Jackson scored 24 points to lead six players in double figures
as the Kings won their fourth straight with a 118-101 victory over
the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.
Sacramento overcame an inconsistent first half to improve to 7-0
at home, beating the Suns in Arco Arena for the fifth straight
Sacramento, which had the NBA's best home record last season,
has lost just 13 regular-season home games back to the 2000-2001
Jackson, one of the NBA's top sixth men last season, is thriving
in his role as starter in the absence of the injured Mike Bibby.
"I think I'm playing better than I ever did before,'' Jackson
said. "I needed a chance to play. My coaches and teammates believe
I have it in me.''
The Kings picked up their defensive pressure early in the second
half after struggling in the first two quarters. Even the 7-foot-1
Divac was jumping out in the passing lanes to get steals as
Sacramento began the third period with a 19-2 spurt to build a
20-point lead -- the team's biggest of the game after leading by 10
in the first half. Stojakovic scored seven in a row and Webber had
a thundering dunk and two other quick baskets during the run.
"The game opened up and it was freewheeling for them,'' Suns coach Frank Johnson said.
Jackson, Webber and Stojakovic have been impressive at home,
coming in averaging 18.8, 18.8 and 18.0 points per game,
respectively. Jackson was shooting 60 percent from the floor coming
in and went 7-of-13.
He plays so hard, coach Rick Adelman chatted with Jackson
earlier Friday about making sure he tells the coach when he needs a
break. When the Kings went on their third-quarter run, the last
thing Jackson wanted to do was come out, though he was tired. He
played 34 minutes.
"He has been so consistent in his level of play. That's the
thing that stands out to me,'' Adelman said.
Bibby is expected back from foot surgery sometime next month,
and Jackson is looking forward to his return.
"I took a little bang in the back and I'm a little sore,'' he said. "I can't wait for Mike to be back.''
Sacramento used a 40-point third quarter on the way to scoring
at least 100 points for the fourth straight time at home.
The Suns, who have lost two straight after a four-game winning streak, committed 22 turnovers.
"You can't turn the ball over on those guys, they're too
good,'' Marbury said.
Sacramento missed its first four shots and also had a turnover
before Divac finally got the Kings on the board at the 9:13 mark of
the first quarter. But Jake Tsakalidis scored four of the Suns'
first five baskets, three on assists by Marbury, who also scored
four points early as Phoenix built several 10-point leads. The Suns
shot 54.2 percent in the first quarter.
Jackson almost single-handedly got the Kings back in the game.
The 6-foot-1 guard swished a 3-pointer over 6-7 Joe Johnson at
4:52 in the first, then made another from long range the next time
down the floor against Johnson to pull Sacramento within two. Then
Jackson stole the ball on the Suns' next possession, and scored on
a layup to tie it at 18.
"We were kind of treading on a treadmill until he hit those 3's
and got the steal and got our energy going,'' Adelman said.
Sacramento did not lead until Webber scored with 2:55 left in
the first. The Kings used a 17-4 run late in the second period to
go ahead by as many as 10, but couldn't hold it and led 52-49 at
The Suns activated C Jake Voskuhl from the injured list
before the game, and placed G Randy Brown on the injured list.
Brown has tendinitis in his left knee, which was swelling and
hurting during the team's shootaround earlier in the day. ...
Friday was the 139th consecutive sellout at Arco Arena. ... The
Suns' 22 turnovers were a season-high by a Kings' opponent. ...
Phoenix scored a season-high 49 first-half points.
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