Bibby scores 25 or more for the fifth straight game

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- It's strange when the Sacramento Kings

are talking about being .500 for the first time almost a month into

the season.

"I wouldn't have thought it would be a goal of ours," center

Brad Miller said. "I assumed we'd be there."

A lot earlier, that is.

Mike Bibby scored 25 points and the Kings evened their record

for the first time with their third straight victory, 110-92 over

the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday night.

Bibby scored 25 or more points for the fifth straight game,

making his first six shots and finishing 9-for-11 from the floor

with four 3-pointers. Miller added 20 points and nine assists as

the Kings concluded a four-game homestand with a lopsided win in

which the reserves played the entire fourth quarter.

For Bibby, this has been an important stretch, considering his

early struggles to find his shooting touch with the added weight he

carried on his 6-foot-2 frame coming into training camp.

"My shot was going down," Bibby said. "When I shot the first

one, it felt pretty good. I was just trying to test it and see if

they were all going to go in."

Sacramento also welcomed back leading scorer Peja Stojakovic

after he missed the previous three games with a sprained right

pinkie finger that he hurt Nov. 20 in Seattle. He had five points

in 23 minutes. Francisco Garcia, who had started in Stojakovic's

place, added eight points in 19 minutes.

Kenny Thomas came off the bench to score 11 points, all during a

26-10 run that spanned the first and second periods. Thomas started

last season but is adjusting to coming off the bench for now -- and

trying to be a good sport about it.

"Getting into the flow of the game, that's the hardest thing,"

he said. "I'm a professional. ... That really felt good to

contribute on the offensive end."

Kareem Rush had 15 points and Primoz Brezec added 13 points and

12 rebounds for the Bobcats, who also got nine assists from Brevin

Knight as they began a four-game road trip.

Miller scored nine points during Sacramento's 32-point third

quarter in which the Kings shot 63 percent (12-for-19) and led by

as many as 25 in the period. Sacramento (7-7) beat the Bobcats for

its third straight victory in Arco Arena on the way to the Kings'

first three-game winning streak of the season.

"If we keep playing the way we're playing, we've got a chance

to win some games," coach Rick Adelman said. "We can't step back.

At least right now we've righted ourselves and are back to .500."

Shareef Abdur-Rahim added 10 points for the Kings and is the

only Sacramento player to score in double figures in each of the

first 14 games.

Bibby made all six of his shots in the first quarter and Thomas

followed Gerald Wallace's six straight points with six in a row of

his own to end the opening period and give Sacramento a 30-25 lead.

Wallace, a former Kings forward coming off a 26-point,

career-best 14-rebound and five-block performance in a 100-82

victory Saturday over the Washington Wizards, was limited to 10

points on 5-of-15 shooting while playing under tough defensive

pressure from Bonzi Wells most of the night. Wells also had 12

points and eight boards.

"I really tried to push it and I wasn't patient enough,"

Wallace said. "We pride ourselves on defense, but tonight it just

didn't happen. When they are all clicking like that, nobody can

stop them."

The Bobcats made 41 percent of their first-half shots and the

Kings consistently went hard to the basket to draw fouls.

Sacramento made 13 of 14 free throws on the way to a 59-46 lead at

the break.

Charlotte's Emeka Okafor had his streak of six straight

double-doubles end with only eight points and nine rebounds.

Stojakovic wore tape to protect his finger and experienced no


"The shots I took felt good, but they just didn't go in," he


Game notes
Charlotte fell to 0-8 when scoring under 100 points. ...

Bobcats rookie F Sean May missed his second straight game with a

sore right knee. He didn't play Saturday night against Washington,

and Charlotte has back-to-back games this week. Coach Bernie

Bickerstaff is hopeful May will be available for Wednesday night's

game at Seattle. May, the 13th overall pick in the June draft, had

arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Sept. 13 and missed part

of the preseason. ... The Kings know the Golden State Warriors are

trying to supplant them as Northern California's top NBA franchise.

The teams face off for the first time this season Wednesday night

in Oakland -- with the Warriors (10-6) off to their best 16-game

start in 14 years. "They feel they are the up-and-coming team,"

Sacramento guard Kevin Martin said.