SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The Sacramento Kings played San Antonio twice
this week -- the first time with Peja Stojakovic, the second without
him. The Kings lost both times, but on Thursday they were more
competitive minus their No. 2 scorer.
Stojakovic, averaging 20.3 points, sat out with back spasms. The
Kings lost the previous meeting by 30 points.
"We are not happy just because it was closer," Sacramento's
Chris Webber said. "A loss is a loss."
The Kings cut San Antonio's lead to 78-77 when Webber stole the
ball and passed to Brad Miller for a layup with 5:06 left.
The Spurs then went on an 8-0 run as Robert Horry made three
free throws, Bruce Bowen hit a 3-pointer and Duncan worked inside
for a layup over Miller.
Sacramento missed nine of its last 10 shots after Miller's
"The only way we are going to win this game is to play good
(defense)," Horry said. "We were very fortunate that we contested
shots and they missed those shots."
Bowen finished with 14 points, 10 of them in the second half.
Tony Parker finished with 12 points, and Duncan had 12 rebounds.
"We didn't play our best basketball," Duncan said. "We gave
them too many opportunities to get back in the game."
Miller scored 19 points, Mike Bibby 17 and Webber 16 for
Sacramento, which trailed by double digits several times. Matt
Barnes, starting in place of Stojakovic, had eight points on
Kings coach Rick Adelman said his team held its own, but that
San Antonio executed better down the stretch.
"Obviously they are the best team in the league right now,"
Adelman said. "They hurt us getting to the basket -- Parker in the
first half and then Ginobili in the second half."
Parker had a hand in 10 of the Spurs' first 12 baskets, scoring
four of them and recording assists on six others. San Antonio fed
off Parker's ability to penetrate in building a 23-11 lead with
4:49 left in the first quarter.
Sacramento shot 5-for-8 to finish the first quarter and then
made its first five of the second quarter to take its only lead of
the game, 35-34.
On the go-ahead basket, Miller hit Darius Songaila with a long
toss for a breakaway dunk while Malik Rose, assigned to defend
Songaila, was hiding his face in his jersey after a turnover.
The Spurs regained the lead with a 13-2 run beginning with a
16-foot jumper by Ginobili, who ended the half with 17 points on
Jerry Reynolds, Sacramento's director of player personnel,
said Stojakovic's back has been bothering him recently, but he is
expected back in the lineup when the Kings play in Houston on
Friday night. ... Duncan will be soon be found in the cereal aisle
on a new Wheaties box unveiled at halftime. ... San Antonio won the
season series, 3-1. ... The Kings play 14 of their next 19 games on
the road. ... Sacramento had 22 assists, 14 more than in Sunday's