Peja Stojakovic scored 15 of his 27 points in the third quarter
and Chris Webber had 26 points and 11 rebounds as the Kings turned
a four-point halftime deficit into a 99-82 win over the Jazz on
Sacramento leads the series 3-1 and can clinch it at home
Wednesday night in Game 5.
The Kings could be last team to beat Stockton and Malone in Salt
Lake City if the 41-year-old Stockton retires and Malone leaves as
a free agent. Both Stockton and Malone will decide their futures
when the season ends, which will be soon if the Jazz can't pull an
upset in Sacramento.
"We'd love to play what may be the last game against Stockton
and Malone as a tandem. We would love to be a part of that,''
Webber said. "That's something you'd love to tell your kids
Malone led the Jazz with 24 points and Stockton had 12 points
and seven assists. Neither wanted to talk much about the future
after the game.
"You can say that any time you go out on the floor: 'That could
be the last one.''' Stockton said. "You've got to play it like
it's your last one. As for the rest, I guess we'll all decide that
at the end, but we're sure not putting any thought into it until
Stockton left the game quietly during a timeout. Malone got a
standing ovation from what was left of the sellout crowd of 19,911
when he was pulled with 2:25 left.
"We've played a long time together,'' Malone said. "Hopefully
the fans have appreciated what we've tried to do for this
organization and for them.''
Two days after a gritty win got them back into the series, the
older and slower Jazz couldn't keep up with the Kings in the second
half. The Jazz are on the verge of getting knocked out of the
playoffs by the Kings for the second straight year.
"They have beat us this year and we can't relax. You have to
play the same kind of game in Sacramento that we played in the
second half tonight,'' Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "You
have to win four games and then it's over.''
Sacramento was just 17-for-50 from the field in the first half
and trailed 41-37 despite causing 14 turnovers. But the Kings
started hitting shots from everywhere in the third quarter and
quickly turned the game into a runaway.
"They were giving us the ball and we didn't score off it, so in
the third quarter we tried to pick it up a bit,'' said Sacramento's
Mike Bibby, who scored nine of his 11 points in the second half.
"Thirty-seven points at halftime. That's not us.''
Stojakovic hit his second straight 3-pointer to tie the game at
47, then put back his own offensive rebound to give the Kings their
first lead since late in the first quarter. The Jazz struggled with
just three field goals in the first 7½ minutes of the third quarter
as the Kings began to pull away.
The Jazz got to 59-57 on two free throws by Malone with 3:10
left in the third period, then the Kings went on a 14-2 run to
close the quarter. Sacramento was 15-for-25 from the floor in the
period, getting a few easy layups off fast breaks and three
3-pointers from Stojakovic. The Kings didn't allow the Jazz to get
closer than nine the rest of the way.
Jim Jackson scored 10 for the Kings.
Matt Harpring scored 18 points and Andrei Kirilenko finished
with 15 for the Jazz. Greg Ostertag had 14 rebounds for Utah, which
has been knocked out of the playoffs in the first round the last
There were five technical fouls in the game, including
Utah coach Jerry Sloan's third in two games. ... Masters champion
Mike Weir, who lives in suburban Salt Lake City, got a standing
ovation during a timeout and was given a ball by Jazz owner Larry
Miller. ... Sloan finished third in voting for NBA coach of the
year Monday behind winner Gregg Popovich of San Antonio and Eric
Musselman of Golden State. Sacramento's Rick Adelman was fifth. ...
Vlade Divac shaved his trademark beard for the first time in the