Thursday, January 13, 2005

Kings on the Rise
Faced with an ever-diminishing number of teammates, Peja Stojakovic and Mike Bibby did all they could Tuesday to get their team a win.

Stojakovic scored 27 points and Bibby added 18 and seven assists as the undermanned Sacramento Kings posted a 109-100 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

The triumph was the Kings' 17th straight at home against the Nuggets and made them winners in their first game since shipping Doug Christie to the Orlando Magic on Monday in exchange for Cuttino Mobley and Michael Bradley.

While star forward Chris Webber sat out to rest his sore left knee, Mobley and Bradley had yet to arrive in town, leaving the Kings with just nine players in uniform.

Stojakovic stepped up, scoring 10 points in the first quarter and nine in the closing minutes. His 3-pointer with 6:24 left snapped an 89-89 tie and gave Sacramento the lead for good.

Bibby left the game with 9:40 remaining after turning his ankle following a driving layup, and Denver quickly took advantage with a 9-0 run that tied the game, 85-85. A hobbled Bibby returned at the 7:54 mark, just before Stojakovic put the Kings ahead to stay.

Afterward, Bibby indicated he would be ready for Thursday's home game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Sacramento clinched the game with free throws in the final minutes as Denver missed several point-blank opportunities against a zone defense, which had stalled the Nuggets much of the first half.

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