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It's Divac to Rescue for Kings

March 22, 2004|From Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — Chris Webber had a terrible shooting game. Steve Francis cursed on live television.

Almost everybody seemed frustrated in Arco Arena -- until one beautiful basket by Vlade Divac fixed everything for the Kings.

Divac's first three-point basket of the season -- with 41 seconds left -- clinched the Kings' 100-95 come-from-behind victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.

Until Divac beat the shot clock with a perfect rainbow three-pointer, there was nothing pretty about the Kings' sixth consecutive home victory.

The Rockets led nearly all of the first 3 1/2 quarters with their defense-oriented game, and the Kings struggled to find any rhythm in their usually dynamic offense.

Sacramento (51-19) needed a victory to stay ahead of Indiana (50-19) for the NBA's best record. The Kings closed with an 18-7 run -- and no basket was more important than Divac's three-pointer, which capped their second straight comeback from a 17-point deficit.

"When I shot the ball, I really felt pretty good," Divac said. "Most of the time, I don't feel good about those shots. Usually, they're air balls."

Divac scored five of his 17 points in the final two minutes. Webber capped a terrible shooting game with a key assist and a steal -- but he made only four of 18 shots.

Maurice Taylor scored 23 points and Francis had 17 for the Rockets, who lost their 10th consecutive game in Sacramento and third straight overall. Yao Ming had 11 points and nine rebounds before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.

Francis had a frustrating game, earning his NBA-leading 17th technical foul even before a non-call in the closing seconds of the first half. When an ESPN reporter approached him for a halftime interview, Francis cursed at least twice and stormed off the court.

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