Stojakovic, Miller help struggling Kings beat Nuggets

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Back in friendly Arco Arena, the

Sacramento Kings finally resembled the team that won 55 games or

more the past four seasons.

Peja Stojakovic scored 23 points to lead the struggling Kings to

a 101-85 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

Sacramento (2-4) entered the 1-4 and the normally high-scoring

team had been under 90 points in three of those losses.

Demonstrating a balanced offense that chracterized the team in

past seasons, the Kings had five players in double figures.

"The difference was we cam out and played fearless, we really

needed a win tonight," said reserve Kevin Martin, who had a

season-high 14 points.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim had 14 points and nine rebounds, while Bonzi

Wells had 13 points to help the Kings beat the Nuggets for the 18th

straight time at Arco Arena.

The Nuggets, who beat the Kings 107-91 in Denver on Wednesday

night, last won in Sacramento on Jan. 7, 1997.

"You have to be mentally ready and I think right now our

attentiveness and toughness is preseason(like)," Nuggets coach

George Karl said.

Brad Miller added 12 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for

the Kings, and Mike Bibby had 10 points.

"Brad is like our point center, although I've never really

heard of that," Wells said. "He's a great passer and also a good


Marcus Camby led Denver with 20 points and 17 rebounds, Kenyon

Martin had 13 point. Struggling all game, Carmelo Anthony made

4-of-15 shots and he and Earl Boykins each scored 11 points.

Stojakovic got the Kings going early. They had a 10-point lead

in the first quarter and kept the advantage in double figures

throughout much of the game to snap a two-game losing streak.

Stojakovic hit three 3-pointers and made all eight free throws.

He's 22-for-22 overall from the line this season

"They (the referees) were just putting them on the line and

letting Peja trick them," Karl said. "We can't play if we are

losing on the free-throw line."

Game notes
The Kings shot 59 percent in the first half and led 61-44.

... Denver coach George Karl was angry in the first quarter when he

tried to send in diminutive 5-foot-5 Earl Boykins during a change

of possession. The press-row official's excuse for not letting

Boykins in: "I didn't see him." ... Stojakovic scored 15 points

in the first quarter.