The Sacramento Kings considered it a measuring stick game. By the time it ended, they were standing a whole lot taller than the New Jersey Nets in East Rutherford, N.J.
The second-best team in the West humiliated the top team in the East, going on a 38-10 run bridging the first and second quarters in a 118-82 victory last night that prevented the Nets from matching the longest winning streak in franchise history -- 11 games.
It was the first home loss for the Nets since Nov. 16, when the West's other powerhouse -- the Dallas Mavericks -- beat them by eight. That game at least was competitive, a quality this game lacked for a majority of its 48 minutes as the Kings built a 42-point lead.
"I'm stunned. I didn't expect to lose by 36 points," Nets Coach Byron Scott said. "Not a good time to play one of your worst games."
Peja Stojakovic scored 24 points, Mike Bibby added 23 and Chris Webber had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, who won their fourth in a row to improve to 27-9.
The Kings took the Nets out of their running game, were the aggressors on both ends of the court and kept New Jersey from making any kind of a run after taking a big lead by the end of the first quarter.
"We all came in focused. We know they're the best in the East, and we wanted to see how we measure up against them," Webber said.
Jason Kidd was outplayed by Bibby, finishing with 10 points on 5-for-17 shooting.
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With the score tied at 80, Dale Davis hit a turnaround jumper and Anderson added a layup with 1:30 left. Tim Duncan scored, and his free throw pulled the Spurs within 84-83. But Pippen's running jumper stretched the Blazers' lead and Anderson's driving layup with 17 seconds left put them ahead 88-83. Duncan narrowed it again to 88-85 with 7.7 seconds to go, but Tony Parker fouled Anderson. He made both foul shots, and Parker's layup with a second left didn't matter.