Kings sink Lakers to end late-season slump

Posted: Monday, April 12, 2004

SACRAMENTO, Calif. Chris Webber had 25 points and 12 rebounds, Doug Christie added 21 points to his superb defense and the Sacramento Kings halted their late-season skid with a 102-85 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

Mike Bibby had 15 points and eight assists for Sacramento (55-25), which took a one-game lead over the Lakers (54-26) in the Pacific Division with two to play by winning for just the fourth time in 10 games.

The Kings were dominating, playing with more desperation and passion than they've shown during the last seven weeks. But even in a defeat that probably relegated them to the fourth seed, the Lakers stole the spotlight with another unique controversy.

Kobe Bryant, the NBA's fourth-leading scorer, took just one shot while playing 21 minutes in the first half.

He got his first point on a jumper with 3:53 left in the third quarter. Bryant finished with eight points on 3-of-13 shooting, missing his final seven shots. He left for good with 3:16 left in the fourth, sitting wordlessly next to his teammates.

Gary Payton scored 15 points and Karl Malone had 13 for the Lakers, who lost for the third time in four games their worst stretch since the All-Star break. Shaquille O'Neal had just 10 points and five rebounds.

Bulls 114, Raptors 108, OT

TORONTO Jamal Crawford scored a career-high 50 points for the Bulls, becoming the fourth person this season to reach the mark.

Tracy McGrady, Allen Iverson and Rashard Lewis also scored at least 50. McGrady did it twice with 51 points against Denver in November and 62 points on March 10 against Washington the highest total this season.

Crawford had 24 points in the fourth quarter, including 16 straight as Chicago rallied to take the lead. His previous best was 42 points Dec. 27 against Washington. He went 18-for-34 from the field, and 8-for-11 from the line.

Nets 89, 76ers 75

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. With Allen Iverson conspicuously absent again, the Philadelphia 76ers were eliminated from playoff contention and the idle Boston Celtics clinched the Eastern Conference's last postseason spot.

The loss ended Philadelphia's five-year run of postseason appearances. Philadelphia team policy does not require injured players to travel, and Iverson has not been on the road with the team since March 20 in Miami.

Jason Kidd, who sat out the Nets' previous game to avoid added stress on his painful left knee, had five points, eight assists, five steals and four rebounds in 27 minutes.

Kenyon Martin, also coming off a one-game absence that kept him from playing on back-to-back nights, had a team-high 15 points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes.

Suns 89, Grizzlies 83

PHOENIX Amare Stoudemire scored 23 of his 29 points in the first half and Phoenix handed Memphis its fourth loss in five games.

The victory marked the first time this season that the Suns have beaten two over-.500 teams in a row. Phoenix defeated Sacramento on Friday night.

Warriors 108, Mavericks 107

OAKLAND, Calif. Jason Richardson had 24 points and 11 rebounds and Golden State rallied in the final five minutes to end a 20-game losing streak to Dallas.

Cliff Robinson scored five straight points to give Golden State its first lead of the game, 103-101 with 3:46 to play, then Speedy Claxton made a lay-in. Brian Cardinal grabbed several key rebounds during the late series, secured a jump ball and had an assist.

Dirk Nowitzki had 29 points and 14 rebounds for the playoff-bound Mavs, who remained tied with Memphis for the fifth seed in the West.

Marquis Daniels had 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Dallas, which hadn't lost to Golden State since April 10, 1999.

Spurs 88, Clippers 79

LOS ANGELES Tim Duncan scored 18 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the San Antonio Spurs over the Los Angeles Clippers 88-79 Sunday night for their season-high ninth straight victory.

The Spurs are tied with Sacramento for second place in the Western Conference, one game behind Midwest Division rival Minnesota and a game ahead of the Lakers with two games left in the regular season. Tony Parker added 14 points and eight assists for the defending NBA champions.

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