Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 2/25

Game 1: Tuesday, February 25th
Pistons75Final
Kings81
Game 2: Sunday, March 30th
Kings88Final
Pistons99

Pistons 75

(37-20, 17-14 away)

Kings 81

(40-18, 24-5 home)

    Coverage: FSBAY

    7:00 PM ET, February 25, 2003

    Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    DET 26 11 19 1975
    SAC 17 20 20 2481

    Top Performers

    Detroit: B. Wallace 6 Pts, 19 Reb, 3 Stl, 3 Blk

    Sacramento: P. Stojakovic 14 Pts, 4 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Kings play grind-out game to stop Pistons

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- It's been the rap for years: Chris Webber plays like a superstar until the game is on the line, and then he disappears.

    Chris Webber
    Webber

    So much for reputation. Webber's shot was erratic and his ankle was still tender Tuesday night, but when the Sacramento Kings needed a big basket, he came through three times in a row.

    Webber scored 19 points and hit short hook shots on three consecutive possessions in the final 90 seconds as Sacramento beat the Detroit Pistons for the eighth straight time, 81-75.

    Webber got 13 rebounds, but went 9-for-24 from the field, still adjusting in his second game back from a 10-game absence with a sprained ankle. Webber and his teammates have always disagreed with Webber's reputation for timid play in the clutch -- and so far this season, he has strived to back up their confidence in him.

    "You've just got to keep shooting,'' Webber said. "I just felt I need to get the ball late in the game. I've got to take those shots. So I missed a lot of jump hooks earlier in the game. Whatever. I've got to put the ball in the hole.''

    The Kings held on for their fourth straight win. Sacramento finished a seven-game homestand with six victories.

    Peja Stojakovic and Bobby Jackson scored 14 points apiece as the Kings barely beat the Pistons at their own grind-it-out game. Detroit slowed the pace to a near-standstill and imposed a half-court tempo on the Kings, who needed a late stand to earn their lowest-scoring victory of the season.

    "It wasn't just (Webber). Our whole team struggled,'' Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "It was pulling teeth out there. Give Chris all the credit. He wanted the ball, demanded the ball. He has no problem taking those shots.''

    The Pistons trailed by 12 with 1/2 minutes left, but made a 12-2 run, capped by Richard Hamilton's jumper with 1:31 left. Hamilton had 18 points and Ben Wallace got 19 rebounds.

    Detroit lost its fourth straight after winning nine of 10, wasting a chance to take sole possession of first place in the Central Division after Indiana lost earlier. The Pistons have lost six straight at Arco Arena.

    "I thought our effort was exceptional,'' Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said. "We played hard, but we didn't play particularly well. We were able to control the tempo of the game, (but) their shot-making got them through again.''

    Former Kings forward Corliss Williamson scored 13 points for the Pistons, who shot 36 percent and missed countless open jumpers. The Kings weren't much better, but Mike Bibby hit three 3-pointers and Jackson scored eight points in the fourth quarter.

    Detroit has lost the first two games of its five-game road trip. Still, Robinson and Chauncey Billups had 12 points apiece, and the Pistons were encouraged by their defensive performance.

    "They hit shots with guys hanging all over them and with hands in their face,'' Wallace said. "You have to tip your hat to them.''

    Wallace got his 10th rebound with 3 minutes left in the first quarter, but his rebounding was the only impressive feature of an ugly first half. Detroit took a nine-point lead in the second quarter, then went without a field goal for nearly six minutes as the Kings got back in it.

    The Kings will see a decidedly different style on Thursday when they face league-leading Dallas for the third time this season.

    Game notes


    The Kings were held under 100 points for the first time during their eight-game winning streak over Detroit. ... It was the Kings' fourth seven-game homestand since the team moved to Northern California. They'd never finished better than 5-2. ... Egged on by Divac's joking comments in a newspaper, the Kings' fans booed Jon Barry whenever he touched the ball. Barry, who played three seasons in Sacramento, was cheered loudly when he returned to Arco Arena last season -- but Divac said he'd give $5 to every fan if they booed his good friend this time. "It was a J-O-K-E,'' Divac said. "They didn't get it. Unbelievable. What kind of a society is this? It made me feel bad, seriously.''

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

    SPONSORED HEADLINES

    Team Stat Comparison

     
    DET
    SAC
    Points 75 81
    FGM-FGA 30-83 (.361) 35-78 (.449)
    3PM-3PA 6-22 (.273) 6-8 (.750)
    FTM-FTA 9-14 (.643) 5-8 (.625)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-44 8-45
    Assists 15 16
    Turnovers 14 14
    Steals 8 7
    Blocks 6 6
    Fast Break Points 1 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (0/0) 17 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Detroit
    Sacramento
    Ben Wallace Wallace
    Points: 6
    Reb: 19
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 3
    Peja Stojakovic Stojakovic
    Points: 14
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1