PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- After a rash of injuries and two
significant trades threatened to derail Sacramento's season, the
Kings are somehow back in the NBA playoffs.
Mike Bibby added 19 points and 11 assists for the Kings, who
controlled their own destiny after Minnesota lost to Denver 107-104
"It's a good feeling," Stojakovic said. "All the things that
have gone wrong with this team and we still have injuries to some
of our main guys, so it feels good."
The Kings have made the playoffs each of coach Rick Adelman's
six seasons at the helm with an offense that is always one of the
league's most potent. But center Brad Miller is out with a
fractured fibula and guard Bobby Jackson tore ligaments in his
wrist back in December.
Sacramento dealt Doug Christie to Orlando for Cuttino Mobley and
Michael Bradley earlier in the season, and then sent five-time
All-Star Chris Webber and two other players to Philadelphia just
before the trading deadline for Kenny Thomas, Brian Skinner and
Considering the disruptions, it's not surprising the Kings have
been streaky and unpredictable this season. Now with the playoffs
locked up, Adelman can breathe a little easier down the stretch.
"I've been saying all along, and no one was willing to listen
that we've been an up and down team," he said. "If we go on any
type of losing streak and Minnesota goes on a winning streak, we
would have been in trouble."
Shareef Abdur-Rahim had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Darius
Miles returned after missing three games to score 23 points for the
Blazers, who lost Damon Stoudamire to a bruised shoulder in the
Williamson had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Sacramento, which
sits in fifth place in the Western Conference. Mobley had 18
Abdur-Rahim scored inside to get Portland within 115-112 with
23.5 seconds left, but Mobley made two free throws on the other
Rookie Sebastian Telfair drained a 3 for the Blazers with 12
seconds left, but Mobley hit both free throws again for the Kings,
who have scored at least 118 points four times in their last six
Telfair had 21 points and six assists for the Blazers, while
Ruben Patterson added 20 points.
Stojakovic, who came within three points of his season high,
shot 11-of-22 from the field and made six 3-pointers.
"They've got excellent shooters," Patterson said. "Peja had a
wonderful game. We just couldn't get it done."
Even with the return of Miles, who has suffered from hand and
shoulder injuries, the Blazers have lost seven straight and have
won just twice since interim coach Kevin Pritchard took over on
King forward Kenny Thomas took an elbow to the eye in the
first quarter and didn't return ... C Theo Ratliff, who was fined
$35,000 on Wednesday for missing weight lifting sessions, missed
his ninth consecutive game for the Blazers with shoulder injuries.
G Derek Anderson (back) missed his eighth. ... Things got heated in
the fourth when Williamson knocked down Joel Przybilla with an arm
to the head. Przybilla got up and shouted at Williamson and the two
had to be restrained by teammates. Williamson was called for a