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Archive for Monday, May 17, 2004

Tempers flare as Kings stave off elimination, 104-87

May 17, 2004

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— The second-round series between Sacramento and Minnesota is becoming as much about bad tempers as it is great basketball.

Chris Webber guaranteed a Game 7, and the Sacramento standout got all kinds of help in making it happen -- even teammate Anthony Peeler's ejection for throwing elbows at league MVP Kevin Garnett had the Kings feeling good.

Mike Bibby had 16 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and three steals despite foul trouble, and the energetic Kings used an inspired effort on both ends of the floor to survive elimination, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves, 104-87, in Game 6 Sunday.

The deciding Game 7 is Wednesday night in Minneapolis.

"Right now is the time we all dreamed about: Game 7," Webber said. "We're ready. ... I'm very confident, but no more predictions."

Peja Stojakovic finally found his shot, scoring 22 points and swishing a long three-pointer at the halftime buzzer that gave Sacramento the momentum in another testy affair between these teams. Webber had 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

The Kings haven't won a Game 7 on the road since they were based in Kansas City and beat Phoenix in 1981.

"The good thing is, we've been in this situation before," Webber said. "So I feel comfortable going into it."

Doug Christie had 16 points and sparked a strong defensive effort against league MVP Kevin Garnett and company, and Sacramento just plain outhustled the Wolves to loose balls and rebounds.

Latrell Sprewell scored 27 points, and Garnett added 19, 10 rebounds and five assists for the Timberwolves, who are trying to reach their first Western Conference finals. Sam Cassell scored 16 points before fouling out with 2:32 left, and he was hit with a technical afterward for arguing. Cassell had to be held back from an official by teammate Ervin Johnson.

The Kings were fired up from the start, jumping out to a big lead early and calmly weathering a 17-0 run by Minnesota late in the first quarter. After losing to Minnesota at Arco Arena in three straight games this season -- including 114-113 in OT in Game 3 -- Sacramento has won its last two at home to stay in the series.

Peeler was ejected with 13.5 seconds left in the third after throwing an elbow at Garnett. Peeler, who claimed Garnett tried to hit him in the throat, also had elbowed Garnett on the previous possession, then Garnett stuck his elbow into Peeler's chest when the Kings came down on offense late in the third quarter.

Garnett was still grimacing from the previous hit when Peeler struck him again and immediately got thrown out. Peeler and Garnett have been sparring all series.

"I feel everybody should have gotten kicked out," Peeler said. "It always takes two people to fight. It's never one person."

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