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Kings catch Lakers in division

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Chris Webber stayed in his groove, even when he had to stoop down to do it.

Webber had 28 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists as the Sacramento Kings won their eighth straight game and finally caught up to the Lakers in the Pacific Division, beating the Phoenix Suns 103-100 on Sunday night.

Though he capably led Sacramento to its NBA-best 20th home victory of the season, Webber was frustrated by the quick Suns' small lineups and perimeter shooting game.

"That's the reason why I tried to lose weight and get quicker in the summer: playing against Phoenix in the playoffs," said Webber, who's averaging more than 27 points over his past five games.

"I'm glad we don't play Phoenix any more (this season). They're a quick, small bunch of guys, and I have to be faster to keep up. I'm glad they traded Cliff Robinson, and I'm glad we're finished playing them."

With the victory, Sacramento (27-9) moved into a virtual tie with the Lakers (26-8), who have led the division all season despite the Kings' best start in franchise history.

Injuries, inactivity and an irritating opponent couldn't cool the Kings. Returning from a six-day break, the Kings got their 13th straight win at Arco Arena — but it wasn't easy.

Playing without injured starters Mike Bibby and Vlade Divac, the Kings never took a comfortable lead against Phoenix, which got 33 points from Stephon Marbury but lost for the sixth time in seven games.

"We struggled shooting the ball, which you expect after being away," coach Rick Adelman said. "I was really pleased with the way the guys stayed with it."

The Suns got within 96-93 on Shawn Marion's jumper with 53 seconds left, but Hedo Turkoglu hit two free throws and Webber stole a deflected pass to seal the Kings' third straight win over Phoenix — and one of their few close home victories this season.

Tony Delk hit a 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left for the Suns, who never led in the second half despite shooting a better percentage than the Kings and making fewer turnovers. "We clawed back into it, but right at the very end, we had trouble making the big play," coach Scott Skiles said.

Peja Stojakovic had 25 points to win his always-entertaining duel with Marion at small forward. Bobby Jackson ably filled Bibby's starting spot at point guard with 18 points. Penny Hardaway had 11 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for the Suns, and Rodney Rogers had 24 points and eight rebounds in a reserve role. Marion scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half.

TRAIL BLAZERS 96, CAVALIERS 64: In Portland, Ore., Bonzi Wells scored 18 points, and Portland used a 19-0 third-quarter run to rout Cleveland for the second time in a week.

Scottie Pippen added 13 points, Damon Stoudamire had 11 assists and Rasheed Wallace 11 rebounds for the Blazers, who have won three straight for just the second time this season.

Lamond Murray scored 16 points to lead the Cavaliers, who lost their sixth straight. The Cavs, outscored 54-28 in the second half, threatened the franchise record for fewest points in a game — 59, set against San Antonio on March 25, 1997.

The Blazers beat Cleveland by 26 points last Monday.

CLIPPERS 79, RAPTORS 72: Lamar Odom and Michael Olowokandi each scored 16 points as Los Angeles snapped a four-game losing streak with a victory over Toronto.

Vince Carter had 31 points for the Raptors, who shot 33 percent from the field.

Elton Brand added 15 rebounds and 12 points for the Clippers, who won for just the third time in 15 road games this season.