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.
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 Sacramento.
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.
“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.
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.