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Webber Keeps Kings on a Roll

January 14, 2002|From Associated Press

Just when Chris Webber's balky ankle got close to full strength, two of his fellow starters went down with injuries.

No matter: Webber's ankle and his growing enthusiasm have been strong enough to move the Sacramento Kings to the top of the Pacific Division.

Webber had 28 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, and the Kings won their eighth in a row, defeating the Phoenix Suns, 103-100, Sunday night at Sacramento to catch the Lakers.

"It was a good win just because there's no love lost between these two teams," Webber said. "The fact that we didn't fall prey to all the distractions, I think that was the most important thing we accomplished tonight."

Sacramento (27-9) moved into a virtual tie with the Lakers (26-8), who have led the division all season despite the Kings' best start in franchise history.

With two consecutive losses by the Lakers and Shaquille O'Neal's impending suspension for fighting, the Kings believe they might be able to make a move--not that anyone in Sacramento's locker room would admit to it with Webber listening.

"What I'm worried about is us watching and looking at the Lakers, and then losing to somebody else in the first round," Webber said. "None of this really matters until the playoffs."

The Kings improved to an NBA-best 20-1 at home with their 13th consecutive victory at Arco Arena.

Phoenix got 33 points from Stephon Marbury but lost for the sixth time in seven games.

Peja Stojakovic had 25 points for the Kings, and Bobby Jackson scored 18 filling in at point guard for Mike Bibby, who is nursing a sprained knee. Vlade Divac also sat out for the Kings with a sprained shoulder.

Penny Hardaway had 11 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for the Suns, and Rodney Rogers had 24 points and eight rebounds.

Portland 96, Cleveland 64--Bonzi Wells scored 18 points and the Trail Blazers used a 19-0 third-quarter run at Portland, Ore., to rout the Cavaliers for the second time in a week.

Scottie Pippen scored 13 points, Damon Stoudamire had 11 assists and Rasheed Wallace had 11 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who have won three in a row.

Lamond Murray scored 16 points for the Cavaliers, who lost their sixth in a row.

Portland defeated Cleveland by 26 points last Monday, but they fell behind in the opening minutes Sunday before going on a 14-2 run.

Wesley Person made a three-point basket to rally the Cavaliers within 45-41.

But Wallace, who had missed his previous six shots, started the 19-0 run with a 22-foot jumper.

Wells made two consecutive three-pointers and Dale Davis made a mid-range jumper. Stoudamire then found Pippen for a wide-open three-pointer.

The most impressive points during the run were scored by Pippen. With the shot clock ticking down, Stoudamire flipped him the ball and Pippen tossed it over his head and off the glass for a 64-41 lead.

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