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Peja's 37 too much for depleted Cavs

1/22/2004

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Already the NBA's best home team, Sacramento
wants to be Kings of the road, too.

Peja Stojakovic scored 27 of his 37 points in the second half
Thursday night as Sacramento opened its longest road trip of the
season with a 95-89 win over the undermanned Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Kings will play their next five away from Arco Arena, where
they have dominated in recent years and are a league-best 21-3 this
season.

Now, they want to make their out-of-town record (9-7) just as
impressive.

"It's tough to travel, make a long trip in the cold weather,"
said Kings guard Mike Bibby, who had a key assist in the final
minute. "But that's what you do in the NBA. You have to play
through those things. We did it tonight, and now we have to do it
all over again tomorrow (at Memphis)."

Stojakovic, on a tear of late, scored 20 in the third quarter
and the Kings held off the Cavs, who played their second straight
game without injured rookie LeBron James but nearly rallied from a
nine-point deficit in the final minutes.

Brad Miller had a key putback off a missed free throw with 57.5
seconds left as Sacramento became the first Western Conference team
to reach 30 wins.

Vlade Divac had 13 points, nine rebounds and nine assists and
Miller had 15 rebounds for the Kings, who have won 10 of 12 overall
and are 13-2 against Eastern Conference teams.

Dajuan Wagner had 20 points, and Carlos Boozer 15 with 11
rebounds for the Cavs.

Cleveland only dressed nine players and was again without James,
who still hasn't been able to run on his sprained right ankle.

The Cavs were also short-handed because Jeff McInnis and Ruben
Boumtje Boumtje, acquired Wednesday in a trade with Portland for
Darius Miles, hadn't had their physicals yet.

"We're wounded, but we showed we can play with them," Cavs
guard Kevin Ollie said. "We showed a lot of heart."

Sure enough, Cleveland was within 89-87 with 1:13 remaining when
Wagner made two free throws.

Divac missed a free throw -- he clanked his last four from the
line -- with 57.5 seconds to go, but Miller made the play of the
game by smartly sneaking behind Boozer on the baseline to grab the
rebound and score while being fouled.

He missed the free throw, but had already done his damage.

"I can't give all my tricks away," Miller said with a laugh of
his veteran move. "I fooled them with my blazing quickness."

Kings coach Rick Adelman knew how important Miller's play was.

"It was huge," he said. "We usually don't get the offensive
boards, but maybe our time was due. That was an enormous play. If
he doesn't make that play, who knows what happens."

Boozer hit two foul shots to make it 91-89, but Bibby penetrated
in the lane and made a nice pass underneath to Divac, whose layup
sealed it with 24.7 seconds to play.

"We did a good job down the stretch moving the ball,"
Stojakovic said. "We played with the game on the line."

Ollie, who is losing his starting job to McInnis, had nine
points, nine assists and matched a career high with 10 rebounds for
Cleveland.

After scoring just 10 points -- all in a 1:29 span of the opening
quarter -- in the first half, Stojakovic hit all four of his
3-pointers and converted two three-point plays in the third as the
Kings opened an eight-point lead.

The Kings shot 74 percent (14-of-19) in the quarter and made
five of six 3s.

"We don't worry about our offense," Divac said. "We can
score. When we play defense and move the ball around, good things
happen."

Sacramento, which shot a season-low 33 percent in a loss on
Tuesday to Portland, started out hot from the floor. But the Kings
went just 1-for-15 during a stretch of the second quarter that
allowed the Cavs to build a six-point lead.

But Bibby hit two free throws and drained a 3-pointer as the
Kings tied it at 41 by halftime.

Game notes
James was walking better and said he hopes to play Saturday
against Philadelphia. "When it feels better, I'll play," he said.
"You can't learn too much sitting on the sidelines. I'd rather be
in there." ... McInnis and Boumtje Boumtje arrived during the game
and are expected to practice Friday. Cleveland coach Paul Silas
said McInnis will start against the 76ers, and that's fine with the
seven-year veteran, whose arrival will free James of his point
guard duties. "I've been playing and I'm ready," McInnis said.
"They want me to handle the ball. That's fine with me." ... The
Kings came in ranked first in the league in scoring, field-goal
percentage and assists. They're No. 2 in free-throw percentage.