Bibby emerges as the drama King

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Down by a point with a few seconds
left, the Sacramento Kings' final play was simple: Mike Bibby alone
atop the key, moving off a pick and taking another buzzer-beating

"It felt good, but I didn't know," Bibby said.

Everyone else in the building did.

Bibby converted his 22-footer with four-tenths of a second to
play, and the Sacramento Kings rallied for a 113-112 victory over
the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.

Bibby has shown a flair for last-second shots ever since his
memorable game-winner in Game 5 of the 2002 Western Conference
finals against the Lakers. Three nights earlier, Bibby beat the
Memphis Grizzlies by banking in a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Bibby finished with 28 points, 12 assists and yet another
example of his incredible cool under pressure. The Kings survived
Kenny Thomas' late turnover for their 14th straight home victory
over the Clippers.

"We needed this game," Bibby said. "Every game is important
when you're in a playoff race like this. I wish we could have
gotten it before [the last shot], but we got it after."

From the pregame huddles to the final moments, Bibby has taken
charge of the Kings in the days since Chris Webber's departure.
After their point guard won another game with another dramatic
jumper, the Kings were ready to follow him anywhere.

Corliss Williamson scored 14 of his season-high 22 points in the
fourth quarter, and Cuttino Mobley added 21 for the Kings.

"All he said was, 'Give me the ball," Mobley recalled of the
final timeout. "He just took it upon himself. We have so many good
players on this team, but you need to have that general, you need
to have that great point guard, and that's what Mike is."

Corey Maggette had 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers,
who thought they had their first win in Sacramento since Nov. 7,
1997, when Bobby Simmons made a layup with 4.9 seconds left.
Simmons had 24 points, but the Clippers still lost for the 10th
time in 11 road games.

"You have to credit Mike Bibby," Maggette said. "He's the
backbone of this team. He's been putting the weight on his
shoulders, and the last two games he hit game-winning shots. I'm
still mind-boggled about it."

Los Angeles went ahead 108-104 on Quinton Ross' jumper with 1:57
to play, but Bibby tied it with consecutive layups in traffic.
Simmons hit a jumper with 46 seconds left, but Williamson converted
a three-point play with 36 seconds left for a 111-110 lead.

Simmons then missed a jumper from the corner, and Thomas
rebounded. But with a one-point lead, Thomas inexplicably tried to
throw a baseball pass to Peja Stojakovic, who couldn't beat Rick
Brunson to the ball.

Brunson drove the lane and fed Simmons for an easy layup. After
a timeout, Sacramento got it to Bibby, who moved off a pick atop
the key and hit the jumper, sending another sellout crowd into a

The teams traded baskets down the stretch of their third
straight thrilling meeting this season. The Kings earned a pair of
four-point victories in the clubs' previous matchups in January.

"This stinks," Brunson said. "We played hard, played good and
didn't win. We knew they were going to Bibby. It was just a matter
of, 'Can you stop him?' Mike makes big shots. That's what he

Bibby's shot capped an entertaining, well-played game between
Pacific Division rivals. Both teams made more than 53 percent of
their shots in the first three quarters while combining for just
eight turnovers.

But Stojakovic was tentative and ineffective for the Kings,
scoring just six points -- all on 3-pointers -- on 2-of-10 shooting.
The NBA's second-leading scorer last season disappeared down the
stretch, taking just one shot in the fourth quarter.

Zeljko Rebraca, playing extensively while Elton Brand was in
foul trouble, scored 16 points, three shy of his season high.

Game notes
The Kings played without C Brad Miller, who missed his
sixth straight game with a bruised calf. He could return Sunday
against Houston. ... The Clippers, who reached a franchise low with
just five turnovers while beating the Lakers, didn't make a
turnover in the first quarter against the Kings. ... Mobley missed
the Kings' previous two games with a back injury, while Thomas
missed the Kings' victory over Memphis to attend his grandmother's
funeral in Georgia.