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Kings win 11th straight game at home

1/3/2002

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Chris Webber was smiling, Vlade Divac
was feeling much better, and the Sacramento Kings were passing the
ball almost flawlessly.

It all meant a long night for any opponent -- in this case the Los Angeles Clippers.

Webber had 21 points, 10 rebounds and six assists as the Kings
won their fifth straight game, beating the Clippers 105-91 Wednesday night.

The Kings are off to the best start in franchise history at 24-9, but they've only recently begun to resemble the team that produced the NBA's most potent offense in the previous two seasons. In a runaway victory, they showed the run-and-gun Clippers how to complement exciting offense with strong defense.

As Webber led the way with his trademark grin, Sacramento had 34 assists against just seven turnovers while burying Los Angeles in the second half.

"We just plain moved the ball," coach Rick Adelman said. "If we move the ball and don't force the issue, we're capable of making a whole bunch of solid plays. Tonight, we made nice plays every time I turned around."

All five Sacramento starters and Scot Pollard scored in double figures as the Kings improved to an NBA-best 18-1 at home with their 11th straight win at Arco Arena -- a record for the franchise since it moved to Sacramento in 1985.

"I heard we're setting records, and it's always good to play
this way on your home court," Webber said. "The way we came out
tonight on both ends is the way we should do it every night."

Divac sprained his knee in the first quarter, but returned and finished with 16 points and nine rebounds as Sacramento pulled away with a 16-5 run in the fourth quarter.

"It will be scary when I get my game and Chris and Peja (Stojakovic) get their game," Divac said.

The Kings made just one turnover in the first half -- setting a franchise record. Two turnovers by reserves in the final minute prevented Sacramento from beating the franchise record of six turnovers, set in 1992 and matched last season.

Jeff McInnis had 20 points for the Clippers, who also got double
figures from all five starters but looked tired after playing in
Los Angeles on Tuesday night. They couldn't match the Kings'
aggressive pace while losing for the fourth time in five games.

With Webber out of the lineup, the Clippers beat the Kings by 16
points at Staples Center 11 days ago, but they shot just 41 percent
in Sacramento. Quentin Richardson missed nine straight shots, and
Elton Brand was 3-for-9 despite a strong first quarter.

"Go down the list. They all had good games," McInnis said. "You could tell they really wanted this game. (Webber) is a big difference, another low-post presence. He can pass, break our defense down, do everything for them."

Webber, finally looking comfortable after missing 23 games this season, helped break open the game with his outside shot and his defense.

He blocked a shot and threw a pinpoint crosscourt pass to Bobby
Jackson for a layup with 7:48 left, increasing the Kings' lead to
90-75. Moments later, Webber swiped the ball cleanly from a driving
McInnis and flung a nifty behind-the-back pass to Jackson, who hit
another layup.

"On that (long pass), I told somebody I was Warren Moon, '89," Webber said.

The Kings used their projected preseason starting lineup of
Webber, Divac, Stojakovic, Doug Christie and Mike Bibby for just
the eighth time this season. So far, that combination is 7-1, and
the starters are developing the chemistry they expected.

Christie hit four 3-pointers among his 17 points. Bibby had 16
points and nine assists, while Stojakovic had 14 points despite
6-for-18 shooting.

"They're the best team in the NBA at home," Clippers coach Alvin Gentry said. "They shoot the ball better, they play completely differently than they do on the road."

Lamar Odom shook off a sprained right wrist to score 13 points,
while Michael Olowokandi had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Game notes
Divac blocked four shots. ... The Kings were on pace to set
the franchise record for fewest turnovers before Mateen Cleaves
threw an attempted alley-oop pass into the stands with 90 seconds
to play. The reserves then committed a shot-clock violation in the
final seconds ... The Clippers lost at Arco Arena in their seventh
straight trip. They haven't won in Sacramento since 1997. ... Odom
made six turnovers.