Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 1/15

Game 1: Wednesday, January 15th
Game 2: Tuesday, February 4th
Game 3: Thursday, February 27th
Game 4: Sunday, March 16th

Kings 110

(34-16, 16-12 away)

Mavericks 109


    Coverage: KXTV

    7:30 PM ET, February 4, 2003

    American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    SAC 37 27 24 22110
    DAL 24 34 27 24109

    Top Performers

    Sacramento: M. Bibby 27 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    Dallas: D. Nowitzki 28 Pts, 16 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Clark's dunk after a missed three proves to be difference

    DALLAS (AP) -- Despite their league-best record, the Dallas Mavericks have been saying all season that the Sacramento Kings are the team to beat in the NBA. The Kings again showed why Tuesday night.

     Keon Clark

    Although Sacramento had lost two straight and five of six, Keon Clark's high-flying dunk off a missed 3-pointer with 16.5 seconds left gave the Kings a 110-109 victory over the Mavericks in a thrilling showdown of Western Conference division leaders.

    Sacramento beat Dallas by 29 three weeks ago, leading the entire game. This one was impressive in its own way considering the Kings had been playing so poorly and were without Chris Webber, who had a triple-double in the previous meeting.

    "We didn't want to go into the All-Star break like we've been playing the last couple of games," said Mike Bibby, who led the Kings with 27 points. "Everyone stepped up for us tonight. We came out with energy and everything turned out great."

    Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki recovered from missing his first eight shots to have 28 points, 16 rebounds and five assists. He missed his last one, though, a 10-footer in the lane after spinning away from Peja Stojakovic and getting a good look at the basket.

    Doug Christie grabbed the rebound with about 3 seconds left and dribbled away in celebration. Sacramento coach Rick Adelman turned to his bench and threw a victory punch, while Vlade Divac smiled and rode away on the back of assistant coach Terry Porter.

    "It's huge," Adelman said. "They kept coming back at us and it seemed like they were making every shot. We stayed with it and got the ball to bounce the right way at the end."

    The Mavericks had won four straight and seven of eight, including consecutive games decided in the final minutes.

    Although those were against solid teams in Minnesota and Utah, Dallas couldn't do it against an elite team like Sacramento. The Kings eliminated the Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs last season.

    Dallas still goes into the All-Star break 38-10, four losses fewer than anyone else, but the Mavericks can't escape their 0-3 record against Sacramento and San Antonio.

    "Keep saying it, it's fine by us," said Dallas point guard Steve Nash, who had 13 points and a season-high 14 assists. "We're not going to roll over and say it's over because they've beaten us twice."

    The Mavericks felt the game wasn't lost at the end, but at the start when the Kings made 13 of their first 17 shots and went on to lead by 16 in the third quarter.

    Sacramento cooled off and Dallas tied it at 64 early in the third quarter. Neither team led by more than six the rest of the way.

    Five straight points by Michael Finley, who scored 28, put the Mavericks ahead 107-106 with 57 seconds left. Then Bibby and Nowitzki traded tough jumpers, leaving Dallas still leading by one.

    Sacramento's Hedo Turkoglu missed a long 3-pointer and the rebound went straight up. The long, lanky Clark -- who earlier had an amazing one-handed, reverse alley-oop dunk -- caught the ball and slammed it through in one motion.

    On Dallas' final possession, Stojakovic had Nowitzki covered well before the 7-footer slipped free into the lane.

    "I just wanted to make it hard on him," said Stojakovic, who had 24 points and tied his season best with 14 rebounds. "He's made a lot of those shots, but he didn't tonight. We were lucky because I bounced off of him."

    The Kings held on for their 16th road victory, tying Dallas for most in the NBA. Sacramento (34-16) is five games behind the Mavericks for the best record in the West and 1½ games ahead of Portland in the Pacific Division.

    Dallas is 6½ games up on San Antonio in the Midwest.

    "We're trying to win our division and do the best we can do," coach Don Nelson said. "I think we've done a great job."

    Stojakovic hit 4-of-5 on 3-pointers and the Kings were 6-of-9 from behind the arc.

    Van Exel had 17 points and was 3-of-8 on 3-pointers. He had made 11 of his last 15 3-pointers.

    Turkoglu had 17 points and Christie scored eight, including buzzer-beaters at the end of the second and third quarters.

    Game notes
    Three of Sacramento's last four foes shot over 50 percent. Dallas hit 44 percent. ... Dallas' Adrian Griffin, the most regular starter at small forward, didn't play because of a sore right knee. ... There were lots of quick whistles. Sacramento's Jim Jackson got a flagrant for hitting Nowitzki while breaking up a sure layup, then Dallas' Raef LaFrentz got a flagrant on another questionable call. Nash got a technical for mildly questioning a no-call.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 110 109
    FGM-FGA 44-85 (.518) 38-87 (.437)
    3PM-3PA 6-9 (.667) 13-29 (.448)
    FTM-FTA 16-23 (.696) 20-24 (.833)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-50 7-41
    Assists 25 27
    Turnovers 14 8
    Steals 3 7
    Blocks 2 5
    Fast Break Points 9 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/1) 15 (1/1)

    Top Performers

    Mike Bibby Bibby
    Points: 27
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 28
    Reb: 16
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 2