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Backcourt springs to life down stretch

LOS ANGELES - Erik Daniels was no different than the other 19,816 fans inside the vibrating Staples Center.

On his feet, flanked by his Kings teammates on the no-sitting bench, hooting and hollering with every eye-popping play.

"That was amazing," Daniels said. "They can turn it on at any point in the game. They were going unconscious."

Consider that the team motto for this one. The comatose Kings, who could hardly complete a pass through three quarters, found a new state of mind just in time to concoct a cold-blooded 111-107 comeback on the Los Angeles Clippers in overtime.

Forward Kenny Thomas was the reason in the extra period, hitting two of three jump shots while guard Mike Bibby hit two shots of his own.
 

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Kings notes: Williamson ready, willing to do whatever it takes

LOS ANGELES - Sacramento finally feels like home again for Corliss Williamson, who left his life of solitude at a local Embassy Suites and recently welcomed company into a more comfortable rented home.

He is back with his family, with wife, Michelle, and their two sons having arrived recently from their home in Little Rock, Ark. And the couple are expecting their third child in early May, amounting in enough good news to stave off any potential playing-time frustration.

Like the Kings as a whole, Williamson continues to learn his role on the fly. In his first three games with Sacramento after being traded from Philadelphia, Williamson played 25-plus minutes in each. In the eight games since, he's averaged 14.3 minutes, the high in that stretch being 22 minutes and 22 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on March 11.

"Some games we're going to need scoring," Williamson said. "Some games need someone to bang. Sometimes you need someone to board and play defense. You may play 20 or 30 minutes and then not play the next night. You've got to keep yourself ready."

I think that Williamson will help us a lot in the playoffs. His experiense with the Pistons last year will help us too. (Remember he also has a ring ;))
 

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Much has changed for Kings, Warriors

hen they chatted before the preseason opener in October, Rick Adelman and Mike Montgomery wished each other good luck, eager to see what their teams had in store.

The Kings had playoff aspirations, having been to the postseason in each of Adelman's six seasons with them.

Montgomery, a winner at each of his collegiate stops before taking on the professional ranks, was ready to knock the rust off the Golden State Warriors and steer them into the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons, the longest such run of futility in the NBA.

Both teams have overhauled their rosters. The Kings have nine players in uniform who were not with them for Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals at Minnesota last season.
 

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Baseline jumpers

* The more he coaches, the more haggard in a Jeff Van Gundy kind of way Minnesota's Kevin McHale is starting to look.

* Kobe Bryant, asked on TNT whether he's coachable: "Three championships in five years. I would think that's coachable."

* Beware Slamson: Veteran referee Jess Kersey ejected Coyote, San Antonio's mascot, after the third quarter Wednesday against Minnesota when the creature pretended to fight Wally Szczerbiak. It was just the third such heave-ho in NBA history. But where does a banished predator go?

* Rick Barry got a little steamed when a caller to his afternoon radio program on KNBR in San Francisco suggested that Barry's son, Houston guard Jon Barry, doesn't play much defense. Said the Hall of Famer: "He's making $4 million. How much do you make?"
 

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Joe D's countdown

In the spirit of March Madness, the Countdown hails some big-time performers for what they did then - cutting down the net and basking in the NCAA championship glow - and what they're doing now in the NBA. The Countdown shows how star-kissed the Final Four has become, with 37 of the last 38 NCAA champions featuring at least one first-round pick. Here are five of them:

1. Mike Bibby: So poised as a 19-year-old freshman for Arizona in 1997 - sound familiar? -Bibby offered a glimpse of his shooting touch. He had 19 points and nine rebounds in Arizona's 84-79 victory over Kentucky in the 1997 title game, then survived some dreary seasons with the Vancouver Grizzlies and is now in the midst of his finest season in Sacramento. He is posting career highs in scoring (19.6) and rebounding (4.4) and a Kings career best in assists (6.6).
 

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This month in Kings history

March 14, 1992

The Detroit Pistons weren't the Beasts of the East anymore in 1992, but Dennis Rodman was carving out a career as one the greatest rebounders in NBA history.

Rodman still was known best for his board work, not as a guy with so many tattoos, hair colors and body piercings. He collected seven rebounds in the first eight minutes, had 14 by halftime and finished with an Arco Arena-record 31 in Detroit's 89-83 victory.

The Kings suffered their seventh straight loss and were left to wonder about their professionalism and fortitude.

"Pride is the biggest thing now," team captain Wayman Tisdale said. "The last time I checked, we still got our checks on the first and 15th of every month. Everyone has to examine their roles and do what it takes to get out of this."
 
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