Artest, Bibby lift Kings over HornetsFeb 6, 2007 - 7:28 AM SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- Thanks to Ron Artest and Mike Bibby, the Sacramento Kings continued their home-court dominance over the New Orleans Hornets.
Artest scored 21 points and Bibby added 19 as the Kings raced out to an early lead and held off a Hornets' third-quarter rally en route to a 105-99 victory.
Sacramento has won three straight, while the Hornets lost for the second time in their last seven games.
"We played well together," Bibby said. "Everybody was running, and we had a lot of easy transition points. I tried to push the ball and just try to make easy baskets for everybody, and it worked."
"The gameplan was to make sure we got back on defense in transition and don't give up any open looks," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "I told the team at halftime, if we want to look at a tape of what not to do, this was perfect. For whatever reason we didn't come ready to play."
The Kings have won 11 consecutive games at home over the Hornets, who have not won in Sacramento since January 12, 1997.
Sacramento used a 10-0 run to take a 40-24 lead after the first quarter and led, 63-50, at halftime. Bibby made 6-of-7 shots in the first half and Artest added 12 points.
"It was all right but we didn't sustain it throughout the whole four quarters," Artest said of the Kings' fast start. "We had to really fight for that win. Hopefully next time we can hold onto that lead, keep a team down and make it really hard for a team to get back into the game."
"We put ourselves in a situation where we had to fight back the whole game," Hornets guard Desmond Mason said. "When you do that, you tend to run out of gas or get mentally tired or frustrated. I think that's what happened to us. We got behind the eight ball early."
Bibby rebounded from a poor performance in a 94-87 win over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday when he shot 25 percent (4-of-16) from the floor and from the arc (2-of-8).
"Mike has been having a difficult time making shots, but he's not giving up," Artest said. "That gives me confidence. He knocked big shots at the beginning and one big shot at the end. He was in a nice rhythm tonight."
The Hornets trailed, 76-60, midway through the third quarter before they embarked on a 17-4 run, capped by Paul's three-point play with 2:34 left that sliced Sacramento's lead to 80-77.
The Hornets closed to 91-90 on Tyson Chandler's jumper with 6:38 to play but never got closer. They trailed, 100-97, with 32 seconds left before Artest sank two free throws for a 102-97 advantage.
Kevin Martin, who scored 14 points, made both of his free throws with 15 seconds left to give the Kings a 105-99 lead.
Paul led the Hornets with 24 points and Mason scored 17.
"We weren't aggressive early offensively, and we dug ourselves too deep of a hole," Paul said. "When we finally fought back, it was too late."
Sacramento shot 50 percent (8-of-16) from 3-point range and the Hornets shot 33 percent (5-of-15).
NEW ORLEANS 99
SACRAMENTO 105 FINAL
Feb 6 12:17 AM
NEW ORLEANS 79
SACRAMENTO 87 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 5 11:40 PM
NEW ORLEANS 50
SACRAMENTO 63 HALFTIME
Feb 5 11:02 PM
NEW ORLEANS 24
SACRAMENTO 40 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 5 10:34 PM
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