On this date in 2002, the Sacramento Kings hosted the Dallas Mavericks in what ended up being a double overtime thriller in Arco Arena.
The date was May 10th, 2003. The Sacramento Kings were taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals, and the Kings were reeling. They trotted out what many consider to be their most talented team that season, but disaster struck just two days prior when Chris Webber suffered a career-altering knee injury that essentially slammed the team’s playoff window shut.
Game 3 would be the first game without their star power forward for Sacramento, but it ended up being a classic battle.
A young Hedo Turkoglu was thrust in to the starting lineup and Keon Clark got extended minutes due to the Webber injury, but the scoring was made up for in other places. Bobby Jackson had 16 big points off of the bench, and Jim Jackson added 11.
While the scoring from the Kings reserves was solid, the Mavericks had a Super Sub.
31-year old Nick Van Exel averaged 12.5 points per game that season, the lowest mark in his career up to that point. He started just one regular season game. But when that year’s postseason rolled around, Van Exel had a throwback to his Laker days. He upped his scoring average to 19.5 points over Dallas’ 20 playoff games, including this monster against the Sacramento:
Van Exel torched the Kings with a 40 burger off of the bench.
Granted, he did play 48+ minutes as the Kings and Mavericks endured a double overtime thriller. A floater from Van Exel with 3 seconds left in regulation sent the game in to its first extra period. Doug Christie hit two big threes for Sacramento in the first overtime, which caused the suited Webber to stand up in triumph on the bench, and Mike Tirico to comment that it was the first time that Webber had smiled in two days.
Van Exel exploded in the second overtime period, scoring 8 of the Mavericks 16 points and putting a cap on possibly the best/most important game he ever played in his career.
The Mavericks would win, 141-137. Peja Stojakovic had 39 points.
The Kings would do their best to figure things out without the help of Webber, and they even pushed the Mavericks all the way to a Game 7. Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash ended up being too much for Sacramento in the end, and would go on to take on the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs.
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