Final / OT

Regular Season Series (Game 4 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

Mavericks 129


Kings 123

(46-21, 28-6 home)

    12:30 PM ET, March 16, 2003

    Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

    1 2 3 4 OT T
    DAL 33 26 27 25 18129
    SAC 23 32 27 29 12123

    Top Performers

    Dal: D. Nowitzki 34 Pts, 18 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Blk

    Sac: C. Webber 24 Pts, 15 Reb, 9 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Mavs avoid being swept in season series by Kings

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- After each of the Dallas Mavericks' seven losses to Sacramento over the past 10 months, Steve Nash insisted his team was good enough to beat the Kings in a big game.

    Steve Nash

    Mavs point guard Steve Nash scored 12 of his 27 points in overtime.

    Nash probably didn't imagine the heroics he would have to perform just to prove it.

    The All-Star point guard hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left in regulation, then scored 12 points in overtime as Dallas defeated Sacramento 129-123 Sunday -- avoiding a season sweep by another prime contender for the league title.

    Nash finished with 27 points and 10 assists as the Mavericks got their league-high 50th victory of the season. But it was Nash's tying shot -- set up by Michael Finley's heady offensive rebound -- that gave the Mavericks a momentum and confidence boost.

    Despite the Mavericks' run to the top of the league standings, they had lost seven of their previous eight games against Sacramento: a 4-1 series defeat in last spring's conference semifinals, and three straight losses this season.

    "I felt we deserved it,'' Nash said. "I thought we played well enough and hard enough. I've been saying we're good enough to beat these guys for a year now. We deserved a break at the end of the game. We got one by getting an offensive rebound and getting a second chance at the 3.''

    Dirk Nowitzki had 34 points and 18 rebounds, and Finley scored 21 points as the Mavericks displayed all of the poise and execution many doubted they could produce against the veteran Kings. It was a compelling game, but it still was only one game -- as players and coaches on both sides were quick to point out.

    "I don't feel like we have a monkey off our back against Sacramento,'' Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "The Kings have still outplayed us this year. Because we won an overtime game -- it doesn't mean that much to me.''

    The Mavericks were ahead all afternoon until midway through the fourth quarter, when Sacramento scored 12 straight points and brought the Arco Arena crowd to a frenzy.

    Mike Bibby's jumper with 14 seconds left in regulation gave a three-point lead to the Kings. But after Nash missed his first 3-point attempt, Finley got the rebound and found Nash in the corner for the game-tying 3-pointer -- a shot that showed Dallas had the toughness to survive in the NBA's loudest arena.

    "We had the game in our hands, but somehow we got lost in our rotation on that last shot,'' said Peja Stojakovic, who scored 30 points for Sacramento. "Steve made an open shot. He made a lot of big shots.''

    In overtime, Nash made four straight field goals for Dallas -- including two more 3-pointers -- as the Mavericks ran away from the Kings, whose eight-game home winning streak was snapped.

    The Kings were going after their first season sweep of Dallas since 1997-98. Chris Webber had 24 points -- just seven after halftime -- along with 15 rebounds and nine assists.

    "The worst part was they were running off the court like they just won a championship,'' Webber said. "You never know. Maybe we'll see them again, and we'll remember that.''

    It still doesn't have the enmity of a true rivalry, but Sacramento's clashes with Dallas in recent years have been generally well-played and exciting. The Kings won twice in Dallas earlier this season on late baskets by Keon Clark, while Sacramento got a blowout victory in the Mavericks' earlier trip to Arco Arena.

    Sunday's game was an up-tempo contest befitting two of the NBA's top three offenses. All told, 13 players scored in double figures -- and Clark had nine points. Nowitzki hit six 3-pointers, while Stojakovic had five.

    Nowitzki -- left alone on the perimeter by the pick-and-roll -- made five 3-pointers in less than five minutes during the first half, but Sacramento took its first lead since the opening minutes on consecutive fast-break layups by Bibby and Bobby Jackson in the fourth.

    Webber put Sacramento ahead on a hook shot with 56 seconds left, and Bibby hit an off-balance jumper before Nash's game-tying shot.

    "You'd like to think a shot like that doesn't affect you, but human nature takes its course,'' Webber said. "You try to put it out of your mind in overtime, but you can't. Maybe it was just their turn.''

    Game notes

    Sacramento fell to 28-6 at home. Dallas is an NBA-best 23-10 on the road. ... Eduardo Najera got a technical foul late in the third quarter for nothing more than waving his hand in disgust after a foul call. Referee Rodney Mott had the quick whistle. ... Midway through the third quarter, Dallas coach Don Nelson and center Shawn Bradley exchanged angry words on the sideline. Nelson pulled Bradley out of the game after Webber drove into the lane for a three-point play. Bradley didn't play again until the overtime tip.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 129 123
    FGM-FGA 47-99 (.475) 46-102 (.451)
    3PM-3PA 10-25 (.400) 11-23 (.478)
    FTM-FTA 25-33 (.758) 20-25 (.800)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-55 10-49
    Assists 26 31
    Turnovers 11 13
    Steals 6 7
    Blocks 5 3
    Fast Break Points 8 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (2/0) 21 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 34
    Reb: 18
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2
    Chris Webber Webber
    Points: 24
    Reb: 15
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1