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Kings slip past Clippers for 11th straight series win

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- If Sam Cassell had any hair, he would
be tearing it out while trying to figure out why the Los Angeles
Clippers haven't beaten the Sacramento Kings in three years.

This time, the reasons were simple: Mike Bibby's gutsy fourth
quarter and Brad Miller's big defensive play in the final minute
sealed another win over the Kings' downstate rivals.

Bibby scored 11 of his 32 points in the final period, and
Cassell missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with 6 seconds left
in the Kings' 11th straight victory over Los Angeles, 118-114
Friday night.

Los Angeles' struggles against the Kings defy logic, even when
factoring in the Clippers' reputation as longtime losers. The
Clippers haven't won in 15 straight trips to Sacramento since Nov.
7, 1997 -- and this one was available until Cassell, discombobulated
by Miller's deflection of a pass early in the possession, rushed a
3-pointer that missed badly.

"I had a decent look, not a great look," said Cassell, who
scored 28 points. "I shot the 3, and it was a shot I thought I
could make."

That's not a wise bet when the Clippers visit Arco Arena.

Peja Stojakovic had 19 points and a season-high 13 rebounds,
hitting two free throws with 3.4 seconds to play in the last-place
Kings' third victory in four games following a five-game losing
streak.

They relied on Bibby's playmaking in the final minutes, and the
flu-stricken point guard responded with even better stretch play
than in his 38-point performance at Staples Center on Dec. 27 in
Sacramento's 110-93 victory over the Clippers.

"The two games we've played them, they've really struggled to
defend (Bibby) and Brad," coach Rick Adelman said. "We need Mike
to play at a high level. It's as simple as that, and he was
terrific tonight. ... There's not a lot of margin for error for us
right now. We need those guys playing well if we're going to win."

Chris Kaman had a career-high 25 points and 13 rebounds in the
Clippers' eighth loss in 11 games -- despite their highest-scoring
performance of the season. Elton Brand added 24 points and 13
rebounds, but Miller and Bibby made the final game-changing plays.

"It's tough sometimes, but it's my job," said Bibby, his
throat hoarse from illness. "If I can run, I'm going to play."

After 19 lead changes and 17 ties in three tremendously
entertaining quarters, the Kings took the game's first double-digit
lead with a 10-2 run, going up 101-91 on Stojakovic's jumper with
8:30 to play.

Los Angeles pulled closer despite seven straight points from
Bibby, and Kaman's hook shot in traffic with 1:02 left got the
Clippers to 114-112. Bibby, who had eight assists, found Miller for
an open jumper with 44 seconds to play, but Brand made a layup
moments later. After Miller missed an uncontested 13-footer, Los
Angeles set up for its final shot.

"They play bad against everyone else, but not against us,"
said Cuttino Mobley, who had just 14 points and seven assists in
his return to Sacramento. "I know what they are capable of doing.
They scored 43 points in the second quarter. Things like that will
happen, especially when you pass the ball like they do."

Kevin Martin added 17 points for the Kings, and Miller scored 20
in the first half but grabbed just three rebounds in 44 minutes.

Kaman was outstanding for the Clippers, roaming the paint for
rebounds and second-chance points while Sacramento big-man stopper
Brian Skinner concentrated on Brand.

"I told [Kaman] he needs to quit killing us," Miller said with
a grin.

The Kings played without injured starters Bonzi Wells and
Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who both watched the game in street clothes --
Abdur-Rahim with his broken jaw wired shut. The Clippers still are
without Corey Maggette, who could be out for another month with a
left foot injury.

Game notes
Mobley, who played 43 games with Sacramento last season
following a trade from Orlando, signed with the Clippers as a free
agent. He received only cheers and indifference when introduced
before the game. ... Sacramento's Corliss Williamson made a jumper
at the first-period buzzer, but it was waved off after video
review. ... Abdur-Rahim missed his fourth straight game, and Wells
sat out his sixth straight. Maggette missed his 13th consecutive
contest.

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