Dallas wins series 4-3 (Game 6 of 7)

Dallas wins series 4-3

Game 1: Tuesday, May 6th
Game 2: Thursday, May 8th
Game 3: Saturday, May 10th
Game 4: Sunday, May 11th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 13th
Game 6: Thursday, May 15th
Game 7: Saturday, May 17th

Mavericks 109


Kings 115

(59-23, 35-6 home)

    7:30 PM ET, May 15, 2003

    Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    DAL 24 28 35 22109
    SAC 21 36 32 26115

    Top Performers

    Dallas: N. Van Exel 35 Pts, 2 Reb, 3 Ast

    Sacramento: D. Christie 20 Pts, 9 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Kings-Mavs' offensive show going 7

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Doug Christie's only flaw was a missed free throw in the first quarter -- the only one for the Sacramento Kings on a night when their margin for error was minuscule.

    Christie simply would not let the Sacramento Kings be eliminated in Arco Arena -- even with Nick Van Exel almost singlehandedly trying to put Dallas into the conference finals.

    Christie had 20 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a steal to lead the Kings to a 115-109 victory over the Mavericks on Thursday night, evening their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series at 3-3.

    "I was blessed with some ability and my job is to make this team go, whatever way,'' Christie said. "I was just very focused and tried to do anything and everything I could.''

    Peja Stojakovic had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, who played their fourth game in the series without injured star Chris Webber. Sacramento overcame a sluggish first quarter and converted 31 of 32 free throws, including 31 straight after Christie's miss.

    "That was it, luckily,'' Christie said, smiling.

    Kings coach Rick Adelman threw his arm up in the air in excitement during the final seconds. Game 7 is Saturday night in Dallas.

    The Mavs remain one win away from their second trip to the conference finals, while the Kings' quest for the franchise's first title in 52 years is still alive.

    Van Exel scored 35 points on 15-for-23 shooting in 37 minutes, and the Kings had no one who could guard him. He leapt high for a rebound and scored on a putback with 8:16 left for a 95-94 lead, but the Mavs then didn't make another basket for 5:05.

    "We had a great advantage up 3-2,'' he said. "We needed to take care of this tonight. We let it slip away. Nick had a good game with an L (loss).''

    Dirk Nowitzki added 21 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas, while Michael Finley had 21 points, seven boards and four assists.

    Reserves Bobby Jackson and Jim Jackson had 21 and 16 points, respectively, for the Kings.

    Dallas, eliminated in five games by Sacramento last season, did not want to go the distance in this series after being pushed to the limit by Portland in the first round.

    Webber limped helplessly around the sidelines in his designer duds and watched nervously from the edge of his seat, popping his bubble gum anxiously.

    "I'm always nervous when I'm not playing,'' he said. "It was hard, but I knew we were going to win.''

    His supporting cast came through just fine, with Christie again setting the tone early -- hustling for loose balls, going hard to the glass and making big baskets. At one point in the third period, Christie gathered his crew together for a pep talk, then scored six straight points and six of his team's eight during a 10-3 run spanning two minutes in which Dallas was limited to three free throws.

    He'd scored a combined 34 points in his previous two games.

    The deafening crowd of 17,317 became more raucous in the second half. The Kings sold out for the 178th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the league.

    Walt Williams missed a go-ahead 3-pointer with 12 seconds left, and Bobby Jackson made two free throws on the other end to ice the victory.

    It was an impressive show by the teams' sixth men -- Bobby Jackson and Van Exel, who practically traded baskets the entire second quarter.

    Jackson came off the bench to score nine straight in the second, including a steal and layup with 4:47 left for a 44-37 lead. Jim Jackson also made some clutch hoops, scoring 10 in the period as the Kings took a 57-52 halftime lead.

    Van Exel had 17, making all three of his 3-point tries in the half.

    Adelman was desperate to see his Kings play well for all 48 minutes after they blew an early lead in Game 5 with an atrocious third quarter, shooting 3-for-25. Their 10 points were the fewest ever by a Dallas opponent in a postseason quarter.

    The Mavs got better production from Nowitzki, Finley and Steve Nash, who shot just 16-for-55 for 38 points in Game 4 here, but they allowed the Kings 15 offensive rebounds.

    Nash didn't score Thursday until 5:58 before halftime and finished with 15.

    Mavs coach Don Nelson was able to block out the noise -- his best friend and golfing buddy in Maui, Jim Sanders, mailed him a fancy, $13 pair of earplugs, an upgrade from the "cheapies'' he'd used in the first two games of the series here.

    "They're the ones the entertainers wear,'' Nelson pointed out.

    One fan held a sign reading, "Never ? the heart of a King.'' Another group each held up a letter to spell "B-E-L-I-E-V-E.'' And the clanging cowbells were out in force, too.

    Webber, the Kings' leader in scoring, rebounding and assists, tore cartilage in his left knee in Game 2 and the injury will require arthroscopic surgery that will keep him out at least four-to-six weeks.

    But Webber put off the procedure, hoping to possibly play again this season if the Kings reach the NBA Finals.

    Game notes
    Commissioner David Stern opted to attend Game 6 of the Mavs-Kings rather than go to L.A. for the Spurs-Lakers, where the three-time defending champions were eliminated. "You know what? I've been to L.A. already this year and I haven't been to Sacramento,'' Stern said. "I wanted to be here.'' Stern was booed when he was announced during the game. ... Vlade Divac didn't have a rebound in the first half.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 109 115
    FGM-FGA 40-82 (.488) 39-94 (.415)
    3PM-3PA 10-26 (.385) 6-17 (.353)
    FTM-FTA 19-22 (.864) 31-32 (.969)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-38 15-47
    Assists 16 18
    Turnovers 15 11
    Steals 4 8
    Blocks 9 3
    Fast Break Points 6 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 16 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Nick Van Exel Van Exel
    Points: 35
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Doug Christie Christie
    Points: 20
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 2