SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 15 (Ticker) -- Bobby Jackson
the chance to run the Sacramento Kings' offense in the biggest
game of the season.
NBA TV highlights from|
Nestlé Crunch Time:
Jackson scored nine of his 21 points in the fourth quarter as
the Kings forced a decisive game with a 115-109 victory in Game
6 of their Western Conference semifinal series against the
Dallas Mavericks, who wasted a 35-point effort by Nick Van Exel.
After being named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year, Jackson has
become one of the most consistent playmakers in the postseason
for Sacramento. With the Kings' season hanging in the balance,
it was Jackson at point guard instead of Mike Bibby
, who was on the bench for the game's final 13:54.
"I play the guy who is doing well," Sacramento coach Rick
Adelman said. "It had nothing to do with Mike Bibby or anything
else. People make an issue of a guy who isn't in the game. If I
needed Mike back in the game, I would have brought him back in."
Dallas scored six straight points to take a 95-94 lead on Van
Exel's jumper with 8:15 remaining. But Sacramento responded with
nine consecutive points, taking the lead for good on Jim
free throws with 7:54 to go.
, who scored 24 points, made a three-pointer and
layup. Jim Jackson followed a miss by Stojakovic to cap the
burst and give the Kings a 103-95 edge at the 4:37 mark.
The teams traded free throws before Bobby Jackson made an
acrobatic runner with 2:48 to go. He buried two free throws for
a 111-103 edge with 91 seconds left.
Dallas' Steve Nash
sank consecutive three-pointers to make it
111-109, but Walt Williams
missed a potential go-ahead three-pointer with 11 seconds left.
Bobby Jackson and Jim Jackson each made a pair of free throws in
the final 8.5 seconds. The Kings, who were shooting only 75
percent from the line in the postseason, made 31-of-32 free
throws, including 12-of-12 in the fourth.
"We're a pretty good free-throw shooting team," Adelman said.
"Some guys struggle. That's all part of winning close games.
You've got to make those."
"Tonight just showed that free throws win games" said Kings
center Vlade Divac
, who scored 21 points. "We didn't make free
throws in Game 3 and we lost that game. Tonight we really
shot the ball well from the line and the final result shows
collected 20 points, nine rebounds and six
assists and Jim Jackson added 16 points and 12 rebounds for
Sacramento, which scored 58 points in the paint and held a
47-38 rebounding advantage, including 15 offensive boards.
"We played really hard, maybe not smart or pretty like we're
used to, but it was Game 6 and our backs were against the
wall," Divac said. "We had an advantage inside and tried to
Van Exel continued his spectacular series, making 15-of-23
shots off the bench, including 5-of-11 3-pointers. He scored
18 points on 8-of-15 shooting in the second half but was held
to six points and missed all three of his three-pointers in the
"He has been my best player in the playoffs," Dallas coach Don
Nelson said. "I love the guy, he is able to raise the level of
his play under fierce competition and not many are able to do
"A guy can't play any better than Nick played," said Nash, who
had 15 points. "He's doing an unbelievable job for us and the
rest of us need to pick it up and give him help sometimes."
collected 21 points and 12 rebounds and Michael
added 21 points as the Mavericks failed to advance to the
Western Conference finals for the first time in 15 years.
"I was really proud of the way we battled," Nelson said. "We
didn't play well enough to win, but I thought if we had gotten a
little luck maybe we could have stolen one."
"We've got to be hungry," Van Exel said. "They were hungrier
tonight than we were. We can't be relying on the home-court
advantage. We've got to be hungry because they're hungry."
Dallas will have another chance to end the series in Game 7
at American Airlines Center on Sunday.
Finley and Raef LaFrentz
each scored four points in the opening
6:10 as the Mavs jumped out to their largest lead at 13-4.
"We knew it was going to be important to get off to a decent
start against this team," LaFrentz said. "We didn't want to fall
into a deep hole, especially with them at home."
But the Kings scored 10 of the next 12 points and pulled within
15-14 on Stojakovic's three-pointer with 3:31 left.
LaFrentz scored seven of his 15 points in the first quarter and
Dallas had a 24-21 edge entering the second. Jim Jackson opened
the period with consecutive baskets to give Sacramento its first
lead with 11:12 remaining.
The teams were tied twice and exchanged the lead seven times in
the second quarter. Bobby Jackson buried a three-pointer with two
minutes left for a 49-46 lead and the Kings did not relinquish
the lead until the fourth quarter.