SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 15 (Ticker) --
For the second time in a
week, the Sacramento Kings wasted no time turning a contender
into a pretender.
NBA TV highlights from|
and Peja Stojakovic
combined for 20 points in an
awesome first quarter as the Kings sent a meaningful message
with a 123-94 victory over the league-leading Dallas Mavericks,
who had a six-game winning streak abruptly stopped.
Although the Kings pushed the defending NBA champion Los Angeles
Lakers to the limit in last season's Western Conference finals,
they have been flying a bit under the radar this season. They
got off to a bit of a slow start and have been hampered by
Meanwhile, Dallas won its first 14 games and became the league's
trendy team. It came into this contest on pace for 70 wins
with a 31-5 mark, four games better than the Kings.
However, the Kings breezed past the Mavericks in five games in
last year's conference semifinals and reminded everyone how easy
that was. They raced to a 39-26 lead after one period and
never looked back.
"We just passed a test," Webber said. "We know we're good and
we were confident we could win here. It's been four to five
years in the making. We let everybody else talk and build the
game up. We just come out and calmly play the game."
It was remarkably similar to Thursday's road annihilation of New
Jersey, where the Kings led by as many as 42 points before
settling for a 118-82 rout of the best team in the Eastern
"It looked like the New Jersey game," Stojakovic said. "I guess
we approached the game really seriously, especially on the
"We played at a very high level," Kings coach Rick Adelman
added. "We've shown in a couple games now where we're playing
two of the better teams that we have the ability to reach a
level of play. Now the key for us is how often we get to that
level. How consistent can we be?"
Webber had 29 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists for his second
triple-double of the season. Stojakovic added 23 points for the
Kings (29-10), who shot 55 percent (48-of-87) from the field --
including a blistering 13-of-20 from three-point range -- and posted
a season high in points. They have won six of their last seven
"The playoffs are yet to be played. That's when all the
statements need to be made," Kings guard Doug Christie
"Right now, it's just basketball. They're a fantastic team and
we wanted to come out and put on a good show, and we did."
Reserve Nick Van Exel
scored 20 points for the Mavs, who shot
just 43 percent (39-of-91) and suffered their worst loss of the
"This game doesn't say anything about where we are," Dallas
coach Don Nelson said. "We're having a great year. I think it
says more about who they are. We never said we were better than
Dallas' "Big Three" of Dirk Nowitzki
, Michael Finley
combined for just 34 points on 13-of-36 shooting.
Sacramento never trailed, scoring the first five points. After
Finley made a free throw, Christie got out on a fast break and
threw a pass between his legs behind him to Webber, who dunked.
It was similar to a pass Christie threw to Stojakovic in the win
over the Nets and a sign of things to come. Sacramento shot 54
percent (14-of-26) in the opening period and dropped the
highest first-quarter total on Dallas this season.
"We were really aggressive from the tipoff," Kings center Vlade
said. "We made the first five points of the game and
defensively, we were solid."
A jumper by Raef LaFrentz
pulled the Mavs within 39-30, but they
missed nine straight shots as the Kings ran off 12 points.
capped the surge by banking in an 18-footer as the
shot clock expired for a 51-30 advantage with 6:53 to go in the
The Kings held a 62-42 halftime lead and opened it to 70-44 on a
short jumper by Webber less than two minutes into the third
quarter. The Mavs got no closer than 18 points thereafter.
"We missed our assignments all over the place defensively, and
they made us pay for it," Nash said.
Christie scored 18 points and Mike Bibby added 16 for the Kings.
Clark scored 13 points and Divac 11 with eight rebounds.
Nowitzki scored 15 points, Nash added 11 and Finley just eight.
scored 12 points, most of them in garbage time.