- The Washington Times - Monday, May 17, 2004

From combined dispatches

The Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons remained alive in the NBA conference semifinals yesterday, but both still have business to take care of in Game 7 of their respective series.

Chris Webber, who guaranteed the Kings would defeat Minnesota at Arco Arena to force a Game 7 Wednesday night back in Minneapolis, helped Sacramento rip the Timberwolves 104-87.

“Right now is the time we all dreamed about: Game 7,” Webber said. “We’re ready. … I’m very confident, but no more predictions.”

It might be a wise move. The Kings haven’t won a Game 7 on the road since they were based in Kansas City and beat Phoenix in 1981.

Mike Bibby had 16 points, 10 assists and five rebounds in Sacramento’s rout, while Webber had 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

The winner of the series will face the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals beginning Friday night.

Meanwhile, the Pistons outslugged New Jersey 81-75 in East Rutherford, N.J., to send the series back to the Palace at Auburn Hills on Thursday.

Richard Hamilton pump-faked Jason Kidd off his feet and drilled a clutch 18-footer with 15.5 seconds remaining, capping a 24-point performance that kept Detroit’s season alive.

Hamilton was the most productive member of Detroit’s offense for the second time in three games, the Pistons choosing to attack whichever player Kidd was defending.

His final shot capped an 11-for-24 performance that also included five rebounds and four assists. Rasheed Wallace added 14 points, Ben Wallace grabbed 20 rebounds — all in the first three quarters — and Chauncey Billups added 11 to lead an otherwise anemic Pistons offense.

The winner of the Pistons-Nets series advances to the Eastern Conference finals beginning Saturday. New Jersey will be looking to make it there for the third straight year, while Detroit will try to get there for the second consecutive season.

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