SALT LAKE CITY, April 5 (Ticker) --
It was closer this time, but the Utah
Jazz still cannot play with the Sacramento Kings.
scored 28 points, including the tie-breaking
three-point play midway through the fourth quarter, as the Kings
completed a perfect six-game road trip with a 117-109 victory
over the Jazz.
Sacramento continued to roll, extending its overall winning
streak to seven games and its road run to seven, a franchise
record. The Kings also established club marks for wins (56) and
road wins (23).
The NBA's best team also completed its first sweep of the Jazz
since the 1979-80 season, when the Kings were in Kansas City and
the Jazz were in New Orleans. However, this one was not as
easy as the first three wins.
NBA TV highlights from|
Gift for C-Webb:
Chris Webber led seven Kings in double figures with 28 points.
Sacramento had beaten Utah by an average of more than 27 points
in the first three meetings and appeared on its way to another
rout, opening a 22-point lead early in the second quarter. But
Utah fought back and forged a 96-96 tie on a jumper by Rusty LaRue
with 6:31 to go.
Webber followed with his three-point play, giving the Kings the
lead for good with 6:09 left. He added a layup to keep the lead
at three points and another inside shot to push the advantage
to 106-100 with 3:50 remaining. His acrobatic layup made it
113-103 with 1:46 left.
Webber took advantage of the absence of Jazz forward Karl Malone
, who sat out due to injury for just the fifth time in his
17-year career -- and second this season -- with a sore right
"This is the first time I've ever seen a game played in Utah
without Karl Malone," Webber said. "It didn't seem right."
returned from a sore hamstring and scored 23
points for the Kings, who shot 54 percent (44-of-81) from the
field and had seven players in double figures.
"I was really trying to just play him six, seven, eight minutes
and get him out and put him back in," Kings coach Rick Adelman
said. "He kept telling me his leg was fine. It was just his
wind. But it's nice to see him back. It gives us a full convoy
of people now."
Sacramento (56-19) opened a 2 1/2-game lead on the Los Angeles
Lakers in the race for the best record in the NBA and home-court
advantage throughout the NBA playoffs. Right now, its
first-round opponent would be Utah (42-34), which is eighth in
the Western Conference.
"They are one of the smartest teams in basketball," Jazz coach
Jerry Sloan said. "They will pick you apart with where the ball
is supposed to go, and they'll pass it."
32 points and 13 rebounds for the Jazz, who have dropped six in
a row to the Kings. Utah remained one-half game behind
seventh-place Seattle in the West.
"It's pretty hard to fight back in a game like that," Sloan
said. "I don't know if it meant anything or not. You'll hve to
go ask those guys (Jazz players)."
The Kings shot 65 percent (15-of-23) in the first quarter,
racing to a 36-18 lead. Stojakovic scored 10 points and Webber
and Vlade Divac
added eight apiece.
"We came out in the first quarter like we didn't want to play,
then you give them 34 or 36 points ... " Sloan said.
A layup by Scot Pollard
gave the Kings their largest lead at
40-18 with 10:25 left in the second quarter before the Jazz
slowly began coming back, closing to 61-51 at halftime.
"We started out so well without Karl in the lineup and
everything and maybe we thought it was gonna be easy or
something," Adelman said. "But we knew Utah was going to play
hard. That's one thing we talked about, how hard they were
gonna play with Karl out."
The Jazz inched within 86-80 entering the final period and tied
it on LaRue's shot. Webber's basket started a 17-7 run that
included 3-pointers by Mike Bibby
and Doug Christie
, who scored
16 and 14 points, respectively.
"I think we kind of relaxed too much and let them back in the
game," Bibby said. "We wanted to close them out early and it
didn't happen. We made it tougher than we had to."
Divac and Bobby Jackson
each scored 12 points and Hedo Turkoglu
added 10 for the Kings, who made 6-of-14 3-pointers and 23-of-27
had 20 points and 10 assists and Bryon Russell
also scored 20 points for the Jazz, who shot 47 percent
(42-of-89) and held a 45-32 rebounding edge.