Sacramento wins series 4-1 (Game 5 of 5)

Sacramento wins series 4-1

Game 1: Saturday, May 4th
Game 2: Monday, May 6th
Game 3: Thursday, May 9th
Game 4: Saturday, May 11th
Game 5: Monday, May 13th

Mavericks 101


Kings 114

(61-21, 36-5 home)

    6:00 PM ET, May 13, 2002

    Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    DAL 26 27 20 28101
    SAC 32 27 27 28114

    Top Performers

    Dal: D. Nowitzki 32 Pts, 12 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Sac: C. Webber 23 Pts, 7 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Kings overwhelm Mavericks in five games

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The high-flying Sacramento Kings have spent nearly four years honing their mercurial game into a reliable method for postseason success.

    They weren't about to let the Dallas Mavericks speed past them in an amazing race of a playoff series.

    Mike Bibby

    Chris Webber and Mike Bibby each scored 23 points to lead six Kings in double figures Monday night as the franchise advanced to its first Western Conference finals since 1981, beating the Mavericks 114-101 to win the best-of-seven series in five games.

    Afterward, Webber shook more hands than a popular politician as he made his way through a corridor in Arco Arena. His arrival in a trade started the Kings' transformation, and his decision to stay in Sacramento as a free agent last summer led to the brightest moment since the franchise moved to Northern California in 1985.

    "We all stuck with it," Webber said. "That's what I'll remember. It's a collective effort, from the Maloofs to (vice president) Geoff Petrie to our coaching staff on down. What this says is we make a goal, and we stick with it."

    They Like Mike
    Mike Bibby has clearly made a difference for the Kings. Sacramento bowed out in the second round last year with Jason Williams averaging just under nine points and three assists in the postseason, but is in the conference finals this season with Mike Bibby dropping in over 18 points and averaging better than five assists per game. Bibby is also shooting over 48 percent from the 3-point line and grabbing nearly four rebounds per game, all in his first playoff appearance.
      Bibby '02* Williams '01
    PPG 18.3 8.8
    APG 5.4 2.9
    RPG 3.9 2.3
    3-pt. pct. 48.5 36.7
    *1st-ever playoff season

    Fill-in starter Hedo Turkoglu had 20 points for the Kings, who averaged more than 114 points in an incredibly entertaining series. At the final buzzer, the Kings had a jubilant group hug, while team owner Gavin Maloof jumped and danced with the team's cheerleaders on the court.

    The Kings will play the winner of the semifinal between Los Angeles and San Antonio. The two-time defending NBA champion Lakers lead 3-1 with Game 5 Tuesday in Los Angeles, and Sacramento expects nothing less than a showdown with Shaq and Kobe.

    "What we have to do is get rested and maybe get healthy for the next round," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "We've accomplished a whole lot this season, but nobody in our locker room thinks we're done yet. We've got more goals."

    Unless the Lakers-Spurs series is extended to the limit, Game 1 of an all-California conference final will take place at Arco Arena this weekend.

    While closing out a playoff series at home for the first time since 1964, the Kings backed up their run to the NBA's best regular-season record with a historic and convincing victory over the Mavs, whose offensive firepower made them a favorite of many observers.

    But in front of a crowd that seemed louder than the Mavericks' customized team plane, the Kings got the last of three straight victories despite the absence of second-leading scorer Peja Stojakovic, who hasn't played since the third quarter of Game 3 because of a sprained ankle.

    What's more, Webber limped to the locker room in the third quarter after spraining his left ankle, missing several minutes. But no distraction in this series seemed to bother the Kings -- not the health of their All-Stars, not the cowbell chorus behind their bench in Dallas, not even the Mavs' high-octane offense.

    It's Been A While
    Sacramento's win Monday night was just the fifth time in franchise history that the team has clinched a playoff series at home. The last occurence was in 1964, when the team was in Cincinnati. The Rochester Royals, forefathers of the Kings, won three series-clinchers at home in 1951, including Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
      Site Opponent
    5/02 Sacramento Mavericks
    3/64 Cincinnati Warriors
    4/51 Rochester Knicks*
    4/51 Rochester Lakers
    3/51 Rochester Pistons
    *Game 7 of NBA Finals

    After all, the Kings have been playing this style for four seasons now during the most exciting time in franchise history -- and the payoff finally has arrived. The fans' chants of "Beat L.A.!" began in the third quarter, when the game's outcome was still in doubt, and picked up again afterward.

    "We didn't let anything distract us, and that's hard in a series like this," Bibby said. "We got a lot of motivation from stuff that some people thought we couldn't do."

    All-Star Dirk Nowitzki recovered from his series-long struggles with 32 points and 12 rebounds, and Michael Finley had 26 points for the Mavs. But the team is still a year or two behind Sacramento on the development curve, and the looks on the Mavs' faces afterward suggested they were learning from the painful experience.

    "It's good to go through this process so they'll learn from it," Mavericks coach Don Nelson said. "I'm really rooting for them, because I love the style of basketball they play. Can they beat the Lakers or San Antonio? I don't know, but I sure hope so, because if they can do it, maybe we can too, someday."

    Sacramento ran away from the Mavericks as soon as Webber returned late in the third quarter. The fourth quarter was a recital, with nearly every member of the Kings turning in a spectacular offensive play as they held off a rally from the resilient Mavs.

    "Me and Steve (Nash) hadn't even made vacation plans yet, because we didn't feel like we were down 3-1," said Dallas' Nick Van Exel, who had just six points. "Throughout the series, we didn't feel like they could ever beat us. We never thought we wouldn't be able to come back."

    Turkoglu, thrust into Stojakovic's starting spot, finally solved his shooting struggles with several big baskets in the second half. Bibby, who became an offensive force in the series, had another dominant game on his 24th birthday while thoroughly outplaying Nash, who had 12 points and nine assists.

    Sacramento used the backing of another deafening crowd to get off to a hot start, hitting seven straight shots and taking an early nine-point lead. Nowitzki's improved play kept Dallas in it, and his jumper at the halftime buzzer cut the Kings' lead to 59-53.

    Game notes

    The Kings' previous 14 playoff series all ended on the road. The 1963-64 Cincinnati Royals finished the Eastern Division finals at home. ... Jackson made a jaw-dropping triple-pump layup on a drive to the hoop in the second quarter, drawing a foul from Wang Zhizhi along the way.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 101 114
    FGM-FGA 40-84 (.476) 41-85 (.482)
    3PM-3PA 6-18 (.333) 6-17 (.353)
    FTM-FTA 15-20 (.750) 26-32 (.813)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-40 15-43
    Assists 23 21
    Turnovers 11 11
    Steals 5 5
    Blocks 3 4
    Fast Break Points 6 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (2/1) 20 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 32
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Chris Webber Webber
    Points: 23
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 2