings moved the ball exceptionally well to set up
plenty of open outside shots while taking a 23-point lead in the
third quarter. The Kings, who had a franchise-low eight assists
against the Spurs, had 32 against the Nets.
"It's easy to get assists on this team when you have so many
scorers and shooters and unselfish guys," said Mobley, who's
averaging 4.3 assists per game with Sacramento since arriving in a
trade with Orlando, where he got 1.8. "Brad is one of the
best-shooting big men out there, and he can take it to the hole,
too. But he's unselfish."
Vince Carter scored 23 points for the Nets, but sat out the
fourth quarter after tweaking his right ankle. New Jersey has lost
in the first two stops of its five-game West Coast road swing.
"Defense, more than anything, hurt us," Carter said. "They're
a high-powered team. You have to stop Bibby and Peja, and once they
started hitting, everybody else did, too. They're tough to guard."
Jason Kidd added eight points on 3-of-10 shooting and seven
assists for the Nets, who haven't won in six trips to Sacramento
since Nov. 30, 1997. Coach Lawrence Frank thought he prepared his
team poorly for the Kings.
"We weren't prepared to come out and play (the Kings' style of
ball)," Frank said. "I shoulder responsibility. We didn't have
people prepared to play pick-and-roll teams. With that type of
performance, it's going to be hard to beat anybody."
Brian Scalabrine scored 13 points for New Jersey. Billy Thomas,
who signed a 10-day contract with the Nets on Thursday, had a
Stojakovic scored 16 points in the first half and Bibby added 15
as the Kings got back to the fluid passing that made their winning
streak so much fun to watch. After getting just three assists in
the first three quarters against San Antonio, they had 14 at
halftime against the Nets.
Webber missed his fourth game of the season, but the Kings'
leading scorer and rebounder hopes to return for their rematch with
San Antonio on Thursday night.
The Nets are 1-12 when allowing 100 points, and 0-9 when
their opponents make at least 50 percent of their shots. ...
Earlier in the day, Sacramento put F Maurice Evans on the injured
list with a strained groin. The Kings also activated rookie F Erik
Daniels. ... Nets backup Jabari Smith got a warm ovation in the
second quarter from fans who remember his days as a Kings