SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Maybe the Sacramento Kings could have
used a few more days off. After a long weekend of relaxation, they
barely had enough energy to hold off the team with the NBA's worst
Though Sacramento was relieved when time finally ran out on a
much-needed win, nobody celebrated. After a series of lackluster
efforts leading up to the All-Star weekend, where no Kings were
invited for the first time since 1992, they needed a fourth-quarter
rally to finish off the lowly Hawks' 16th straight road loss.
"A lot of times we're trading basket for basket," Bibby said.
"It happens sometimes, but we've got to get to that point where we
get some stops. ... They hit some good shots, but we're getting to
that point where we want to play defensively."
Brad Miller had 16 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists for the
Kings, who played without injured Peja Stojakovic. They heard
scattered boos from the sellout crowd during the unimpressive final
three quarters, and they'll hear plenty more when they embark on
their longest road trip of the season Thursday, a difficult
six-game jaunt with stops in Dallas, Washington and Miami.
But the Kings believe their veteran poise will carry them
through this tough stretch, just as they survived the Hawks' lively
"It was a test," said Cuttino Mobley, who added 20 points in
the Kings' fifth straight win over Atlanta. "Those guys were
energetic. We ended the first half kind of sloppy, but this is not
the same team it used to be. Guys are injured, and there are new
guys. We're still finding out what we can do."
Al Harrington scored 25 points in his return to the Hawks'
starting lineup after missing the previous five games with
tendinitis in his right knee. Antoine Walker had 23 points, nine
rebounds and six assists as Atlanta began a stretch with nine of 10
games on the road.
"We didn't want to play up-and-down with them, but after we got
down 10 points early, we had to step it up," Walker said.
Dunk contest champion Josh Smith had a career-best 19 points and
10 rebounds for the Hawks, who still lost their fifth straight
overall. Coach Mike Woodson called Atlanta's defense
"I was kind of anxious to get back to work," Smith said. "The
dunk contest was cool, but now I need to concentrate on the team
and what the coach wants me to do. It's all been really tiring
since the All-Star break. I didn't get much rest until I came to
Sac on Monday.
"No one wants to be labeled as the slam dunk king. I want to
work on my game in the offseason and come back next year
Sacramento led for the game's final 44 minutes, but Atlanta kept
it close against the Kings' dismal defense. The Hawks pulled to
101-96 on Walker's 3-pointer with 5:13 to play, but Bibby answered
with a 3-pointer, and Miller had a three-point play moments later.
Stojakovic sat out for the ninth time in the Kings' last 14
games, this time with a strained right hamstring. He missed six
games with back spasms starting in late January, and he sat out the
Kings' final two games before the break with the flu.
The Kings hope Stojakovic will be return during the road trip,
but coach Rick Adelman doesn't expect him to play Thursday against
Woodson and assistant Larry Drew were teammates with the
Kings from 1982-86 -- the franchise's final three seasons in Kansas
City and the first year in Northern California. ... When Hawks
reserve G Tony Delk was with the Phoenix Suns, he scored a
career-best 51 points at Arco Arena on Jan. 2, 2001. ... Atlanta
put 21-year veteran Kevin Willis on the injured list with a
strained lower back to make room for Harrington. ... Green Bay
Packers WR Javon Walker watched the game from courtside wearing a
Kings jersey with his No. 84.