SACRAMENTO, Calif, April 23 (Ticker) -- Vlade Divac
said the Utah
Jazz were done. John Stockton
and the Utah Jazz have been
hearing that for 10 years.
The eighth-seeded Jazz built a big lead and Stockton made sure
they held it as they stunned the top-seeded Sacramento Kings,
93-86, to even their Western Conference first-round series at
one game each.
After the Kings held off the Jazz, 89-86, on Saturday, Divac
said, "That was their best chance, and they still lost ... so
they're done."Stockton had other ideas.
"The games can go any way," Stockton said. "As we know in this
league, you can win by 30 or lose by 30 the next night. That is
just the way the league is. In the playoffs, you have a long
time to look at each other."
NBA TV highlights from|
Jarron Collins and Utah kept Chris Webber and the Kings in check to even the series.
The 40-year-old point guard was part of a physical defense that
held the Kings to 29 points in the first half, when some of the
Jazz's younger players sparked the offense.
"We wanted to come back and play, regardless of that," Jazz
forward Donyell Marshall
said. "But I think he really pumped us
up, helped us stay focused."
"We had the willingness to win, despite what Vlade said," Utah
swingman Bryon Russell
Sacramento trailed by 18 points in the third quarter but rallied
in the final period, closing within four points with six
minutes to go. That's when Stockton took control with a
virtually flawless floor game that frustrated the Kings.
Stockton finished with 13 points, 12 assists, two steals and one
turnover as he helped the Jazz end an 11-game playoff road
losing streak dating to Game Four of their 1999 first-round
series against the Kings.
"I didn't know that we were 0-for-11 in (road) playoff games,
but it was a nice win for us," Jazz forward Karl Malone
Marshall scored 19 points and Malone added 18 and 12 rebounds
for the Jazz, who had five players score in double figures and
ended a seven-game skid against the Kings dating to last season.
Utah got big contributions from a handful of players. Rookie
had 15 points and five blocks while harassing
into 6-of-18 shooting. Russell added 12 points
and Greg Ostertag
seven and 10 rebounds.
The best-of-five series shifts to Utah for Games Three and Four
on Saturday and Monday. Sacramento won both of its
regular-season visits to the Delta Center.
"We have two tough games coming up against a terrific team,"
said Stockton, who was playing his 175th career playoff game.
Divac scored 21 points and Chris Webber
added 18 for the Kings,
who lost just five home games during the regular season. Divac
refused to back off his statement.
"I feel very confident that we are going to make it to the
second round," Divac said. "This happened last year, and we got
the series back. I just hope that we can just start to play
That didn't happen until the fourth quarter, which began with
the Jazz holding a 64-52 lead. The Kings still trailed 70-59
after a jumper by Malone with 7:48 to go before making a charge.
"I don't think as long as I'll be here in Sacramento -- and this
is where I'll retire -- I'll never think we'll score 52 at the
end of the third," Webber said. "I've never seen our team not
shoot, not have many points, and we've played against some great
A 3-pointer by Stojakovic and two baskets by Divac cut the
deficit to 71-67 with 6:40 left. On four straight possessions,
Stockton made a leaner; fed Russell for a 3-pointer; found
Ostertag underneath, leading to a free throw by the big man; and
fed Ostertag for a dunk.
A tip-in by Ostertag made it 81-73 with 3:46 left. Webber's two
free throws got the Kings within 83-77 with 2:27 to play, but
Stockton found Marshall for another 3-pointer and a nine-point
bulge with 2:11 remaining.
"I thought we were focused on what we were trying to do," Jazz
coach Jerry Sloan said. "We executed our offense well, and we
got some good shots and fortunately made some of them."
Stojakovic scored 16 points for the Kings. In addition to
shooting just 34.5 percent (30-of-87) from the field,
Sacramento's bench was outplayed for the second straight game.
Utah's reserves held a 33-14 scoring edge.
The game started slowly. With 3:53 left in the first quarter,
Malone made a jumper to give Utah a 5-4 lead.
The Jazz led 15-14 after one quarter and got untracked in the
second period while the Kings still were stalled. Marshall
scored 14 points -- one less than Sacramento -- and Utah built a
44-29 halftime lead.
"We had said going into the ballgame that we were going to
disrupt them," Malone said. "They like to get out in the open
floor and we tried to keep from turning the ball over, because
that is how they get the crowd into it. We tried to make them
take tough shots."
The Kings, who shot just 27 percent (11-of-41) in the first
half, fell behind 53-35 on a jumper by Malone with 8:14 left in
the third quarter.