Trailing by 16 heading into the fourth quarter, Memphis rallied but couldn't cut the Kings lead to less than seven in a 106-98 defeat Sunday. Pau Gasol led the Grizzlies with 26 points and 12 boards and rookie Drew Gooden added 17 points. Memphis continues its five-game road trip Monday against Golden State.
Details of Sunday's game, ticker:Peja Stojakovic is finding his form at just the right time.
Stojakovic scored a season-high 30 points as the Sacramento Kings opened a big lead and held on for their fifth win in six games, a 106-98 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
An All-Star for the first time last season, Stojakovic was bothered by a left ankle injury in the playoffs, missing six games. He spent the summer helping his native Yugoslavia win the World Championships but never fully recovered from the injury.
This season, Stojakovic missed 10 games with plantar fasciaitis in his right foot. He came in averaging just under 16 points per game, more than five points off last season's pace.
"It still bothers me, but hopefully it's going to go away," Stojakovic said. "But it's feeling better.
But with league-leading Dallas coming to town Wednesday for a highly anticipated showdown, Stojakovic displayed the stroke that made him the 2002 Shootout champion at All-Star Weekend. He made 12-of-19 shots Sunday, including 3-of-4 from the arc.
"Every time I step on the floor, I have to be aggressive," Stojakovic said. "I have to use my minutes and help my team."
Stojakovic scored 12 points in the first quarter, when the Kings built a 16-point lead. They led by as many as 20 points in the third period before repelling a rally by the Grizzlies, who pulled within six points with 5 1/2 minutes to go.
Chris Webber had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, who improved to 16-2 at Arco Arena. At 28-10, they are leading the Pacific Division by four games but trail Dallas by four games in the race for the NBA's best record.
They're coming into our house and we're going to be ready for them," Webber said. "It's that simple."
"It's one of those games when you want to see where you are and how you match up with an opponent you may see in the playoffs," Kings center Vlade Divac said.
Pau Gasol had 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who fell to 0-3 on their six-game road trip. Memphis is 1-6 on the road, matching Chicago for the worst mark in the NBA.
"We're not able to finish a game up," Gasol said. "We're doing a much better job at home, finishing those close games."
The Kings have beaten the Grizzlies six straight times overall and 10 in a row at home dating to April 19, 1998.
A hook by Gasol and a jumper by Earl Watson made it 97-91 with 5:35 remaining, but the Grizzlies went scoreless for more than two minutes, committing turnovers and taking bad shots.
"We were looking like, 'Here we come,' like we always do," Memphis coach Hubie Brown said. "We had two turnovers, call timeout, run a fast break, take a three."
Divac made a pair of easy baskets before Watson threw in a runner with 3:15 to play. Divac and Stromile Swift traded free throws before a cutting Stojakovic took a feed form Divac and made a layup for a 104-94 lead with 2:06 left.
"In this league, you let a team get their head up a little bit - and they got their heads up - they made it a lot harder than it had to be," Kings coach Rick Adelman said.
Mike Bibby scored 17 points and Doug Christie added 19 and nine assists for the Kings, who shot 42 percent (44-of-104) from the field.
Rookie Drew Gooden scored 17 points and Swift and Jason Williams added 13 each for the Grizzlies, who shot 45 percent (43-of-95) but missed all 11 3-pointers.
"We talked about the three at halftime because we are a very good shooting team from the 3-point line," Brown said. "But tonight we were 0-for-6 from the 3-point line at halftime."
Despite falling in a 7-0 hole, Sacramento quickly took control. A basket by Gasol pulled the Grizzlies within 23-19 with 3:14 left in the first quarter before the Kings ran off nine straight points.
Webber had a jumper and three-point play, Christie made two free throws and Stojakovic hit a jumper for a 32-19 lead with 1:45 to go. Christie's three-point play and a dunk by Keon Clark made it 37-21 with 37 seconds remaining.
A jumper by Bobby Jackson pushed the advantage to 43-24 with 9:36 to go in the second quarter. Sacramento held a 61-47 halftime lead and opened its largest bulge at 87-67 on a 3-pointer by Stojakovic with 2:05 left in the third period.