NBA Finals NBA Finals


Stojakovic in uniform, but doesn't start

Posted: Tuesday May 28, 2002 9:34 PM
Updated: Wednesday May 29, 2002 12:42 AM
  Peja Stojakovic Peja Stojakovic attempted just one field goal in the first half. Rocky Widner/NBAE/
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- All-Star forward Peja Stojakovic played for the Sacramento Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

Stojakovic, the Kings' second-leading scorer during the regular season, missed Sacramento's previous six playoff games after spraining his ankle during the conference semifinals against Dallas.

Hedo Turkoglu remained in Stojakovic's spot in the starting lineup, but Stojakovic was in uniform for the first time in 19 days.

He went to the scorer's table to check in with 3:30 left in the first quarter, prompting a standing ovation from the Arco Arena crowd before he even stepped on the court. He got a second standing ovation when he checked in with 2:45 left.

Stojakovic averaged 18.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in the Kings' earlier playoff games. He averaged 21.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in the regular season and earned his first trip to the All-Star game, where he won the 3-point shooting contest.

On Monday, Kings coach Rick Adelman said Stojakovic was doubtful for Game 5, but the forward apparently changed his coach's mind during an extensive workout early Tuesday.

Stojakovic shot for about 10 minutes before the game, moving slowly but easily on his injured ankle. He was unable to run at full speed until 3-to-5 days ago, Adelman said.

"I feel good," Stojakovic said. "I'm ready to go."

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