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Webber Sets Road Block for Jazz

April 21, 2002|From Associated Press

Chris Webber got away with a late mistake. Scott Padgett didn't.

Webber had 24 points and 12 rebounds and blocked a late three-point shot by Padgett after missing a clinching free throw as the top-seeded Sacramento Kings held off Utah, 89-86, Saturday at Sacramento in Game 1 of their best-of-five series.

Despite forecasts of a lopsided matchup, the Jazz did nearly everything it needed to do to steal a victory from the Kings, who had beaten Utah decisively in four regular-season games.

"This wasn't a wake-up call," Webber said. "We knew they were going to play aggressive. We knew we could be in for a tough game in this first one. I was just glad to get it out of our system."

Webber made a free throw with 7.1 seconds to go, providing the final margin, but also gave the Jazz a final chance by missing the second.

After a timeout, Padgett inbounded to Karl Malone, who passed it back to Padgett. His three-point try was blocked by Webber but the ball went to John Stockton, whose three-point shot bounced high off the rim and was coming back down when Padgett got a hand on the ball and tried to slam it through.

Padgett had no reason to touch the ball because the Jazz needed three points. He was called for offensive goaltending with 0.3 seconds left.

"If I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn't have gone for it," Padgett said.

The Jazz was swept by the Kings, 4-0, in the regular season, losing by more than 20 points three times. But Utah was in this one to the end, with Malone scoring 25 points.

Mike Bibby scored 20 points for the Kings, who finished the season with a franchise-record 61 victories to secure the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and home-court advantage through the playoffs.

There was little reason to expect Utah could keep it close, yet the Jazz did just that with a 45-38 rebounding advantage and by outhustling the Kings with a 19-1 edge on second-chance points.

The 175-pound Stockton bumped into 260-pound Vlade Divac in the lane in the third quarter, sending the big man flying, Stockton and Bibby had a wrestling scrum at midcourt and Bibby banged with Bryon Russell, limping away with a sore left shin.

"We knew it was going to be physical, but we didn't know we would struggle," Divac said. "We played terrible and they had a chance to win but didn't. I don't think that's going to happen again."

San Antonio 110, Seattle 89--How hot did the Spurs get in their playoff opener against Seattle in the Alamodome?

The score was tied at halftime and the Spurs led by 25 points after three quarters. The SuperSonics shot a more-than-respectable 51% and still got buried.

Tim Duncan recorded the second triple-double of his career and rookie point guard Tony Parker scored 21 points to lead the Spurs. Game 2 in the best-of-five series is Monday night at San Antonio.

Duncan had 21 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and five blocked shots in 37 minutes. The Spurs pulled away by making 15 of 20 shots in the third quarter.

"Defensively we turned it up," Duncan said. "We got a couple of turnovers and really started running the ball. Got the ball up the floor and didn't let them set their defense."

The Spurs played most of the game without center David Robinson, who left late in the first quarter when his sore back tightened up. He was scheduled for an MRI exam Saturday night.

"He doesn't feel too good," said Spur Coach Gregg Popovich. "David never says if something is killing him. He came out of the game and gave me that look, that was telling for me. If he's healthy he'll come back and play because we need him."

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