Kings Defeat Spurs, 96-91

Friday, January 30th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ The San Antonio Spurs have yet to show that they belong among the best in the West, slipping to 0-7 against the top four teams in the Western Conference with Thursday night's 96-91 loss to conference-leading Sacramento.

Bobby Jackson converted a four-point play with 29.1 seconds left to clinch the game for the Kings.

``Give Sacramento credit,'' San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. ``They knocked down a 3 every time we got within four or five.''

Tim Duncan drove for a layup to bring the Spurs within six in the final minute, and then Manu Ginobili picked off a pass by Mike Bibby and hit Malik Rose for a breakaway dunk to make it 91-87 with 46.8 seconds remaining.

On the next possession, the Kings ran the shot clock almost all the way down before Peja Stojakovic found Jackson in the left corner. Jackson hit a fallaway 3-pointer while being fouled by Bruce Bowen, and he made the free throw.

``It was a great read by Peja to get penetration and kick the ball to Bobby,'' Kings coach Rick Adelman said.

The game was the first meeting between the teams this season. San Antonio has already lost three times to the Los Angeles Lakers, twice to Dallas and once to Minnesota. Last year, the Spurs went 11-5 against the four teams.

In the only other NBA games Thursday, it was: New Jersey 89, Orlando 79 and Portland 93, Atlanta 85.

The Spurs, who trailed by as many as 12 in the second half, used their defense to come back several times, and the Kings answered each time.

``It's frustrating to play so hard, climb back ... and then they hit a big shot,'' Ginobili said. ``We can be happy that we at least made them hit some great shots.''

Earlier in the fourth, Ginobili made a 3-pointer to cut Sacramento's lead to 78-76, but Jackson hit a 3-pointer on the next possession to start a 11-4 burst.

Jackson went 4-for-5 in the final period to finish with 18 points. He made all three of his 3-point attempts.

``Sometimes it's going to go and some nights it's not going to go,'' said Jackson, who missed in a similar situation Monday night in a loss in Dallas. ``You just have to continue to have confidence in yourself and just shoot the ball.''

Bibby added 17 points, while Vlade Divac had 11 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

Both teams had the long-distance range. The Kings went 9-for-14 on 3-pointers, and the Spurs 7-for-11.

Duncan paced San Antonio with 35 points and 18 rebounds, while Tony Parker scored 19 points and Ginobili 12.

The Spurs made their first five shots while building a 16-5 lead, as the Kings missed eight of their first 10 attempts. But Sacramento scored 11 straight over a three-minute span to tie it at 16. By the end of the first, the Kings led 27-22.

``We had a good start, but they made adjustments,'' Rose said. ``Those adjustments got them going, and then they just outlasted us.''

Duncan made four quick baskets to pull the Spurs to 31-30 at 9:32 of the second period, but Sacramento's reserves quickly got the lead to double digits.

Rookie forward Darius Songaila scored nine points on 4-for-4 shooting, as the reserves accounted for 19 of the Kings' 25 points in the quarter.

The Spurs, who trailed 52-42 at halftime, whittled Sacramento's lead to 58-55 midway through the third before Bibby made a pair of 3-pointers and a driving reverse layup to key a Kings run that widened the difference to 73-61.

Nets 89, Magic 79

At Orlando, Fla., Jason Kidd scored 33 points and New Jersey won again under interim coach Lawrence Frank, who took over earlier this week for the fired Byron Scott. In all, the Nets have won three straight.

Kenyon Martin had 18 points, while Richard Jefferson added 13. Lucious Harris scored all 12 of his points in the final quarter.

Tracy McGrady, announced as an All-Star starter before the game, scored 22 points for Orlando. McGrady would have passed Allen Iverson for the NBA scoring lead with a fifth straight 30-point game.

Trail Blazers 93, Hawks 85

At Atlanta, Rasheed Wallace scored 11 of his 20 points during a dominating third quarter, and Zach Randolph finished with 22 for Portland.

The Trail Blazers have won four in a row on the road after a 2-16 start away from home. Damon Stoudamire had 13 assists _ including eight during the third quarter _ and Darius Miles scored 16 points for Portland.

Stephen Jackson led the Hawks with 15 points.