SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Doug Christie simply would not let the Sacramento Kings be eliminated in Arco Arena - even with Nick Van Exel almost singlehandedly trying to put Dallas into the conference finals.
Christie had 20 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a steal to lead the Kings to a 115-109 victory over the Mavericks on Thursday night, tying their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series at 3.
Sacramento coach Rick Adelman threw his arm up in the air in excitement during the final seconds. Game 7 is Saturday night in Dallas.
The Mavericks remain one win from their first trip to the conference finals, while the Kings' quest for the franchise's first title in 52 seasons still is alive.
Van Exel was 15-for-23 for 35 points in 37 minutes, and Sacramento had no one who could guard him. He leapt high for a rebound and scored on a putback with 8:16 left for a 95-94 lead, but the Mavericks didn't score for 5:05.
Dirk Nowitzki added 21 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas. Michael Finley had 21 points, seven boards and four assists.
Peja Stojakovic had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, who played their fourth game in the series without injured star Chris Webber. Sacramento overcame a sluggish first quarter and converted 31 of 32 free throws, including 31 straight. Reserves Bobby Jackson and Jim Jackson had 21 and 16 points, respectively.
PISTONS: Point guard Chauncey Billups might miss Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals because of a lingering ankle injury.
Billups underwent additional tests on his left ankle Thursday, but his status for today's game against the 76ers was unknown. Detroit leads the best-of-seven series 3-2.
Billups sprained his left ankle in Game 1, and after missing two games, he limped through 23 minutes in Game 4. He was expected to start Game 5 on Wednesday, but was scratched.
Jordan offered role
CHARLOTTE - Bob Johnson is prepared to wait until July for Michael Jordan to decide if he wants to join Charlotte's expansion franchise.
Johnson said he recently gave Jordan his sales pitch, telling him the "door is wide open" for Jordan to come to Charlotte as a minority owner, team president or both.
Jordan told Johnson he needs time to decide his next move. Jordan parted ways with the Wizards last week when majority owner Abe Pollin decided he didn't want Jordan back in a front-office role.
"Michael said he has to be deliberate about looking at other options," Johnson said. "... But I've made up my mind, he's welcome as a part owner, team president, whatever he wants."
HAWKS: Forward Glenn Robinson was found guilty on domestic battery and assault charges for shoving his former fiancee in her house last July.
He was found not guilty on a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm, said Jerry Lawrence, a spokesman for the Cook County, Ill., state attorney's office.
Robinson was sentenced to one year conditional discharge, a form of probation. Robinson also must undergo anger management counseling and complete five days of a work program run by the sheriff's office.