Clippers end seven-game losing streak with win vs. Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Although being a primary scorer is a new role for Chris Kaman, he's adjusting quite well to being the focus of the Los Angeles Clippers offense.

Kaman tied a career-high with 26 points and also collected 12 rebounds to help the Clippers snap a seven-game losing streak with a 97-87 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

Trailing by 11 points entering the third quarter, the Clippers took control behind the inside play of Kaman, who has taken on a new scoring load this year with Elton Brand sidelined with a ruptured Achilles'.

Kaman certainly looked comfortable in his new role against the Kings, who had no answer in matching up with the veteran center. He made nine of 12 shots and eight of 10 free throws.

A missed free throw late in the fourth quarter prevented Kaman from reaching a career high.

"I didn't really know what was going on with that [career high], but had I known I probably would have made it," said Kaman, who also had three blocks. "It was just nice to get a darn win."

Playing a rare poor game at home, the Kings went cold in the second half when they scored 35 points and shot 10-of-36 to conclude a five-game stand at Arco Arena.

Sacramento will travel to Denver on Saturday night, going on the road for six of the next seven games. The Kings are 0-7 on the road, the NBA's only team with out a victory.

Corey Maggette had 18 points and nine rebounds for Los Angeles, Tim Thomas had 17 points, Cuttino Mobley scored 12 and Ruben Patterson added 10.

"It feels good to get a win and weather the storm," said Maggette, who had nine fourth-quarter points. "In the first half we reverted back to what we have been doing in the past. We settled down in the second half, played good defense and made some shots."

The Clippers opened the fourth quarter with five straight points and built the lead to 10 when Maggette made two free throws for a 90-80 lead with 4:13 remaining. The Kings, who played a lethargic second half, never got closer than eight.

"They beat us up in the second half and we let them," said Brad Miller, who guarded Kaman most of the game and fouled out in the fourth quarter. "We got too complacent."

Ron Artest scored 21 points for the Kings, but missed plenty of open looks and finished 8-of-22. Beno Udrih and Mikki Moore each scored 13 points, while Miller scored 11, and John Salmons had 10.

"I don't know what to say, quite honestly," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "We were up at halftime and I just think our guys, sometimes their tendency is to relax. You've got to learn to play with a lead. The energy level was zero."

The Kings played without leading scorer Kevin Martin, who strained his groin Tuesday against Utah and will be out four to six weeks. Martin entered the game as the NBA's eighth leading scorer at 24.5 points a game.

The Clippers were playing short-handed as well. Veteran point guard Sam Cassell missed his fifth straight game with a strained left calf muscle.

Both Artest and Moore had 10 first half points for the Kings, who led 52-41.

Game notes
Kings forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim had season-ending surgery Friday on his right knee. Abdur-Rahim, who played just 51 minutes in six games this season, also had offseason surgery on the same knee. ... Mobley scored all his points in the second half. ... Former Kings Harold Pressley, Pete Chilcutt and Henry Turner were at the game, taking part in NBA Heritage Week.