Kings vs. Mavericks (February 26, 2003)
If the Kings and the SSOL Suns games seemed high-paced in the 2000s, you almost felt dizzy watching the Kings and the Dallas Mavericks play each other back in the day. Final tallies with both teams scoring 120+ points were not uncommon.
With many Kings-Mavericks games to choose from, let’s focus on this classic matchup from the winter of 2003, which you may remember better as the Keon Clark game. This was a typical high-octane game, with seven Kings and six Mavs scoring in double figures. Stojakovic scored 36 points thanks to multiple trips to the free-throw line while adding 10 rebounds. On the other side, Michael Finley put in a peak Michael Finley performance with 31 points on 5 for 11 shooting from deep. Dirk Nowitzki put up a monster line, finishing with 36 points and 13 rebounds.
However, it all came down to a timely rebound and putback by Keon Clark, another unsung one-season King. Clark had put up a quiet, but super-efficient, night off the bench; he finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, shooting 6/8 from the floor. No basket was better-timed than his last. The game was already in overtime, and was in danger of going another extra period. Enter Clark. Having already snagged a rebound off of a Dirk miss, he was in the right place at the right time after a Bibby airball to win the game. Clark got the offensive board and threw up a soft floater to put the Kings up with 0.4 on the clock.
It’s a fun game to revisit, as the 2002-03 Kings squad was arguably more talented and deep than the 61-win team that nearly won a championship the year before. This match was a good example of why. The game also gets bonus points for providing us a vintage giddy Grant Napear freakout once Clark’s shot goes in.