Without Artest, Martin leads Kings to fourth straight winMar 7, 2007 - 7:38 AM SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- Kevin Martin and the Sacramento Kings didn't need Ron Artest to continue their winning streak.
In the first game without the excused Artest, Martin scored 27 points and Mike Bibby added 22 as the Kings nearly blew a 20-point third-quarter lead but held on for their fourth straight win, a 102-98 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
In yet another incident illustrating his troublesome nature, Artest was excused indefinitely from team activity after Monday's arrest on felony domestic violence charges.
"We had a lot of guys contribute in a lot of areas, which is what we are going to need," Sacramento coach Eric Musselman said. "Obviously, at the pace that (Artest) had played at - he was playing at an all-league pace the last month and a half - so it was important that we had different guys step up."
Kings guard John Salmons agreed that Artest will be missed.
"Artest is the type of player that we miss when we are cutting it close in the end of games," Salmons said. "One aspect of his game that we will miss is him taking it on the block down the stretch. Artest is good at forcing the fouls and stopping other teams' momentum."
A former Pacer, Artest also triggered the infamous brawl at The Palace of Auburn Hills in November 2004, and publicly requested a trade just over a year later. An All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year while with Indiana, Artest vowed to change when he was dealt to the Kings during the 2005-06 season.
But after Artest's latest transgression, Sacramento had to rely on guard Kevin Martin, who is the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week. On Tuesday, Martin shot 8-of-17 from the field, including 2-of-7 from the arc.
"(Martin's) playing good," Bibby said. "He's doing the points, the boards and he's doing it without taking a bunch of shots. He's efficient and he plays hard."
Trailing by 20 points with 5:58 left in the third quarter, Indiana went on a 16-0 run to get back into the game, capped by Troy Murphy's dunk to make it 78-74 with 1:05 in the period.
"We fought back in the second half and we got it to two and had some real chances," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle. "Right now, we aren't shooting the ball well enough. We were 1-of-16 from the three and we had a lot of really quality looks."
Jermaine O'Neal had 22 points and 12 rebounds for Indiana, which shot 49 percent (41-of-84) in absorbing their sixth straight loss.
FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
INDIANA 22 20 32 24 98
SACRAMENTO 30 27 24 21 102 FINAL
HIGH SCORERS: IND - MIKE DUNLEAVY 24, TROY MURPHY 19, JAMAAL
SAC - KEVIN MARTIN 27, MIKE BIBBY 22, CORLISS
Mar 7 12:28 AM
SACRAMENTO 81 END, 3RD QTR
Mar 6 11:50 PM
SACRAMENTO 57 HALFTIME
Mar 6 11:12 PM
SACRAMENTO 30 END, 1ST QTR
Mar 6 10:37 PM
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