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Kings rebound from tough loss to even series

5/12/2003

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Doug Christie scurried across the
court to greet his wife, Jackie, whom he'd promised a victory.

"He told me, 'I love you and I told you we would do it,''' she
said moments later.

Christie had 13 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as the
Sacramento Kings calmly executed their game plan and evened their
second-round series 2-2 by beating the Dallas Mavericks 99-83 on
Sunday night.

Christie's wife had made him a soothing seaweed bath after the
Kings' double-overtime loss Saturday. He sends her love signals
throughout every game.

"After the double-overtime game, I had a feeling both teams
would be a little fatigued,'' Christie said. "I took care of
myself last night. My wife made me a bath, I stretched for a while
and I slept today.''

These Kings showed they are good enough to win without Chris Webber.

With their best player on the bench, Christie established the
energy early, and it rubbed off on his teammates. All five
Sacramento starters scored in double figures and six players
reached the mark in all, including Webber's replacement in the
starting lineup, Hedo Turkoglu, who had 17 points.

There was no panic by the Kings, who played on consecutive
nights in the playoffs for the first time in the team's history in
Sacramento. The game tipped off just under 22 hours after the
Mavericks' dramatic 141-137 double-overtime win in Game 3 of the
Western Conference semifinals.

Game 5 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday in Dallas.

"This has the makings of a long series,'' Dallas guard Steve Nash said.

Vlade Divac added 16 points and nine rebounds, and the
fun-loving Kings were suddenly themselves again -- smiling as they
walked off the court during timeouts and patting each other on the
back of the head.

The Mavericks averaged 128.7 points through the first three
games of the series, but they never got in sync against the Kings'
pressure defense -- the biggest difference in the outcome.

Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki, who was averaging 27.6 points in the
postseason, was held to 11, and was ejected with 2:20 left for
kicking a pile of towels after being whistled for a technical.

After that, the game got heated again. Bobby Jackson and Raja
Bell both were tossed with 1:14 to go after shoving each other at
midcourt.

"It wasn't frustration,'' Bell said. "We were going for the
ball and I fouled him. He didn't like the foul and shoved me. I
smacked his hand off. It could have ended there, but Hedo came in
and shoved me in the chest.''

Michael Finley and Bell each scored 16 points to lead Dallas,
but the Mavs couldn't count on the players who came through in the
clutch a night earlier.

Dallas shot just 0-for-9 from 3-point range in the first half
and finished 8-of-15, a night after making 19 of 42, an NBA playoff
record for attempts.

Perhaps Nowitzki was feeling the effects from Saturday -- he
played all 58 minutes and had 25 points and 20 rebounds -- and maybe
Nick Van Exel was tired, too.

Nowitzki didn't score Sunday night until a free throw with 3:18
left in the first quarter, and it was his only point of the half.
He started 0-for-6 from the field before making his first basket on
a jumper 22 seconds into the third.

Van Exel, who scored a career playoff-high 40 Saturday night,
was held scoreless through three quarters and finished with five
points on 2-for-11 shooting. He had 36 in Game 2.

"When you play like I did the last two games, your expectations
are high,'' Van Exel said. "The only way is down.''

Sacramento played its second game without Webber, the Kings'
leader in scoring, rebounding and assists. He probably is out for
the rest of the playoffs with a knee injury.

Webber watched from the edge of his seat behind the bench. His
teammates are still holding out hope he'll return this season.

The Mavs' struggles showed on their faces. On Saturday night,
their shots were falling. Nowitzki was frustrated early.

In the second quarter, he saved the ball on a rebound and tipped
it to Finley, but the ball bounced off Finley's head and out of
bounds. Nowitzki gave a sour look. He was called for an
over-the-back foul the next time down the court.

Sacramento extended its big lead to 61-43 on a three-point play
by Peja Stojakovic in the third quarter. Divac also had a
three-point play early in the period.

The Kings built a 46-32 lead on a layup by Stojakovic 3:21
before halftime that followed a baseline 3-pointer by Jackson, and
the Kings led big the rest of the way.

The Kings shot 48.9 percent in the first half, getting 30 points
in the paint and 10 in the fast break to only two for Dallas. The
Mavericks managed only 16 first-half field goals on 35-percent
shooting.

Sacramento still believes it can win the NBA championship.

"We have always felt confident, even after losing Chris,''
coach Rick Adelman said. "We have the type of people who can step
up and win.''

Game notes
Mavs owner Mark Cuban stayed up to watch the replay of Game
3 on ESPN, going to bed around 4 a.m. Sunday. "Oh my God, you just
hope they make it an ESPN Classic and show it over and over
again,'' he said. "Anybody who thinks the game isn't as good, the
shooting isn't as good and the defense isn't as good as it was in
the mid-'80s, it is.'' ... Bell was in the starting lineup because
Adrian Griffin sprained his right ankle in Game 3. ... The Kings
sold out Arco Arena for the 177th straight time, the longest active
streak in the league.