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On this day in Kings history: Peja Stojaković saves Chris Webber’s career night

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A perfect overtime period from Stojaković helped Webber celebrate a career milestone on this day in Kings history.

Chris Webber #4

March 27, 2001 was a frustrating night for the Sacramento Kings.

In the first half of their game against the New York Knicks at the ARCO Arena that Tuesday night, they gave up 64 points to the Knicks, who, at the time, scored the second-fewest point per game in the NBA (88.5). Comparatively, the Kings scored the most points in the league (101), led by their superstar forward Chris Webber, who was playing the best basketball of his life.

Going into the game, Webber was averaging 27.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.9 blocks per game while averaging 40.7 minutes per game. Webber was the only player in the NBA averaging at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and a block per game that season, so it’s no wonder he finished fourth in MVP voting at the end of the season.

Webber needed just 10 points against the Knicks to reach a career milestone of 10,000 points, and he did it in the second quarter with a right-handed hook shot over the extended arms of Kurt Thomas. Webber scored 18 points int he first half, but the Knicks — a stout defensive team coached by Jeff Van Gundy — were giving the Kings all sorts of problems on the other end, and held them to 47 points in the half.

The Knicks went into the locker room with a comfortable 17-point lead, and the Kings were pissed about it, as detailed in this AP report from the game:

“At halftime, the Sacramento Kings entered their locker room in a self-loathing rage. They kicked chairs, threw water cups and cursed themselves after a dismal performance against the New York Knicks.”

That emotion was prevalent in how they played in the second half.

Peja Stojakovic #16

In the third quarter, the Kings outscored the Knicks 31-19 thanks to an energized Jason Williams. They also did a better job of containing Marcus Camby, which probably had something to do with the fact that Rick Adelman played all but one of his starters* the entire quarter.

*Webber played 11:18.

With 7:23 left to go in the fourth quarter, the Kings took their first lead since the 6:46 mark of the first quarter on the backs of Webber and Peja Stojaković, who started to heat up in the fourth quarter after scoring just 6 points on 2-7 shooting from the field through the first three frames. The Knicks hung around, too, but a combination of costly turnovers from them and a few big shots by the Kings — particularly Jason Williams — resulted in the Knicks trailing by 3 points with 11.9 seconds left.

Sacramento was going to inbound the ball out of the timeout, the Knicks were going to foul, and the game was going to be over — or so they thought. Once the ball was inbounded, the Knicks double-teamed Doug Christie, who tried to get the ball to Williams with no luck. The Knicks pushed the ball up the court and found Kurt Thomas in the corner for a potential game-tying 3-pointer.

On the season, Thomas had attempted two 3-pointers and missed both of them. In his career up to that point, he had only made one 3-pointer in seven tries.

On March 27, 2001, Thomas made his second career 3-pointer, and it sent the game to overtime. It was Kings’ second overtime game of the month and 11th of the season.

Fortunately for the Kings, it seems that was all that the Knicks had left to give, as Sacramento outscored New York 14-7 in the first and only overtime period. Twelve of their 14 overtime points came from Stojaković, who shot a perfect 4-4 from the field in the overtime period. It may have been Webber’s night — especially with the ridiculous 39 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals he racked up — but Stojaković made sure Webber would have fond memories of his milestone night.

The Kings beat the Knicks 124-117, and that’s what happened today in Kings history.

All stats were provided by Basketball Reference and NBA.com unless otherwise noted. If there are any details from the day that you think I missed, leave a comment below!