SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP)—Vlade Divac’s best game in two years was made possible by an extra day of rest—at least according to Divac, whose 35-year-old knees appreciated the break.
Though Stojakovic’s outside marksmanship was important, the Kings clearly were inspired by Divac’s youthful effort at both ends of the court—which included everything from steady defense to an exuberant two-handed slam on a fast break.
“I felt young. Now, I feel old,” Divac said. “My knees and bones are sore, but I felt good at the start of the game. I think it’s because we didn’t practice on Friday. I think I’m done practicing for the year.”
The team with the NBA’s best home record made sure Portland remained the league’s only winless road team, dropping the Blazers to 0-9 with a game-ending 21-8 run—and sending Portland into a lengthy postgame team meeting.
Divac hasn’t scored inside easily this season, but the veteran center’s crafty game was in top form—and his teammates loved it as much as the fans. He also had seven assists while shooting 10-for-16.
“He broke it all out today,” Miller said. “I saw the two-handed dunk. I saw the one-handed dunk, plus all his usual stuff underneath. He was up and down the court. He wore me out, made me look bad.”
So just when was the last time Stojakovic saw such a performance from his fellow Serbian and longtime teammate?
“Two years ago on tape. The game was the ’89 Lakers versus Chicago,” Stojakovic said with a grin.
Divac was a Los Angeles rookie in 1989 when Stojakovic was 12. Sunday’s effort was his most prolific performance since the 2001-02 season opener.
Rasheed Wallace scored 27 points and Zach Randolph had 26 for the Trail Blazers, who haven’t won on the road in 12 games since April 8. Afterward, the locker room was closed for several minutes longer than normal.
“We didn’t talk much about the game,” said Dale Davis, who had eight points. “We talked about how we’re playing. It was a basic reality check. A couple of guys said what they had to say. It’s not a happy crowd here right now, no doubt about it. Our season has been real up and down.”
As usual, Portland played well in Sacramento, but Stojakovic and Divac hit big shots down the stretch. Divac also shut down Randolph in the fourth quarter, holding the NBA’s seventh-leading scorer to six points.
Stojakovic also was outstanding, getting open for several of his shots through tiny holes in the Portland defense. He matched his season-high for 3-pointers for the fifth time this season while increasing his league-leading total to 62.
Jeff McInnis had 16 points and seven assists for the Blazers, who had a season-low 34 rebounds while losing for the fifth time in six games in Sacramento.
Neither team held a significant lead until Sacramento ran away in the fourth. Portland scored just one point—on an illegal-defense technical free throw—in a 3 1/2 -minute stretch.
“We were in that game for 44 minutes,” Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. “It looked like we stopped defending the last four minutes. With them, you have to play well all 48 minutes.”
Miller hit a long jumper moments later, and Divac made a running one-handed dunk with 1:16 left to wrap it up. Miller reached double figures in points and rebounds for the fourth straight game.
Sacramento returned from a three-game road trip for the first of five games in Northern California in eight days—four at home and a road game inOakland.
The Kings had 28 assists—seven apiece by Divac and Bibby—to go with just nine turnovers. … Davis and Damon Stoudamire were whistled for technical fouls in the first half. Stoudamire got his T as the officials were leaving the court at halftime. Wallace nearly got one when he was called for an offensive foul with 9:22 left, but the power forward bit his tongue just in time. … TheBlazers were one of just five opponents to win at Arco Arena last season.