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Jazz Stages a Great Escape

Pro basketball: After Divac misses game-winner in regulation, Utah stops Kings, 99-92, in overtime.

May 17, 1999|From Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — The closest thing to a sure thing in the first four games of the nail-biting, breathtaking Sacramento-Utah playoff series was Vlade Divac's hook shot.

So with Game 5 tied at 88, the series tied 2-2 and 9.2 seconds left in regulation, the Kings went to Divac in the low post.

Sacramento's veteran center calmly dribbled down the clock, turned and shot a right-handed hook over Karl Malone--and missed, the ball clanging off the right side of the rim as time expired. There was an overtime period to play, but the Kings knew their best chance was gone.

The Jazz began overtime with a 9-2 run and held on to win, 99-92, taking the series 3-2 and advancing to the conference semifinals against Portland. The first game is Tuesday at the Delta Center.

After the game, Divac hugged Malone, and in the locker room, he didn't shed a tear. He gamely answered question after question about the last regulation play, taking responsibility for the loss and praising his teammates' play.

"It was my shot, the one we wanted," Divac said. "It was drawn up for me, and everything was perfect. I just missed it."

In overtime, the Kings finally showed their postseason inexperience, failing to score on five of their first six possessions and giving up several offensive rebounds to the Jazz. Malone and John Stockton both made critical free throws.

Shandon Anderson, whose eight straight points in Game 4 helped the Jazz come from behind, again starred in the closing minutes, scoring six points in overtime en route to 16 points.

Vernon Maxwell led the Kings with 22 points.

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