Vlade Divac spent the afternoon glued to his TV and nervously waiting for his phone to ring, awaiting news from his family in Belgrade. He spent the evening helping the Sacramento Kings win a dramatic game.
On the day NATO warplanes and missiles struck Divac's native Yugoslavia, the Kings center had 18 points and tied his season high with 10 assists as the Kings defeated the New York Knicks 92-91 Wednesday night to break a four-game losing streak.
"It's very tough to be focused on the game when all the things are happening in my country," said Divac, who finally heard from his brother an hour before the game. "I was shaking all day long, especially because I didn't have a chance to talk with my family to see how they're doing."
The score was tied 91-91 and Latrell Sprewell was controlling the ball as the Knicks set up a final shot. But Sprewell lost the ball on his dribble and Williams grabbed it and was immediately fouled by Sprewell. Williams made the second of his two foul shots.
"I just lost the ball," Sprewell said. "I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I got going one way and the ball went the other way."
Vernon Maxwell had 19 points off the bench to lead Sacramento. Patrick Ewing had 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Knicks. Sprewell and Charlie Ward added 16 points each.
The Knicks, who have lost a season-high three straight games, missed three shots in the final 12 seconds. Ewing missed a shot in the lane. Ward got a long rebound and missed a shot. And, after Sacramento's Tariq Abdul-Wahad grabbed the rebound, was fouled and missed two free throws, Larry Johnson's heave at the buzzer went off the backboard.
"I had a good look," Ewing said of his shot. "I thought it was going to drop."
The Kings trailed by a point at halftime but led 68-67 heading into the fourth period after a third quarter in which both teams were ice cold from the field.
The Knicks opened the fourth quarter with a 16-6 run to take an 83-74 lead with 6:22 left. Sprewell had seven of the first 11 points during that run.
Sacramento responded with five straight points to pull within four, and pulled within 85-83 on two free throws by Divac with 3:14 remaining.
New York got two free throws by Johnson and a basket by Ewing for an 89-83 lead, but Divac hit a 3-pointer and after another basket by Ewing Jason Williams hit a 3-pointer to pull Sacramento within 91-89 with 1:23 left.
Williams hit two free throws with exactly one minute remaining. Neither team scored again until Williams' deciding free throw.
The Knicks missed their first seven shots of the game and went scoreless for the opening 3:12. Sacramento took an early 13-4 lead, but New York responded with a 16-6 run to take a 20-19 lead and the rest of the first half was close.
Ewing had 13 points as the Knicks took a 52-51 halftime lead. Maxwell had 13 points, including three 3-pointers, for the Kings.
Notes: Ewing played 36 minutes, bringing his career total to 35,027 minutes becoming the 29th player to surpass 35,000. Ewing also had 14 rebounds, leaving him four short of 10,000. When he reaches that mark, he will be the 12th player in NBA history with 20,000 points and 10,000 rebounds. ... Divac, a Serb, was interviewed about the situation in Kosovo on CNN's "Larry King Live" 45 minutes before the game. ... The Kings will not play an Eastern Conference opponent again this season. ... Predrag Stojakovic missed the game for Sacramento with a sprained left foot. ... The Kings had been 1-12 when they score fewer than 100 points. ... The Knicks have lost seven of their last eight on the road.
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