PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference first round; Spurs lead 2-1.
The Sacramento Kings hope the momentum from their lucky bounce in Game 3 will carry over as they try to even their Western Conference first-round series with the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs at Arco Arena.
Kevin Martin made a three-bounce, wrong-handed layup over Tim Duncan as time expired Friday to give the Kings a 94-93 win over the top-seeded Spurs. It was the second straight game decided in dramatic fashion as Brent Barry’s 3-pointer bounced twice on the rim and backboard Tuesday before falling through to force overtime in Game 2 for San Antonio, which it won 128-119.
“The ball finally bounced our way,” said Martin, who said he was simply trying to draw a foul on his final drive to the hoop. “I knew once Mike (Bibby) gave me the ball, there were only 4 seconds left. I had to go to the rim. There was no choice. I had to go for it.”
Martin, who scored a playoff career-high 26 points as a starter in Game 2, came off the bench to total 10 points and six rebounds. Bibby had 25 points and eight assists, and Bonzi Wells added a double-double.
Ron Artest had 22 points and 12 rebounds in his return to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for elbowing Manu Ginobili in the head in Game 1. The Kings’ forward came through bigger on the defensive end, holding Ginobili to just eight points.
It was Ginobili’s turnover—his seventh—in the final seconds that set up Sacramento’s game-winner.
“I just kind of lost it,” said Ginobili. “It was the worst turnover of my career. I really don’t know what happened. I’m just very upset right now. We had the game, and of course I let it go.”
Duncan did his best to avoid the loss with 29 points, 12 rebounds and six blocked shots following a combined 25 points in the previous two games. He got little help, however, as Michael Finley (17 points) and Tony Parker (12) were the only other Spurs in double figures.
San Antonio averaged 125 points on over 50 percent shooting in their first two games, before being held to just 93 points on 46 percent shooting Friday. The Spurs did overcome a 14-point third-quarter deficit with a 16-5 run, though, and neither team led by more than four points in the final quarter.
“We have to keep our composure and understand that they’re going to have a lot of emotions (in Game 4),” said Duncan, whose team has won three championships in the last seven years. “There are good things to learn from this game. We just lost on a crazy shot.”
The Kings kept their composure and rebounded back into the series following a dismal 34-point loss in Game 1. Sacramento’s best chance to even the series comes at home, where it finished the regular season with 18 wins in its last 21 games.
“They want to go home so they can finish it,” said Kings coach Rick Adelman, whose team has never overcome a 0-2 playoff series deficit. “So we’ve got to be better, got to get better every game. We got better (Friday night) in a lot of areas, and we’ve got to get better Sunday.”
Game 5 will be Tuesday at San Antonio.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Spurs - 1st seed. Kings - 8th seed.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Spurs - Parker, 19.7 ppg and 6.7 apg; Duncan, 10.7 rpg. Kings - Wells, 19.7 ppg and 10.7 rpg; Bibby, 5.7 apg.