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Kings win 7 of 8-game homestand

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- After thriving on the longest
homestand in franchise history, the Sacramento Kings hope their
high-scoring show is ready for the road.

Peja Stojakovic scored 26 points, and Mike Bibby had 17 points,
seven rebounds and six assists in the Kings' 105-95 victory over
the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.

Anthony Peeler had 14 points in a reserve role as Sacramento
blew a big early lead before rallying in the fourth for its 11th
straight home victory over the Clippers. The Kings haven't left
home in three weeks, winning seven of eight games while building
the cohesion and late-game tenacity they showed against the
Clippers.

"We improved our game," said Stojakovic, who hit three
3-pointers. "Our game looks better than it did before the
homestand. We're playing much better, much easier."

The Kings still haven't figured out how to avoid the
third-quarter lapses that have plagued them this season, however.
The Kings jumped to a 21-point lead in the third before giving away
all but two points of it in less than seven minutes.

But with Stojakovic and Bibby leading the way, Sacramento
rallied for a win despite the absence of top reserve Bobby Jackson,
sidelined with bronchitis. Bibby played 42 minutes, while Peeler
got a season-high 30.

"It felt good to be a part of the flow, because this team is
all about teamwork," Peeler said. "With Bobby out, everybody
who's not a tall guy had to step up."

Corey Maggette had 27 points for the Clippers, who lost their
fifth straight road game. Los Angeles hasn't won in Arco Arena
since Nov. 7, 1997.

Sacramento, the NBA's highest-scoring team, controlled three of
the four quarters while scoring more than 100 points for the 14th
time in 19 games. The Kings struggled to find an offensive rhythm,
but Stojakovic's canny playmaking kept them ahead.

"There's one common trend to this team so far," coach Rick
Adelman said. "We'll be flowing good, we get the lead, and then if
we miss a couple of shots, we stop playing at the other end too.
We've got to play together at that point. We get so casual when
that happens."

Los Angeles had a 21-5 run midway through the third, eventually
pulling to 74-72 on Elton Brand's free throw. Maggette, shooting
nearly every time he touched the ball, scored 14 points in the
quarter as the Clippers put a scare into the sellout crowd before
the Kings rallied.

"Our second-half energy was great," Maggette said. "We played
very good defense, but we were down by too much. Then Peja started
hitting some tough shots, and Bibby started making plays."

Brand had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers, while
Chris Kaman added 14 points and 14 rebounds. All five of Los
Angeles' starters made less than 50 percent of their shots,
however.

"We just need to make some shots," coach Mike Dunleavy said.
"Defensively, we're doing a lot of good things. Some of the shots
even looked good. Hopefully we'll start making them in due time."

Two days after recording his second career triple-double against
his former Indiana teammates, Brad Miller picked up his fourth foul
early in the third quarter. The Sacramento forward finished with 12
points and six rebounds.

The Kings play four of their next five on the road. Though
they've fallen behind the streaking Los Angeles Lakers in the
Pacific Division race, the Kings are thriving without star forward
Chris Webber, who still seems to be a few weeks away from finishing
his rehabilitation from knee surgery.

Sacramento had just 10 players on its bench in Jackson's
absence. The Kings waived guard Rodney Buford on Monday, but didn't
replace him on the roster.

Game notes
Bibby's seven rebounds were a season high. ... Stojakovic
and Vlade Divac teamed with the Clippers' Marko Jaric and Predrag
Drobnjak on the Yugoslavian team that won the 2002 World
Championships. Stojakovic and Jaric joked with each other
throughout Tuesday night's game. ... The Kings were called for 13
fouls in the third quarter to Los Angeles' five. Maggette shot 16
free throws in the first three quarters and none in the fourth. ...
Brand blocked four shots.

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