Sacramento rallies to avoid 3rd straight home loss

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Even the Sacramento Kings were

starting to believe the whispers saying they couldn't beat the

NBA's best teams -- until they notched a big win over the team that

usually plays them tougher than anybody.

Peja Stojakovic hit a season-high six 3-pointers, and Mike Bibby

scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half of the Kings' 86-81

victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night.

Stojakovic scored 28 points and Chris Webber had 14 points and

13 rebounds for the Kings, who snapped the Spurs' five-game winning

streak. Sacramento also avoided its first three-game home losing

streak since April 2000 with a gritty fourth-quarter performance

against the Spurs, who won three of their previous four in


Though the Kings are in the thick of the Western Conference

playoff race, in second place in the Pacific Division behind

surprising Phoenix, they hadn't beaten a team with a winning record

since Nov. 26.

"We laughed about it after the game," said Webber, who also

had seven assists. "I told Brad (Miller), 'Maybe we're good now.'

... We heard that talk, but we don't believe it. It was a good win,

but it doesn't make us better than we were three hours ago."

Sacramento, which lost its previous two home games to Miami and

Golden State, led through most of the fourth before San Antonio

tied it on Brent Barry's 3-pointer with 4:42 left. Stojakovic

answered with a 3-pointer, and Miller then hit a desperate

22-footer as the shot clock expired with 2:49 to play.

San Antonio got back within 80-78 on Tim Duncan's three-point

play, but Webber hit a jumper with 1:10 left, and Manu Ginobili

missed two open 3-pointers in the final seconds.

"People talk about how we haven't done well against the better

teams, but we just played well all the way," Kings coach Rick

Adelman said. "(San Antonio) has just been killing people, so it

was just nice to see us rise to that."

Ginobili scored 18 points, but Tim Duncan got just six of his 14

points in the second half. Duncan, who finished with just two

points more than his season low, didn't score in the second half

until eight minutes remained, too often settling for jumpers and

passing to inaccurate teammates.

"I played so badly, I felt I drug the guys into a hole,"

Duncan said. "We didn't play our best. I got enough good looks,

(but) they just didn't go down."

The Spurs' weak perimeter shooting was obvious, with the

starting five shooting just 20-for-57. San Antonio also made just

nine of its 18 free throws.

"I thought Sac crowded (Duncan) real well," Spurs coach Gregg

Popovich said. "They did a good job of bringing guys at him. They

mixed things up real well. ... Holding Sac to 86 points, that's

tough to do. Our shooting and free throws betrayed us."

Rookie Kevin Martin had a season-high nine points in his most

impressive game yet for the Kings, highlighted by a remarkable

behind-the-back bounce pass between Barry's legs to Darius Songaila

for a layup with 8:32 to play.

"We're calling that beginner's luck," Martin said with a grin.

With top reserve Bobby Jackson probably lost for three more

months with torn ligaments in his wrist, Adelman has been forced to

use the untested youngsters on the end of his bench. Maurice Evans

has become a consistent defender and backup in the last two weeks --

and against the Spurs, Martin was a capable, charismatic player on

both ends of the court.

Martin, a first-round pick out of Western Carolina, hasn't

played much this season, but Adelman gave him a season-high 22

minutes against the Spurs. He punctuated his seven points in the

first half with a two-handed dunk in traffic with 1.3 seconds left.

He was just as good in the second half, stunning fans with his

pass through Barry's legs. Most of the Sacramento crowd couldn't

believe its eyes until the replay was shown on the overhead

scoreboard, causing raucous cheers.

Game notes
Webber made a season-high eight turnovers. ... Spurs coach

Gregg Popovich berated Ginobili through most of a second-quarter

timeout, getting in his starting guard's face before pulling him

from the game. ... Spurs F Tony Massenburg was booed when he

entered the game with eight seconds left in the first half. The

well-traveled Massenburg spent last season with the Kings, but left

town with harsh words for the organization after he was left off

the playoff roster. ... Cubs manager Dusty Baker attended with his

father, a season ticket holder.