Clippers Plant One on Kings : Pro basketball: Williams gets tangled up with referee, but L.A. gets its act together, 103-96.


What was more unusual?

Clipper center Brian Williams kissing referee Terry Durham on the cheek, or the Clippers beating the NBA's most surprising team, the Sacramento Kings, 103-96, Thursday night before an announced 6,020 at the Sports Arena?

Williams, who had made no secret of his disdain for the replacement referees, kissed Durham on the cheek in the first quarter.

Williams was going for a loose ball when he collided with Durham on the baseline to the right of the Clipper basket. Durham held up Williams, keeping him from tumbling, and they accidentally became locked in an embrace.

"They can't fine you for kissing him," Williams said. "I asked him what he was doing after the game.

Williams then kissed Durham, who used a towel to wipe off his face.

Said Clipper Coach Bill Fitch: "I was waiting for somebody to come along with a bucket of water to throw on them. They were in a predicament and couldn't get free."

Durham later called a technical foul on Williams in the third quarter after he complained when he was called for his fourth foul.

"You know what I got that 'T' for?" Williams asked. "I told the crowd to boo that call. The crowd started booing and he gave me a 'T.' I couldn't believe it. Is that worth a 'T?' "

Forward Loy Vaught had his 15th double-double of the season, getting 22 points and 15 rebounds as the Clippers, who had lost 13 of 15 games, knocked the Kings (15-8) out of first place in the Pacific Division, a half-game behind the Seattle SuperSonics (16-8).

Guard Pooh Richardson, who sat out the first month of the season because of a foot injury, had a season-high 21 points and five assists.

"I feel pretty comfortable," Richardson said. "During the early part of the year Terry [Dehere] and Brent [Barry] did a great job for us. It's difficult to come in and start taking off where you left off . . . but down the stretch I like to be in the games."

Williams was coming off the best game of his career, a career-high 33 points and 14 rebounds in Tuesday night's four-point loss to the Washington Bullets. But he got into foul trouble against the Kings and had only four points and eight rebounds.

The Clippers, who squandered an eight-point fourth-quarter lead against the Bullets, took control in the fourth quarter. With the score tied, 78-78, at the start of the final quarter, the Clippers outscored the Kings, 17-7.

"Hooray!" Fitch said. "It's good to get a win. We needed that one as much as anything. This time of the year it's tough not to get rewarded for hard work."

Clipper forward Lamond Murray, who had shot only 37.5% in his last three games, making nine of 24 shots, made six of nine shots and scored 15 points. Murray, who had only two points in the first half, made five of his final six shots.

King guard Mitch Richmond had 23 points in 22 minutes before fouling out with 5:08 remaining in the game on an offensive foul. Four of Richmond's six fouls were offensive.

Clipper Notes

The Clippers' game at Denver on Saturday night will be broadcast on KABC (790) instead of KMPC (710), which is broadcasting the USC-Utah basketball game. . . . King guard Bobby Hurley, who was 0 for 18 from the field in his last 11 games, made his first shot of the game, a three-point basket with 10:53 remaining in the second quarter. However, he missed his final two shots of the first half. . . . Rookie guard Tyus Edney of UCLA, who replaced Hurley as a starter, missed his first seven shots before making a three-point basket with 5:23 left in the third quarter.

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