Sacramento wins series 4-1 (Game 2 of 5)

Sacramento wins series 4-1

Game 1: Saturday, April 19th
Game 2: Monday, April 21st
Game 3: Saturday, April 26th
Game 4: Monday, April 28th
Game 5: Wednesday, April 30th

Jazz 95


Kings 108

(59-23, 35-6 home)

    Coverage: KXTV

    7:30 PM ET, April 21, 2003

    Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    UTAH 22 20 22 3195
    SAC 25 32 25 26108

    Top Performers

    Utah: A. Kirilenko 17 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 Blk

    Sacramento: P. Stojakovic 29 Pts, 5 Reb, 3 Ast

    Webber forced to leave game with strained back

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- In most of their 19 home playoff games over the past five years, the Sacramento Kings have seemed just as unnerved by their loud crowd as their opponents did.

    Chris Webber

    Chris Webber left the game in the second quarter after straining his lower back.

    But the Kings' trepidation went away in Game 2 of their first-round series with Utah on Monday night -- and that might be even more discouraging to the Jazz than the Kings' 108-95 victory.

    Peja Stojakovic, a frequent victim of the postseason jitters, scored 29 points as the Kings roared to a 25-point lead early in the fourth quarter. A late Utah rally narrowed the final gap, but the Kings never gave their deafening fans much reason to doubt.

    For the first time since they began their string of five straight playoff appearances in 1999, Sacramento took a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series.

    "We finally did it. We finally won the games we were supposed to,'' said forward Scot Pollard, who had eight points and six rebounds. "We're stepping on them right now. We want to squish them. We want to step on them and squish them so they get no breath.''

    The Kings played at their favorite tempo: all-out aggression. They did it mostly without leading scorer and rebounder Chris Webber, who went to the locker room early in the fourth quarter with a strained lower back.

    He will undergo a precautionary MRI exam Tuesday and his status for Saturday's Game 3 in Salt Lake City was uncertain.

    Vlade Divac had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Bobby Jackson had 15 points and six assists for the Kings, who handed the seventh-seeded Jazz their fourth straight playoff defeat.

    "They made it look like a playoff game,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "We made it look like the end of a seven-game road trip. We looked like a tired team playing against a team that wants to go further into the playoffs.''

    Though Sacramento has won 15 of the teams' last 17 meetings, including three of four in their first-round series last spring, Utah has kept almost every game close by forcing the run-and-gun Kings to play at the Jazz's deliberate pace.

    Not in Game 2. The Kings were the aggressors all night, eventually running the Jazz off the court with a slick fastbreak and proficient shooting.

    "We really wanted to push the start of the game,'' Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "We wanted to be the aggressors. We played with more authority from the start. We were extremely aggressive, and we've got to keep playing that way.''

    Karl Malone scored 15 points for the Jazz, who have four days off before Game 3 on Saturday at the Delta Center, where Sacramento has won eight straight. Game 4 is Monday.

    Over the first three quarters, Sacramento barely even had lulls in its offensive flow against Utah's defense. The Pacific Division champions made 10 of their first 12 shots as Arco Arena reached deafening levels.

    Mike Bibby had 10 points for the Kings, who made a 22-6 run in the second quarter and took a 19-point lead despite losing Webber. The Jazz couldn't get back on their game until the fourth.

    "We aren't going to beat this team playing soft,'' Utah guard Mark Jackson said. "We let them do what they wanted to do. We need to play with force.''

    Webber had eight points when he came down awkwardly while battling Greg Ostertag for a rebound in the opening minute of the second quarter. Webber fouled Ostertag and immediately limped to the locker room. Adelman said the injury "isn't very serious,'' but Webber will have a precautionary MRI exam Tuesday.

    Andrei Kirilenko had another strong game for the Jazz, scoring 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. Matt Harpring had 14 points, while John Stockton was held to eight points and two assists in 21 minutes.

    Late in the third quarter, Sloan removed Malone and Ostertag for good. The Kings scored 10 straight points early in the fourth quarter, taking a 92-67 lead on Jim Jackson's long jumper.

    Stojakovic, a two-time All-Star, missed most of the final two rounds of last season's playoffs with a sprained ankle. He's particularly anxious to add postseason success to his credentials this season, and he shredded Utah's defense for drives and 3-pointers, shooting 10-for-16.

    "In the first game, we were nervous,'' Stojakovic said. "Tonight, we really moved the ball and found open guys. When you're playing against such an experienced team, you get worried about your defense on Stockton and Malone. Tonight, we played beyond that.''

    The Jazz played without reserve guard DeShawn Stevenson, who was sent home after getting into an argument with Sloan at Sunday's practice.

    Stevenson, who has griped about playing time this season, played just one minute in Game 1. He might be finished with the Jazz, who drafted him out of high school three years ago.

    Game notes

    Nate "Tiny'' Archibald, the former Kansas City Kings superstar whose number is retired at Arco Arena, attended the game. ... The Kings have won six straight regular-season games in Salt Lake City, and they won there twice in the first round of the playoffs last season. ... The Jazz have lost the opening game of a best-of-seven series nine times. The previous eight times it happened, they lost the series. ... For the second straight game, the Jazz players didn't visit the postgame interview room, as required by the NBA.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 95 108
    FGM-FGA 35-77 (.455) 44-82 (.537)
    3PM-3PA 4-14 (.286) 4-14 (.286)
    FTM-FTA 21-25 (.840) 16-21 (.762)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-34 15-38
    Assists 20 27
    Turnovers 16 14
    Steals 10 8
    Blocks 5 3
    Fast Break Points 2 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/1) 20 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Andrei Kirilenko Kirilenko
    Points: 17
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 3
    Peja Stojakovic Stojakovic
    Points: 29
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0