Same old Jazz
Stockton's heroics send Jazz, Kings to Game 5 in Utah
Posted: Saturday May 15, 1999 10:15 AM
Stockton hit a 23-foot jumper with seven-tenths of a second remaining as the not-yet-over-the-hill Jazz stayed alive in the NBA playoffs with a 90-89 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
Malone set a pick along the 3-point line, blocking off two defenders and freeing Stockton for the winning shot.
"We were going home for the summer if it didn't go in," Stockton said. "We hadn't had a lot of success with the pick and roll this whole series. They've defended it well. We had to figure out a way to make it work, and it came at a good time."
The victory evened the first-round series at two games apiece and sent it back to Salt Lake City for a decisive Game 5 on Sunday.
"He has a history of making big shots. He's done it his whole career and he did it tonight," Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "It's not over, it's not over. We have to find a way to win a game in Utah now."
Malone had 23 points, including a finger roll off a pass from Stockton with 14 seconds left, and added 16 rebounds. Shandon Anderson had eight of his 16 points in the final 90 seconds as the Jazz rallied.
Chris Webber had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings. Vlade Divac had five of his 14 points in the final 24 seconds, including two free throws with 7.2 seconds left that gave the Kings an 89-88 lead.
"There is no excuse why we let Utah walk out of here. Utah would not have let us back into the game," Webber said. "I'm disappointed that we let them back in it. No experienced team would have let them do that."
The Kings led 82-78 with 1:30 left, but Anderson hit a couple of 3-pointers and another shot to give Utah an 86-84 lead with 32 seconds remaining.
Divac spun on Malone in the lane to hit a layup and added a free throw to complete a three-point play and give the Kings an 87-86 lead with 24 seconds left.
Malone and Stockton then combined on one of their trademark pick-and-roll plays, with Stockton passing to Malone in the lane for the finger roll that gave Utah an 88-87 lead.
On the final shot, it again was the Malone-Stockton combination that made the difference. Malone set a pick that freed Stockton, who shot before Jason Williams could jump to challenge the veteran guard.
"It's a comfort zone," Malone said. "John has the ball and I'm setting the pick."
Even the Kings knew it was coming.
"We knew they would get the ball to John on the pick and roll," Divac said. "And if you ask me again in 10 years, they would do the same thing."
The game was close throughout.
The Kings led 44-43 at halftime, and Webber got his fourth foul just 37 seconds into the third quarter.
And then a series that has been brutally physical became even more chippy, with Stockton and Sacramento's Corliss Williamson slapping each other and Malone and Divac jawing at each other. Minutes later, Divac and Utah's Greg Ostertag picked up technicals for excessive roughness, and Utah's Jeff Hornacek and coach Jerry Sloan got technicals for barking at officials.
In between the Friday night fights, the Kings built a 65-56 lead with 3:27 left in the third period. But the Jazz scored the last eight points of the period, four by Malone, to close to 65-64 entering the fourth quarter.
The Kings opened the fourth period with baskets by Vernon Maxwell and Williamson and held the Jazz scoreless for 4:05 while taking a 69-64 lead. Sacramento still led 73-68 after Jon Barry's reverse layup with 5:43 remaining.
Malone hit consecutive shots and Anderson gave Utah a 74-73 lead on a layup with 4:25 left, but the Kings roared back.
Barry hit a 3-pointer with 2:52 left to give Sacramento a 78-76 lead, and Maxwell added another 3 to increase the margin to five points with 2:12 left.
Though the Kings tried to push the ball upcourt at every opportunity, the game lacked the frenetic start of Game 3 on Wednesday. Sacramento won Wednesday's game by going to a half-court offense in overtime, and focused on it again Friday.
It paid off as the Kings got Malone and Ostertag in foul trouble in the first half. Ostertag picked up his second foul just 5:40 into the game and did not return before halftime, while Malone got his third foul 5:23 before halftime when he slammed Webber to the court.
Maxwell hit two 3-pointers, bumping chests with teammate Scot Pollard to celebrate the second, as the Kings took a seven-point lead midway through the second period. But the Jazz responded with an 8-0 run and trailed just 44-43 at the half. Webber picked up his third foul 92 seconds before halftime.Notes: Arco Arena was filled with homemade signs, and perhaps the most 1999-appropriate was one that read: "Who Needs the Mailman When We've Got the Webb." ... The Kings are 1-4 in home playoff games since moving to Sacramento in 1985. ... In the 1998 playoffs, Utah trailed Houston 2-1 in the first round before winning at Houston and wrapping up the series at home. ... The Jazz have not lost a first-round playoff series since 1995.
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