Martin, Rockets keep rolling with win over KingsDec 20, 2010 - 6:51 AM Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) - Kevin Martin finished with 22 points, including a crucial three-point play late in the fourth quarter that helped the Houston Rockets beat Sacramento, 102-93.
Luis Scola added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Rockets, who have won four of five and continued their productive December. After going 5-12 through October and November, Houston has started this month 7-3.
That guard Aaron Brooks returned to the court Sunday should only help the Rockets. Brooks had not played since November 6 because of a sprained left ankle and ended with nine points in 15 minutes.
DeMarcus Cousins netted 19 points to pace the Kings, who scored only 12 points in the fourth quarter on 5-of-18 shooting and lost for a fifth consecutive game.
"We obviously haven't learned the secret yet of winning basketball games in the fourth quarter," Kings head coach Paul Westphal said. "I could be off by one or so, but I think it's probably six out of the last eight games we've either had the lead, or been right there with the chance to win the game, in the last couple minutes of the fourth quarter, and tonight was the same story."
Sacramento held a two-point lead entering the fourth, and it was close for most of the quarter, with three lead changes and three ties. Cousins re- entered the game halfway through the period and had an immediate impact down low, working into the paint for a hook shot that pulled the Kings within 93-91.
The scoring was sparse over the next several minutes, and with 2:10 left, Cousins' layup kept Sacramento within two. But at the other end, Martin drilled a 15-foot runner as he was fouled, and sank the free throw for a 98-93 edge -- the largest fourth-quarter margin for either team to that point.
The Rockets continued to pull away, scoring the game's final seven points in all, as Sacramento faltered down the stretch. Following the Cousins layup, the Kings missed all three of their shots and turned the ball over twice.
Sacramento committed six of their 13 turnovers in the fourth, and while the Rockets had 22 total turnovers, only five came in the decisive quarter.
"We've been talking about raising our level lately and that's what we did in the fourth quarter," Rockets guard Kyle Lowry said. "We raised our level. We held a good team to 12 points and that's big and huge for us."
The Kings held a 31-26 lead after the first quarter, and were up by as many as nine before carrying a 57-52 edge into the break.
Cousins opened the second half with a jumper and Donte Greene followed with a three to give Sacramento its largest lead of the game, 62-52. But Martin and Shane Battier countered with threes of their own to slice Houston's deficit, and it was a single-digit game the rest of the quarter.
The Rockets' Chase Budinger drilled a trey to tie the game in the period's final minute, but Carl Landry's two free throws with 1.3 seconds on the clock provided Sacramento an 81-79 edge moving to the fourth.
Lowry had 13 points, seven assists and six boards for the Rockets...Tyreke Evans and Francisco Garcia scored 14 points apiece for the Kings, while Landry added 11...Sacramento shot 38.5 percent from the field...Houston held a 50-38 rebounding edge.
- HOUSTON: 102
Dec 19 8:27 PM
- HOUSTON: 79
End of 3rd
Dec 19 7:51 PM
- HOUSTON: 52
Dec 19 7:10 PM
- HOUSTON: 26
End of 1st
Dec 19 6:40 PM
- HOUSTON: 0
1st Quarter - 15:00
Dec 19 6:12 PM
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