Tuesday , Apr , 27 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Kings crown Mavs for 3-1 series lead

=== Kings crown Mavs for 3-1 series lead ===

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Mike Bibby scored a game-high 22 points to lead
Sacramento over Dallas, 94-92, in Game 4 of their Western Conference
quarterfinal set at American Airlines Center.

Peja Stojakovic added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, who took a 3-1
lead in their best-of-seven series and will look to clinch it with a win in
Game 5 on Thursday at ARCO Arena.

“It is going to take another effort like this,” said Kings guard Doug
Christie. “Another 48 minutes to win this.”

Sacramento, which received 13 points and 15 rebounds from Christie, snapped a
four-game playoff slide in Dallas.

Dirk Nowitzki posted 21 points and 14 boards for the Mavericks, who lost the
first two games of this series in Sacramento and have never rallied from an
0-2 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. Dallas lost at home for only the
sixth time this season.

Dallas has lost five straight Game 4s in the postseason, while the Kings are
5-1 in their last six Game 4s.

After a defensive stop, the Mavericks had the ball down 94-92 with 8.4 seconds
remaining in the game. After a timeout, Dallas got the ball to Steve Nash, who
went back to just inside the halfcourt line to get the inbounds pass. Nash
dribbled towards the three-point line, but could not get open and forced up an
errant shot as the horn sounded.

The Kings turned the ball over 18 times, but held the Mavericks to 35 percent
shooting from the field.

Dallas, which was the best free throw shooting team coming into the playoffs,
struggled from the line in this one, hitting 20-of-33 shots from the stripe.

Sacramento also dominated the boards, pulling down a season-high 68 rebounds.

The Kings led by eight late in the game, but the Mavericks responded with a
9-3 run to get back into the game. Nowitzki capped off the burst on two free
throws with 33.3 seconds left to trim the deficit to 94-92.

But Dallas could never get over the bump as neither team would score anymore
points from that point on.

“Who would have thought that this would have turned into a defensive battle,
but it really has,” said Mavericks head coach Don Nelson.

There were no ties or lead changes in the first quarter as the Kings went out
in front right from the start. In that opening frame, Sacramento led by as
many as seven, but the Mavericks trimmed the deficit to 21-18 after 12 minutes
of play.

With just over three minutes left in the second quarter the game was knotted
at 39-39. But the Mavericks ended the half with five unanswered points to take
a 44-39 edge into the intermission, their biggest lead of the half.

The Mavericks held the advantage at halftime, despite have no double-digit
scorers up to that point.

Dallas led 52-44 early in the third, but the Kings ended the quarter on a
26-13 run to take a five-point edge at 70-65 into the final frame. All-Star
forward Stojakovic, who only at four points at half, turned it on in the third
by going 5-for-5 from the field for 12 points in the frame.