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Kings Play Rough and Beat Spurs

March 15, 2004|From Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — Doug Christie talked trash and flung himself at loose balls. Mike Bibby drove the lane with abandon, Chris Webber crashed the boards -- and Brad Miller did more dirty work than everybody else combined.

Anybody still think the Sacramento Kings aren't tough enough to go deep in the postseason?

The San Antonio Spurs became believers after the Kings got nasty in a 101-87 victory Sunday.

Bibby scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half, and Miller had 19 points and 13 rebounds as the Kings avenged three consecutive home losses to the defending NBA champions, who played without injured star Tim Duncan.

Spurred by Miller's reckless inside play and Christie's defensive prowess, Sacramento roared away with a 23-7 run early in the fourth quarter, bullying and outworking the Spurs.

"That's more of what we're going to get into in the playoffs," said Miller, a two-time All-Star added to the roster last summer to inject toughness into what's often a finesse team. "They started out like that, a lot of pushing and holding like they always do. We had to respond, and we did it. Defense is what won the game for us."

Webber had 23 points and eight rebounds, and Peja Stojakovic scored 18 points, but the Kings' high-flying offense didn't get going until the fourth quarter.

Duncan sat out for the eighth time in nine games to rest his injured knee.

Manu Ginobili scored 16 points, and Rasho Nesterovic had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Spurs.

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