Miller goes off for 22 and 21 as Kings beat Bobcats

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Slimmed-down Sacramento Kings center Brad Miller lost 25 pounds this summer, but may have been prouder of the 21 rebounds he collected Wednesday night.

Nicknamed "Skinny" this summer by Kings coach Reggie Theus, Miller looked absolutely huge against the Charlotte Bobcats, scoring 22 points and establishing a new career high for rebounds in leading the Kings to a 105-91 victory.

Miller, who seems rejuvenated this season after struggling with injuries and some personal problems last season, shot 8-of-12 from the field and added five assists and three blocks for the Kings, who have won two straight.

Chris Webber was the last Kings player to grab more than 20 rebounds, pulling down 26 on Jan. 5, 2001, in a loss to Indiana. Miller's previous high was 19 rebounds three years ago against Toronto.

"As a big guy you always want to get 20 rebounds. It feels like I have been stuck on 19 for about five years," said Miller, a 10-year veteran. "It's a goal I always wanted to get. It feels good and the win feels good, too."

Miller and Kings forward Mikki Moore prevented the athletic Bobcats from having another dunkfest. Moore had 11 points and eight rebounds, but perhaps more importantly were his four blocks for the Kings, who rejected a season-high 10 shots, had a 55-39 rebounding advantage and limited Charlotte to 41 percent shooting.

"Everyone was dunking in their highlights and we wanted to make it tough for them inside," Miller said.

Gerald Wallace, who played his first three seasons in Sacramento, had 25 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Bobcats. But he also missed seven of 12 free throws, a trend that was team-wide for Charlotte, which made only 16 of 28 overall.

"I had a feeling it was going to be a long night when we missed a few [free throws] early," Bobcats coach Sam Vincent said. "For us to win games, key areas all need to click together. We have been hitting them, but missing that many is just giving up points."

Raymond Felton had 16 points and seven assists for Charlotte. Jason Richardson never got going offensively, missing 12 of 16 shots in finishing with 11 points, while Emeka Okafor contributed 13 points and 15 rebounds.

Trailing by 16 points entering the fourth quarter, the Bobcats trimmed the lead to 92-85 on a jumper by Jeff McInnis midway through the period. But the Kings responded quickly, going on an 11-2 run over the next three minutes to short-circuit any hopes of a Charlotte comeback.

"The first three to five minutes of the third quarter is the most important part of the ballgame," Wallace said. "When the momentum is on their side, you are in a dogfight to try and get that momentum back."

Kevin Martin also scored 22 points for the Kings, Ron Artest had 21, while Mike Bibby added 10 points and seven rebounds.

"Brad was rebounding well and shooting well, you're in for a good night when Brad gets rolling like that," Bibby said.

Sacramento is hoping to put together a winning streak with the first of five consecutive home games. It was a good start for the Kings, who have won five of six at Arco Arena.

"Every time an opponent comes into the building we've got to look at it as that's one more team that's in our way of trying to accomplish a goal," Theus said. "The team [New Orleans] coming in Friday is a great basketball team."

The Bobcats fell to 4-14 on the road. Sacramento was the second stop on a five-game trip out West for Charlotte, which ends the visit Tuesday in Phoenix.

The Kings opened the third quarter with a 12-3 run to take control. Martin scored 11 points and Artest added 10 as the Kings assumed an 84-68 lead heading into the fourth period.

Miller had a big first half, with 13 points and nine rebounds to help the Kings take a 55-52 lead.

Game notes
Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker was back in his hometown sitting in a courtside seat, a few feet away from Derrek Lee, who once played for Baker when he managed the Chicago Cubs. Despite Richardson missing eight of 11 first-half attempts, the Bobcats shot 58 percent. The 55 rebounds was one short of a season-high for Sacramento.