Early in the game, it was Dennis Rodman who got Chris Webber all hot and bothered. At the end, it was Webber who burned the Los Angeles Lakers.
Webber scored 29 points, including a tip-in with four-tenths of a second on the clock, as the Sacramento Kings overcame a 19-point deficit and rode a 40-point third quarter to a 111-109 victory on Friday night.
"I don't know if it was the best play I've ever made, but it was a good rebound," Webber said. "I just wanted to get my hands on it and force it up toward the basket."
Vernon Maxwell's 3-pointer with 2:43 remaining gave Sacramento it's biggest lead, 105-99. Glen Rice responded with a 3-point shot and a 21-footer to tie the score at 106. Another jumper by Rice and a free throw by J.R. Reid put Los Angeles ahead 109-106 with 37 seconds to go, but Maxwell tied it on a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 29 seconds on the clock.
"That was the catalyst for winning the game," Webber said. "If he doesn't make that shot, we don't win the game. I'm just glad that he hit it, because he was only about four steps in from halfcourt."
Derek Harper attempted a 3-pointer from the left baseline that bounced off the rim and was rebounded by the Kings, who called a timeout with 5.5 seconds left. Divac's shot hit the left of the rim, but Webber who entered the game as the NBA's leading rebounder and finished with 10, outleaped everyone for the game-winner.
"A team that leads the league in scoring is a very dangerous basketball team because they can score points in a bunch and they did that," Harper said. "We couldn't weather their fastbreak opportunities. They got a lot of easy baskets and got themselves back in the game."
Corliss Williamson scored 11 of his 22 points during a pivotal rally in the third quarter, helping the NBA's highest scoring team eat the Lakers in consecutive meetings for the first time since February 1994.
Vlade Divac, who missed the long jumper that led to Webber's clinching basket, finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
"Vlade has been very consistent in rebounding the ball and he's one of the best passing big men I've ever seen," Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "Night in and night out, he's given us the stability around the basket that we really needed. We needed a center like him to play with Chris, and Vlade's really been a good complement to him."
Kobe Bryant scored 26 points and Shaquille O'Neal had 24 for the Lakers, who put Rodman in the starting lineup for the first time and lost to Sacramento for only the 14th time in 64 meetings overall. It was the first second straight home loss for the Lakers, who won their previous nine at the Forum.
"I think you need to ask the people around here what is going on," said Rodman, who was benched for the final 15 minutes and 42 seconds. "This is just completely ridiculous. I'm not used to this."
"I'm put in the starting rotation and I only played 24 minutes. If we win, we win. If we don't, there will be more bitching and complaining about people."
Rodman, who came off the bench in his first 12 games after signing with the Lakers on Feb. 23, replaced the struggling Travis Knight in the starting lineup because of the Lakers' sluggish starts in recent games and finished with nine rebounds.
Despite grabbing only six rebounds before halftime, Rodman did accomplish two of his other specialties getting under an opponent's skin and drawing a technical foul. With 6:26 left in the second quarter, Webber flailed his arms in Rodman's direction after being grabbed by the waist on a spin move in the low post.
Webber earned a technical for his aggressive response. But Rodman, apparently feeling cheated, earned a technical of his own after disputing his foul against Maxwell with 5.5 seconds left in the half.
Moments earlier, Rodman thought he had drawn an offensive foul when Webber made contact with him on a driving layup. As the officials headed up court, Rodman rose to a kneeling position and pantomimed as though he was peeling off dollar bills from a large roll.
Notes: A hush fell over the sellout crowd at the Forum about 3 1-2 minutes into the game, after O'Neal went flying head-first over the Lakers' bench while chasing an offensive rebound and crashed heavily to the floor. But he stayed in the game and came back with two quick baskets in the low post. ... Rodman dyed his hair blonde for the first time as a Laker.
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