Sacramento Kings

How the Kings made Sacramento playoff history 17 years ago

Robert Horry's buzzer beater still haunts Doug Christie, Bobby Jackson

Former L.A. Laker Robert Horry's miraculous, buzzer-beating shot in 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals still haunts players from the Sacramento Kings.
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Former L.A. Laker Robert Horry's miraculous, buzzer-beating shot in 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals still haunts players from the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings haven't had much postseason success in Sacramento.

With the Minnesota Timberwolves reaching the playoffs this season, the Kings hold the NBA's longest current postseason drought at 12 years.

However, on this day in 2001, they had cause for celebration.

In what was their fifth postseason appearance since moving to Sacramento in 1985, the Kings won their first playoff series since 1981, when they were in Kansas City.

The Kings eliminated the Phoenix Suns on May 2, 2001, with an 89-82 victory in Game 4 of what was then a best-of-five series.

"This is, by far in my professional career, the best feeling I've ever had," Kings forward Chris Webber said following the victory in Phoenix, according to The Bee's archives.

It was Webber's first postseason series victory as well. He'd been in the playoffs with the Golden State Warriors and Washington Bullets, but never gotten out of the first round.

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Peja Stojakovic led the way in that clincher, scoring 37 points on 10-of-18 shooting and making all 14 of his free throws.

"Peja just took over," Kings center Vlade Divac said.

"(Stojakovic) got the best of Shawn (Marion)," Suns coach Scott Skiles said.

"I stopped having fun out there," said Marion, who guarded Stojakovic for most of the game.

The 3-1 series victory meant a second-round date with the Los Angeles Lakers, a series they'd lose in a four-game sweep.

The Kings' previous postseason trips in Sacramento ended with first-round losses to the Houston Rockets (0-3) in 1986, their first season in California; the Seattle SuperSonics (1-3) in 1996; the Utah Jazz (2-3) in 1999 and the Lakers (2-3) in 2000.

The Kings' deepest playoff run in Sacramento came in 2002, when they lost to the Lakers 4-3 in the Western Conference finals. Sacramento's last postseason appearance was in 2006, a 4-2 first-round loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

On May 26, 2002, the Sacramento Kings were looking to go ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers 3-1 in the Western Conference finals. Kings center Vlade Divac slapped the ball out of the key to the three-point line. The rest is history.

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