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Kings Get Bibby Back, but Finally Lose at Home

Guard scores 17 points in first game of season, but Sacramento falls to San Antonio, 83-81.

December 20, 2002|From Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — Tim Duncan had 23 points and 14 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs spoiled Sacramento's perfect home record and ruined Mike Bibby's return, beating the Kings, 83-81, Thursday night.

Stephen Jackson scored 18 points as the Spurs followed a victory in Seattle by winning in the NBA's toughest road arena.

The Kings had won their first 13 games at Arco Arena, where they're 80-14 over the last three seasons, but they gave one of their most lifeless performances in years on the same night their injury-plagued roster became nearly whole.

Sacramento shot less than 35% from the field and never found a rhythm. The Spurs were barely better, committing 18 turnovers, but Duncan had another outstanding game and San Antonio hung on when the Kings made several turnovers and poor shots in the closing minutes.

The Spurs didn't have a field goal in the final 3:36, but the Kings botched repeated opportunities to get back in the game. With 12 seconds left and Sacramento down 81-78, Bobby Jackson inexplicably drove the lane and made a wild pass that was intercepted by Stephen Jackson, who made two free throws with 10.1 seconds left.

Bibby, who missed the Kings' first 27 games after breaking his foot in the preseason, got a standing ovation at the first mention of his name at Arco Arena. He made a long jumper on Sacramento's first possession and finished with 17 points on seven-of-12 shooting, including two three-point baskets.

Bibby's return should have given a mental lift to the Kings, but they came out cold and never warmed up. Chris Webber had 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Bobby Jackson had 21 points off the bench.

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