Kings keep cool
Two ejections, many bricks doom Mavs in Game 4Posted: Monday May 12, 2003 1:24 AM
Updated: Monday May 12, 2003 3:15 AM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Doug Christie scurried across the court to greet his wife, Jackie, whom he'd promised a victory.
"He told me, `I love you and I told you we would do it,"' she said moments later.
Christie had 13 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as the Sacramento Kings calmly executed their game plan and evened their second-round series 2-2 by beating the Dallas Mavericks 99-83 on Sunday night.
Christie's wife had made him a soothing seaweed bath after the Kings' double-overtime loss Saturday. He sends her love signals throughout every game.
"After the double-overtime game, I had a feeling both teams would be a little fatigued," Christie said. "I took care of myself last night. My wife made me a bath, I stretched for a while and I slept today."
With their best player on the bench, Christie established the energy early, and it rubbed off on his teammates. All five Sacramento starters scored in double figures and six players reached the mark in all, including Webber's replacement in the starting lineup, Hedo Turkoglu, who had 17 points.
There was no panic by the Kings, who played on consecutive nights in the playoffs for the first time in the team's history in Sacramento. The game tipped off just under 22 hours after the Mavericks' dramatic 141-137 double-overtime win in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Game 5 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday in Dallas.
"This has the makings of a long series," Dallas guard Steve Nash said.
Vlade Divac added 16 points and nine rebounds, and the fun-loving Kings were suddenly themselves again -- smiling as they walked off the court during timeouts and patting each other on the back of the head.
The Mavericks averaged 128.7 points through the first three games of the series, but they never got in sync against the Kings' pressure defense -- the biggest difference in the outcome.
Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki, who was averaging 27.6 points in the postseason, was held to 11, and was ejected with 2:20 left for kicking a pile of towels after being whistled for a technical.
After that, the game got heated again. Bobby Jackson and Raja Bell both were tossed with 1:14 to go after shoving each other at midcourt.
"It wasn't frustration," Bell said. "We were going for the ball and I fouled him. He didn't like the foul and shoved me. I smacked his hand off. It could have ended there, but Hedo came in and shoved me in the chest."
Michael Finley and Bell each scored 16 points to lead Dallas, but the Mavs couldn't count on the players who came through in the clutch a night earlier.
Dallas shot just 0-for-9 from 3-point range in the first half and finished 8-of-15, a night after making 19 of 42, an NBA playoff record for attempts.
Perhaps Nowitzki was feeling the effects from Saturday -- he played all 58 minutes and had 25 points and 20 rebounds -- and maybe Nick Van Exel was tired, too.
Nowitzki didn't score Sunday night until a free throw with 3:18 left in the first quarter, and it was his only point of the half. He started 0-for-6 from the field before making his first basket on a jumper 22 seconds into the third.
Van Exel, who scored a career playoff-high 40 Saturday night, was held scoreless through three quarters and finished with five points on 2-for-11 shooting. He had 36 in Game 2.
"When you play like I did the last two games, your expectations are high," Van Exel said. "The only way is down."
Sacramento played its second game without Webber, the Kings' leader in scoring, rebounding and assists. He probably is out for the rest of the playoffs with a knee injury.
Webber watched from the edge of his seat behind the bench. His teammates are still holding out hope he'll return this season.
The Mavs' struggles showed on their faces. On Saturday night, their shots were falling. Nowitzki was frustrated early.
In the second quarter, he saved the ball on a rebound and tipped it to Finley, but the ball bounced off Finley's head and out of bounds. Nowitzki gave a sour look. He was called for an over-the-back foul the next time down the court.
Sacramento extended its big lead to 61-43 on a three-point play by Peja Stojakovic in the third quarter. Divac also had a three-point play early in the period.
The Kings built a 46-32 lead on a layup by Stojakovic 3:21 before halftime that followed a baseline 3-pointer by Jackson, and the Kings led big the rest of the way.
The Kings shot 48.9 percent in the first half, getting 30 points in the paint and 10 in the fast break to only two for Dallas. The Mavericks managed only 16 first-half field goals on 35-percent shooting.
Sacramento still believes it can win the NBA championship.
"We have always felt confident, even after losing Chris," coach Rick Adelman said. "We have the type of people who can step up and win."
Notes: Mavs owner Mark Cuban stayed up to watch the replay of Game 3 on ESPN, going to bed around 4 a.m. Sunday. "Oh my God, you just hope they make it an ESPN Classic and show it over and over again," he said. "Anybody who thinks the game isn't as good, the shooting isn't as good and the defense isn't as good as it was in the mid-'80s, it is." ... Bell was in the starting lineup because Adrian Griffin sprained his right ankle in Game 3. ... The Kings sold out Arco Arena for the 177th straight time, the longest active streak in the league.