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Kings' defensive efforts ends with scuffle, win

3/9/2002

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- When Jamaal Magloire finally had
enough, he simply threw Vlade Divac to the floor with the force
equal to the Charlotte Hornets' frustrations.

Peja Stojakovic scored 13 of his 24 points in the fourth
quarter, and Chris Webber had 20 points Friday night as Sacramento
held off the Hornets 99-87 for a victory that showcased the Kings'
grittier side.

"It's great to get a win like this, because even though we've
been struggling, we did the defensive job to win," Webber said.
"All of us are just looking for our swagger. We need to get it
back."

Before Stojakovic took over late, Divac led the way for
Sacramento with 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. But Divac
and Magloire were thrown out with 27.3 seconds to play for a
wrestling match following a free throw.

"I was just boxing out, and I grabbed him, and he pushed me
down," Divac said with a slight grin. "I don't know why they
ejected us. It was just an accidental kind of thing."

Divac's tenacity mirrored Sacramento's approach to a meeting
with one of the NBA's best road teams. After three days of practice
following a loss to Portland on Monday, the Kings still weren't
moving the ball well, but they prevented Charlotte from finding any
rhythm, either.

The Kings, the only team yet to lose three straight this season,
snapped a two-game losing streak for the fifth time. They did it
despite another stagnant offensive performance, instead relying on
defense, rebounding and agitation.

Sacramento, the NBA's best home team, improved to 29-3 at Arco
Arena. Lee Nailon had 18 points for Charlotte, which lost its third
straight.

"It's time for us to start winning these big ballgames," said
Baron Davis, who had 15 points and seven assists, but just one
basket in the fourth. "We haven't done that all year. We just
didn't execute and get a bucket in the fourth quarter when we
needed it."

Sacramento next leaves on a five-game road trip beginning Sunday
in Milwaukee. With 14 of their final 22 games on the road, the
Kings' hold on the NBA's best record appears tenuous.

Sacramento (43-17) leads the Lakers (42-18) by one game atop the
Pacific Division. The Kings also are a half-game ahead of Dallas
(43-18) for the NBA's best record.

"The worst thing we could do is watch the scoreboard," Webber
said. "As long as we get our game back, we'll be fine."

After Charlotte closed to 82-79 on David Wesley's 3-pointer with
5:13 to play, Sacramento made a 10-2 run in the next four minutes.
The rally included back-to-back jump hooks from Webber, who had yet
another poor shooting game, but scored when it mattered most.

Stojakovic capped Sacramento's fourth-quarter stand with a
dramatic 3-pointer from three steps behind the line with 1:25 left.

One night after a difficult overtime loss at Seattle, the
Hornets got a 4-for-18 shooting performance from Jamal Mashburn.
Charlotte had 19 turnovers and shot 40 percent from the field while
losing its third straight on the road, where the Hornets are 17-14
this season.

"He's still getting his game back, but you could see it
tonight, his legs weren't there," Charlotte coach Paul Silas said
of Mashburn. "He had no lift on his shot. He was just out of
sync."

The Kings didn't flow in their usual fashion as they played
without backup big man Scot Pollard, who had a strained lower back.
They also lost Stojakovic briefly in the first half with a jammed
left ankle.

Game notes
The Kings signed forward Chucky Brown to a second 10-day
contract. Brown has played for an NBA-record 12 teams. ...
Sacramento improved to 24-0 when leading after the first quarter at
home. ... Charlotte's George Lynch went scoreless in 16 minutes.