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Kings extinguish Rockets 100-95
Updated: 2004-03-22 13:54

Chris Webber and the Sacramento Kings struggled and stumbled all night until it really mattered. Peja Stojakovic scored 29 points, and Webber capped a terrible shooting game with a key assist and a steal in the Kings' 100-95 come-from-behind victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.

Houston Rockets' Jim Jackson, left, and Cuttino Mobley help up Yao Ming of China during the second half against the Golden State Warriors on Friday, March 19, 2004, in Oakland, Calif. [AP]
Mike Bibby had 18 points and seven assists for the Kings (51-19), who nudged ahead of Indiana (50-19) for the NBA's best record despite trailing for most of the first 3 1/2 quarters. Sacramento closed with an 18-7 run in its sixth straight home victory.

Vlade Divac scored five of his 17 points in the final two minutes, including his first 3-pointer of the season with 41 seconds left. The long jumper beat the shot clock and caused Stojakovic to leap into the Serbian center's arms with joy.

Maurice Taylor scored 23 points and Steve Francis had 17 for the Rockets, who lost their 10th straight game in Sacramento and third straight overall. Yao Ming had 11 points and nine rebounds before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.

Webber played 42 subpar minutes and the Sacramento fans let him have it with several choruses of boos. He went 4-for-18, made several bad passes and struggled to defend Taylor, his friend and fellow Michigan alum.

The Kings got a new injury worry: Brad Miller scored just two points in 18 minutes, before sitting out most of the fourth quarter with acute bursitis in his right elbow.

Sacramento took an 89-88 lead on Anthony Peeler's 3-pointer with 4:27 left, capping a 9-2 run. Houston went back ahead on Jim Jackson's 3-pointer, but Webber made one free throw, then hit Divac with a wraparound pass for a layup with 1:46 left, giving Sacramento the lead for good.

As in many of their home games over the past two months, the Kings started slowly and never got going in the first half. Webber and Miller combined to shoot 2-for-14 as the Rockets took an early 17-point lead.

Miller, the Kings' two-time All-Star who's been a reserve since Webber's return, was held scoreless until a dunk in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. Moments later, Miller came out of the game for good.

Francis also had an eventful night. He got his NBA-leading 17th technical foul in the second quarter for shoving Doug Christie after a foul, though he didn't appear to mean anything malicious by it.

Moments before halftime, Francis was knocked into the front row while attempting a layup. He remained on the court for several moments, but no foul was called.

Notes:@ Sacramento G Bobby Jackson missed his 17th straight game with a strained abdominal muscle. There's still no definite timetable for Jackson, the NBA's top sixth man last season despite missing 21 games with a broken hand. ... Both coaches essentially used seven-man rotations. Charles Oakley played just one minute, but got his second rebound since signing with Houston on Thursday. ... Divac had just six 3-pointers last season.

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