SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 19 (Ticker) --
With the seventh seed still
attainable in the Western Conference standings, the Sacramento
Kings handled their business in their regular-season finale.
scored 23 points and Mike Bibby
added 21 as the Kings posted a 111-105 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics.
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collected 17 points, 18 rebounds and seven assists
and Kevin Martin
scored 17 points for Sacramento (44-38), which
will finish seventh if the Los Angeles Lakers (44-37) lose to
the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets on Wednesday.
"To get to 44 wins from where we came from is pretty good,"
Kings coach Rick Adelman
said. "It's a good way to finish it
off. In the fourth quarter, I really give the guys credit, they
turned the whole thing around when Jason Hart
, Kevin Martin
, and Shareef (Abdur-Rahim)
In a close game, the Kings moved in front for good, 103-101, on
two free throws by Wells with 4:03 remaining.
After Ray Allen
split a pair of free throws on the Sonics'
ensuing possession, Abdur-Rahim made a steal which led to a dunk
by Thomas, giving the Kings a 105-102 lead with 3:15 to go.
"I'm just happy that we're going to the playoffs," said Thomas,
who set his season high in rebounds. "I don't care (who we
play). San Antonio is more of a disciplined team and Phoenix
likes to get out and run more. If I had a choice, I'd rather
play Phoenix, but it looks like right now we're playing San
Antonio. We've just got to go down and get one of those
(games), if not both."
Wells sank 1-of-2 foul shots and Thomas made a steal and
converted a breakaway jam for a 108-102 cushion with 1:59 left.
Sacramento won 17 of its final 20 games at ARCO Arena following
a 9-11 start here despite a season-low three points from Ron Artest
, who shot just 1-of-11 from the field.
"(Our) confidence is very high," said Martin, who hit 7-of-9 shots to bounce back
from a recent slump. "The way we had to play the last 2½ months to get an eighth or a seventh spot, right now we feel
like we can play with anybody."
Allen scored 26 points and Nick Collison
and Rashard Lewis
20 apiece for the Sonics (34-47), who host Denver in their
season finale Wednesday.
"In the second half I think we kind of dug ourselves into a
hole," Collison said. "It wasn't a deep hole, but it was
finished with 14 points and a career-high 15
assists for Seattle, which dropped three of four meetings
against the Kings this season.