SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 16 (Ticker) -- Steve Nash
, one of the most
exciting players in the NBA, took charge of another exciting
game between the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings.
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Nash forced overtime with a 3-pointer, then scored 12 points in
the extra session to lead the Mavericks to a 129-123 victory
over the Kings in a sensational shootout.
"It's good to finally beat a team that you haven't beat all
year," Mavericks guard Michael Finley
said. "Our confidence is
high but to come in here, in a hostile environment, and get the
win, we're going to use this the rest of the season."
The best two offensive teams in the NBA have staged a handful of
exciting games over the last two seasons, including four
overtime contests. Dallas has won three times at raucous Arco
Arena, but Sacramento has the overall upper hand, taking 10 of
13 games, including four of five in last year's Western
The Kings had won the first three meetings of 2002-03,
establishing superiority over the Mavs, who have had the NBA's
best record all season. But Nash made sure his team was not
swept while it sent a subtle message of its own.
"I finally made the shot that sent us into overtime," Nash said.
"I felt we deserved it. I thought we played well enough and
hard enough. We deserved a break at the end of the game."
A seesaw fourth quarter saw Mike Bibby
beat the shot clock with
a 17-footer that gave Sacramento a 111-108 lead with 14 seconds
left. On the next possession, Nash missed a 3-pointer, but
Finley got the rebound as Nash floated to the right corner,
where he buried the tying shot with 2.5 seconds to go.
"They got the board and Nash was open," said Kings guard Bobby
, who lost defensive position on the play. "That's how
the ball bounces sometimes."
Nash collected 27 points and 10 assists and was unstoppable in
overtime. His 3-pointer gave Dallas a 116-114 lead with 2:51
After a 3-pointer by Peja Stojakovic
gave Sacramento its last
lead, Nash made a difficult one-handed fadeaway shot and a
jumper for a 120-117 edge with 1:26 to play. Dirk Nowitzki
a foul and sank two free throws to push the lead to five points
in the final minute.
"Jackson is a good defender. I just tried to be aggressive,"
said Nash, who made 11-of-17 shots.
third 3-pointer of the season kept the Kings in
it at 122-120 with 47 seconds remaining, but Nash buried a
3-pointer just 12 seconds later. Finley and Nash added two free
throws each around a 3-pointer by Jackson to seal it.
"We stood up to the challenge and made some good plays,"
Nowitzki said. "The first two out of three games (against the
Kings), we didn't make plays down the stretch and they did. It
was nice because Steve stepped up and made the plays."
"Nash hit some big shots in overtime," Kings coach Rick Adelman
said. "You have to give them credit. They came in and played
Nowitzki had a huge game with 34 points and 18 rebounds and
Finley scored 21 points for the Mavs (50-16), who became the
first team to win 50 games and maintained their Midwest Division
lead over surging San Antonio.
"They have a very good team and that is an understatement," Mavs
forward Adrian Griffin
said. "We just had to come out and put
forth the effort. We know what they can do and they know what
we can do, it just came down to, like, a heavyweight fight, two
of the best teams going at it, and we just felt like we needed
Nash and Mavs coach Don Nelson were more concerned with the
advancing Spurs than their ability to beat the Kings. Dallas
plays San Antonio twice this week.
"It didn't feel like we had a monkey off the back against
Sacramento," Nelson said. "The Kings have still outplayed us
this year. Because we won an overtime game doesn't mean that
much to me. What is does do for our team is keep us in the
division race with San Antonio."
"We can't lose, or San Antonio is going to catch us," Nash said.
"I don't think this game will have any bearing on the
Stojakovic scored 30 points and Webber added 24 and 15 rebounds
for the Kings, who fell to 28-6 at home.
The game featured 13 players in double figures, seven for the
Kings. There were eight ties and 18 lead changes, including
three and nine in the fourth quarter and overtime. A jumper by
Finley gave Dallas a 93-86 lead with 10:27 left in the fourth
quarter, but two 3-pointers by Stojakovic highlighted a 12-0
burst that gave Sacramento a 98-93 advantage with 6:11 to go.
Nash found Eduardo Najera
for a reverse layup to reclaim the
lead for the Mavs at 105-104 with 2:13 remaining. Sacramento's
Mike Bibby made a 3-pointer before Nash tied it by following in
his own miss at the 1:32 mark.
After Najera split a pair from the line, Webber atoned for a
miss with a jump hook that gave the Kings a 109-108 lead with 56
seconds left. Nick Van Exel
missed a jumper, setting up
"They made a run in the fourth quarter and we didn't fold,"
Van Exel scored 17 points, Griffin added 12 and nine rebounds
and Raef LaFrentz
scored 10 points for Dallas, which shot 47.5
percent (47-of-99), including 10-of-25 from the arc. The Mavs
held a 55-49 rebounding edge.
Jackson scored 14 points, Bibby added 12, Hedo Turkoglu
and Vlade Divac
10 apiece for Sacramento, which shot 45 percent (46-of-102), including 11-of-23 from 3-point