Kings Contain Mavs, Even Series at 2-2

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Sacramento 99, Dallas 83
Kings Contain Mavs, Even Series at 2-2

Peja Stojakovic drove past Raja Bell en route to the hoop.
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images

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SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 11 (Ticker) -- The Sacramento Kings played with desperation. The Dallas Mavericks played as if they were content.

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Just 24 hours after losing in a double-overtime classic, the Kings breezed past the lethargic Mavericks, 99-83, to even their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series at two games apiece.

Hedo Turkoglu scored 17 points to lead six players in double figures for the Kings, who fell in Game Three on Saturday, 141-137.

"I am just really pleased with our effort after last night - that was such a huge disappointment last night, losing that game, the way it went down," Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "One thing about this group, they are so resilient, they just respond."

The Kings, who lost All-Star forward Chris Webber for the remainder of the playoffs to an injured knee in Game Two, wasted little time in ensuring they would not trail by 3-1 heading into Dallas for Game Five on Tuesday.

Sacramento, which never trailed, took the lead for good, 10-8, on a basket by Turkoglu 4:34 into the contest. The Kings led by just 24-20 after one quarter but extended their advantage to 52-37 at the break, and Dallas got no closer than 13 points in the final 24 minutes.

"We just didn't seem to have much tonight, didn't have our legs, wasn't a lot of fuel left in the tank," Mavericks coach Don Nelson said. "I thought we tried hard. Didn't look like we were, but I really thought we were trying."

Vlade Divac added 16 points and nine rebounds, Peja Stojakovic 15 and 12 and Doug Christie, 13, 11 and seven assists for Sacramento, which allowed the Dallas to score as many points in 48 minutes as it produced in the playoff record-setting first half of a 132-110 victory in Game Two on Thursday.

"I was trying to attack the basket, push the tempo," Christie said. "After the double-overtime game, I had a bit of a feeling that both teams were going to be a little bit fatigued, and I tried to take care of myself last night and make sure that I was ready to come out here and run as fast as I possibly could."

"They had more energy than us tonight," said Mavericks guard Steve Nash, who had just six points and six assists after contributing 31 and 11 on Saturday. "I thought they did a great job with their backs against the wall. We've had a tough schedule lately, going seven games with Portland. They just had more energy than us tonight."

Michael Finley and Raja Bell paced the Dallas with 16 points apiece.

"Having won the first game, our goal was definitely to come in here and get two," Bell said. "We're not content with it. Obviously, we are happy that we have home-court (advantage) back, but we're not happy with the split."

Nick Van Exel, who scored a playoff career-high 40 points on Saturday and had been averaging 32 points in the series, was held to five points - all in the fourth quarter - while All-Star Dirk Nowitzki was limited to 11.

"I thought both teams were very tired but I think they had more energy than we did, especially at the start of the game," Van Exel said. "Christie came out and energized them, taking the ball to the basket, attacking. That definitely got them going and then the crowd got into it. Both teams were definitely tired but they had more in the tank."

Nowitzki, who made only 4-of-14 shots, was ejected with 2:20 left for kicking a pile of Dallas warmup gear after picking up a technical foul.

"Peja was terrific on Nowitzki," said Adelman of Stojakovic, who had 39 points in Game Three. "Even though he didn't score like he did last night, he worked his tail off and made Nowitzki work."

Bell and Kings guard Bobby Jackson were ejected with 1:14 remaining for shoving each other after Bell was whistled for a foul trying to wrestle the ball free from Jackson.

"No punches thrown," Bell said. "Bobby Jackson and I basically hit each other off our chests. It was blown out of proportion."

Neither team shot well from the arc. Sacramento made only 3-of-21 and Dallas 3-of-20.

"They outplayed us tonight," Nelson said. "It was a hard back-to-back game for us as well as them, so I give them credit."

"We had a good balance, played a solid game all the way through," Adelman said. "That is what we had to do. Now it is an even series, and we have to go to Dallas and see if we can get a game there."