Kings Reign Over Jazz


It was payback time for the Sacramento Kings.

Chris Webber had 20 points and nine rebounds Friday night, leading Sacramento to a 105-92 victory over the Utah Jazz in a rematch of last season's first-round playoff meeting.

The Kings downplayed the significance of the win, yet the message was clear. The younger, quicker Kings looked improved against the aging Jazz.

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  • "It just happened to be Utah that we played tonight," said reserve guard Jon Barry, who had eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter. "We learned a lot last year playing those guys. They are a team that always executes so well. I thought we executed pretty well tonight."

    That execution was evident in the fourth quarter when Sacramento pulled away for good with a 15-4 run, extending its lead to 95-78 with 4:51 remaining.

    It was accomplished with reserves like Barry and Lawrence Funderburke (11 points, seven rebounds) leading the way. The Kings received 37 points from their bench.

    "We had great support from the bench, it was just a solid win," Kings coach Rick Adelman said.

    The starters also contributed in a major way. Webber paced six players in double figures. Jason Williams scored 18 points, Nick Anderson had 12 and Vlade Divac added 10.

    The Jazz, who won that exciting series 3-2, couldn't keep up with Sacramento. The Kings went on a 15-3 run in the third quarter to take control of the game and put it away with by the midway point in the fourth.

    "They outworked us, they scored 18 points or something on offensive rebounds," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "When you give hat up, you don't deserve to win."

    Karl Malone had 20 points and seven rebounds for the Jazz. Jeff Hornacek finished with 14 points and Bryon Russell had 11.

    "It's been like this, other teams are gunning for us, we have to prepare for them," Hornacek said. "Right now we are not at that level."

    The Kings, playing their first game in the United States after splitting two games in Japan with Minnesota last weekend, looked sharp. They committed only 13 turnovers, stayed with the Jazz on the boards and gave them problems on defense.

    "We defended them very well," Barry said. "We didn't forget about defense tonight."

    Trailing by 12 points starting the fourth quarter, the Jazz quickly cut the margin to six. Sacramento answered with a 6-0 run, five of them by Predrag Stojakovic, putting the Kings ahead 87-76 with 7:17 left.

    Ahead by one point early in the third quarter, the Kings went on a 15-3 run. Williams began the spurt with a 3-point shot and followed with a dazzling behind-the-back dribble, splitting two defenders and scoring on a layup.

    A dunk by Divac ended the run, putting the Kings ahead 71-58 with 3:28 left in the quarter. Webber and Williams both scored eight points in the third period, helping Sacramento build a 77-65 lead.

    After a poor-shooting first quarter by both teams, the Kings got going in the second, outscoring Utah 34-27 to take a 51-44 halftime lead.

    Notes

  • Hornacek made his first free throw attempt, extending his streak to 18 straight this season. He missed two straight in the fourth quarter.
  • Sacramento, the second worst free-shooting team in the NBA last year, missed its first four attempts, but finished 20 of 29.
  • Malone injured his neck after being fouled late in the first period and went to the locker room. He reentered the game midway through the second quarter.
  • The Kings made 15 of 23 shots in the second period.

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