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Kings cruise by Hornets in Musselman's return to sidelines

Oct 23, 2006 - 3:17 AM RENO, Nevada (Ticker) -- The Sacramento Kings won a basketball game Sunday, but it probably ranked second to having their coach back on the sidelines.

Ron Artest scored 22 points and Francisco Garcia added 15 as the Kings cruised to a 117-93 preseason victory over the New Orleans Hornets.

The game marked the return to the bench for Kings coach Eric Musselman, who was arrested early Saturday morning in Sacramento on suspicion of drunk driving after a victory over Utah on Friday night.

He offered a teary-eyed apology for his arrest on Sunday, and Kings owners Gavin and Joe Maloof said no disciplinary action would be taken against the 41-year-old, who was hired on June 3 to replace fired coach Rick Adelman.

The Kings rallied around their coach and shot a crisp 56 percent (41-of-73) from the field while receiving contributions from Brad Miller and Kevin Martin, who each had 14. Miller also led the team with eight rebounds.

The Hornets, who were down nine at halftime and 14 at the end of three quarters, were led by Peja Stojakovic's 15 points and Chris Paul, who contributed 14 and five assists. The Hornets shot 45 percent (34-of-75) but were just 2-of-11 from 3-point range.

After winning their initial preseason game vs. Dallas on October 10, the Hornets have lost five straight.

Kings guard Mike Bibby suffered a jammed right thumb attempting to make a steal with 9:20 remaining in the third quarter. The nine-year veteran, who handed out seven assists, did not return.

The teams face each other again Tuesday in Acro Arena.

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