SALT LAKE CITY, April 29 (Ticker) --
Nine days after proclaiming the end of the series, Vlade Divac nailed the shot that effectively ended the season for the Utah Jazz.
Peja Stojakovic scored 30 points and Divac hit a rare three-pointer with 89 seconds left as the Sacramento Kings advanced to the Western Conference semifinals with a 91-86 victory over the
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Divac said this first-round series was "over" after the Kings escaped with a narrow victory in Game 1. But the playoff-tested Jazz rebounded with a stunning Game 2 victory at ARCO Arena and nearly took the lead in the series before losing Game 3 on Saturday.
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On Monday, Utah again battled the top-seeded Kings evenly and rallied for a 76-76 tie on Karl Malone's hook shot with 5:15 to go. But Chris Webber dunked 23 seconds later to put Sacramento ahead for good and Mike Bibby followed with a fast-break layup.
Stojakovic, who made 9-of-13 shots, buried one of his four three-pointers to extend the lead with three minutes to play.
The Jazz pulled within 84-81 on Scott Padgett's three-point play with 1:51 remaining and played excellent defense on the Kings' next possession.
After Utah twice nearly forced a turnover behind the three-point line, Divac recovered the ball and had to take a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down. He buried it to give the Kings an 87-81 lead and end the comeback hopes of the Jazz.
"There was like two seconds when I looked at the clock, I just threw it," Divac said. "I tried to make it. I didn't believe I was going to make it, but it was good. It really put them in trouble and made our job much easier."
"They made some big shots at the end and that shot by Vlade was a real heartbreaker," Utah's John Stockton said. "We didn't defend him very well and he made that, and they got momentum."
It was the 12th career playoff three-pointer for Divac and his first since 1999. He is 12-for-51 from beyond the arc in 85 postseason games and missed his previous three attempts in this series.
Stockton buried a three-pointer with 51 seconds to go, but Bibby responded with a tough baseline jumper and Doug Christie sank a pair of free throws with 24 seconds left to seal the win.
"They found ways to make the big plays down the stretch and we couldn't find ways to make the big the plays," Padgett said. "We don't have anything to hang our head about, we played them
"We beat one of the best half-court teams, who gave us all we could handle," Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "I'm glad to get the series over now and I think our guys have learned a lot
Webber had 23 points and nine rebounds and Christie added 12 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for the Kings, who will face fourth-seeded Dallas in the second round.
Divac finished with nine points and seven rebounds as Sacramento shot 46 percent (33-of-72) and scored 30 points off 21 Utah turnovers.
Malone was held to 14 points on 7-of-20 shooting and missed his only two free throws, which came with 82 seconds to go.
Stockton, who may have played the final game of his Hall of Fame career, chipped in 12 points and nine assists as Utah was eliminated in the first round for the second straight season.
"We'll talk to the higher powers that be and see if they have a wish, and we'll follow that," said Stockton, the all-time NBA leader in assists and steals. "I feel like I can still compete. It was an up and down season. It's tough to play and lose, and that's the way I goes."
"The playoffs are pretty much indicative of the way we've played all year," Utah coach Jerry Sloan added. "We haven't been able to finish games for whatever reason by throwing away the ball, missed free throws, missed layups. All those things combined has made it difficult for us to win."
The Jazz shot just 39 percent (35-of-89) from the floor and went to the line only 16 times on their home floor. They held a 49-36 rebounding edge that was nullified by their uncharacteristically high turnover total.
"We had too many turnovers, we just turned the ball over," Sloan said. "We threw the ball away and didn't have much of a chance to win."
Donyell Marshall had 11 points and nine rebounds and fellow reserve Greg Ostertag collected eight and 12. Andrei Kirilenko, who was named to the All-Rookie First Team on Monday, had 10 points and six rebounds.
Sacramento seemed to put away the game early in the fourth quarter after Webber buried a jumper for a 73-62 lead with 9:25 to go. But Kirilenko scored eight points during a 10-2 run as
Utah pulled within 75-72 at 6:40.
Webber made 1-of-2 free throws and Kirilenko had a putback before the Jazz tied it on Malone's hook shot, his only basket in the final nine minutes.
The Kings dominated the first quarter and had their largest lead, 34-22, after a layup by Webber less than two minutes into the second period. They had a 44-34 cushion with 3:10 left in
the first half before the Jazz carried a 14-2 run in the third quarter.
Stockton and Bryon Russell each scored four points during the spurt and rookie Jarron Collins capped it with a jumper to give Utah a 48-46 lead with 10:11 to go in the period.
Webber tied it 26 seconds later with a pair of free throws and Sacramento never trailed after he made a dunk with nine minutes left.