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Webber misses triple-double by one assist

2/24/2003

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Chris Webber's teammates might have
slowed him down more than his ankle did.

Webber made a successful return from a badly sprained left ankle
Sunday night, scoring 20 points and adding 11 rebounds and nine
assists as the Sacramento Kings beat the New York Knicks 99-92 on
Sunday night.

Webber, sidelined for 10 games by the injury, nearly had his
18th career triple-double, but fell an assist short when his
teammates missed a couple of late shots.

"I was teasing the guys about it, missing those shots at the
end,'' Webber said. "All and all, it felt pretty good. I was
happy. I had a lot nerves before the game. It was more about being
anxious to get out there.''

Webber's production did not surprise Kings center Vlade Divac.

"Chris is capable of doing stuff like that,'' Divac said. "He
plays defense, he rebounds, he passes. He makes other people
better.''

Mike Bibby added 15 points for Sacramento, which had seven
players score in double figures. The Kings have won three in a row
and five of six.

"Chris brings a lot of attention away from other players, that
opens up things for everyone else,'' Bibby said. "We just started
passing the ball and making more shots in the second half.''

The Knicks had a disappointing end to what began as a promising
road trip. But after wins against Phoenix and the Los Angeles
Lakers, New York lost four in a row.

"The trip was disappointing in terms of what our goals were,''
Knicks coach Don Chaney said. "I thought there were a couple of
games that we expected to win.''

New York missed its first 15 3-point attempts and finished
2-for-21 from long range. Kurt Thomas scored 17 points, Michael
Doleac had 14 and Latrell Sprewell and Allan Houston each had 13.

Webber got off to a slow start, making just 3-of-10 shots and
scoring eight points in the first half.

But the All-Star forward connected on three straight jumpers to
open the second half, and the Kings went on to outscore New York
27-20 in the third quarter to take the lead for good.

"Chris missed a few bunnies in the first half, but for his
first game back he looked pretty good,'' Sprewell said.

Bobby Jackson made his first four shots of the fourth quarter
and Webber made consecutive jumpers, putting Sacramento ahead 93-82
with 3:55 remaining.

Jim Jackson scored 14 points, Bobby Jackson had 13 and Doug
Christie added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Kings. Peja
Stojakovic scored 12 points and Divac contributed 11 points and
eight rebounds.

"We kind of got off to a slow start and luckily they hadn't hit
a whole lot of shots and we were tied at half,'' Christie said.
"To come out in the second half and get a quick run was good.''

Howard Eisley had 12 points and 10 assists for the Knicks.

Game notes
The Kings missed 15 of their first 17 shots in the second
quarter, but still managed 26 points. ... The Knicks, who led by
eight on several occasions, shot three free throws to Sacramento's
18 in the first half. ... Thomas, who had a season-high 34 points
in his previous game, played just 18 minutes in the first three
quarters because of foul problems.