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Updated: Sunday, December 8, 2002 11:31 PM EST
NBA RECAP
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Sacramento 104, San Antonio 80
SACRAMENTO KINGS
Sacramento Kings
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SAN ANTONIO SPURS
San Antonio Spurs
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SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Every time the Sacramento Kings have a player go down, another player steps up.

Doug Christie had a terrific all-around game with 16 points, nine assists and eight steals as the shorthanded Kings outclassed the San Antonio Spurs, 104-80, for their sixth straight win.

Despite being limited to eight healthy players, including three not with the team last season, Sacramento tied an NBA record for fewest turnovers in a game, committing only three.

The Kings are 18-5, just 1 1/2 games behind Dallas for the league's best record.

"Even though we have eight guys, they all played great defensively and just made a lot of good decisions with the ball," Kings coach Rick Adelman said.

"I really think that with the limited numbers that we have, everyone's in the gym early, we're all really working, we know that when we step out on the floor, all we have is each other," Christie said. "We're just playing really hard basketball; that's the bottom line."

Guard Mike Bibby, swingman Hedo Turkoglu, forwards Peja Stojakovic and Lawrence Funderburke and forward-center Scot Pollard all have missed large chunks of the season with injuries.

On Sunday, the Kings had to begin the second half without All-Star forward Chris Webber, who hurt his left wrist bad enough to have X-rays.

That was no problem for Christie, who sparked Sacramento with his playmaking and defense. He helped facilitate the offense, which had five players score at least 16 points.

On defense, Christie played the passing lanes on defense and repeatedly turned steals into easy buckets at the other end. The Kings enjoyed a 27-8 edge in fast-break points and ran away from the slower Spurs in the second half.

"We're just trying to be active," Christie said. "Everybody's getting their hands in there, getting the loose balls and picking them up. We were trying to get into the key and out of the key, make them think a little bit instead of letting them get it and turn around and make their shots."

The Kings became the fourth team to commit just three turnovers and the first since Toronto on January 16, 2001. The Spurs became the 17th team to fail to register at least one steal in a game.

Despite his injury, Webber collected 23 points and 13 rebounds as he outplayed NBA MVP Tim Duncan. Jimmy Jackson - signed last week to help fill out the roster - also scored 23 points for the Kings, who shot 52 percent (46-of-88) from the field.

"We were up for the challenge tonight to play San Antonio," Webber said. "They have great players, but we wanted to come in and prove that we're one of the elite teams, so it was a big win for us."

"(Jackson) really is giving us a lift off the bench," Adelman said. "He is giving us quality and just knows how to get the job done. Playing without Mike and our other guys, it just makes things a lot better to know that you can count on a guy to come in and give you solid minutes."

Duncan had 16 points and 13 rebounds but was the only San Antonio starter to score in double figures. The Spurs have lost five of their last eight games and host Dallas on Wednesday.

"They did a great job hanging out in the lane and getting their hands on the basketball," Duncan said. "Especailly Doug Christie, he just sort of hung out, not covering anybody in particular, picking off passes and cutting off lanes."

The Kings were nursing a 38-36 lead midway through the second period before using a 10-2 run to open a 10-point lead. Vlade Divac scored the first two baskets and Christie fed a fast-breaking Bobby Jackson for the last two.

Earlier in the period, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was given a technical foul for arguing a non-call against Webber. As his team went to intermission with a 50-44 deficit, Popovich began screaming at referee Bob Delaney and was ejected. He had to be restrained by Spurs players and coaches.

If Popovich's plan was to fire up his team, it didn't work. Christie and Bobby Jackson scored six points each in a 14-4 surge that opened the second half and gave the Kings a 64-48 lead.

"They hurt us a lot with steals in the first half and that led to a lot of layups and easy baskets; you can't give that away," Spurs center David Robinson said. "We talked about that at the half and we knew we had to change that. It was a little disheartening then to come out in the third and give up three easy baskets the same way right away."

Sacramento held a 79-65 lead entering the final period, and Jimmy Jackson scored seven quick points, including a layup off a steal by Christie to push the advantage to 89-70 with 9:08 to go.

Christie made another 3-pointer and a steal that led to a thunderous fast-break dunk by Keon Clark that gave the Kings their largest lead at 96-72 with 7:13 to play.

Bobby Jackson scored 18 points and Divac added 16 for Sacramento, which has won four of the last five meetings between the clubs.

Kevin Willis and Stephen Jackson scored 14 points apiece for the Spurs, who shot 43 percent (32-of-74) and committed 21 turnovers.

"They played well at both ends of the floor, created a lot of turnovers, scored off those turnovers, shot the ball well," Popovich said.


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