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Magic endure another second-half collapse in loss to Kings

Mar 18, 2007 - 3:30 AM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- With another second-half collapse, the Orlando Magic adopted their primary personality.

The Magic continued their free-fall in the Eastern Conference standings by scoring just 31 points in the second half of a 95-83 loss to the Sacramento Kings, who snapped a five-game losing streak.

Kevin Martin scored 20 points and Ron Artest added 19 for the Kings, who used a second-half surge and a parade to the free-throw line to win for the first time on their road trip.

The Magic (30-37) showed their schizophrenic side with Wednesday's 101-90 win over Utah, one of the top teams in the NBA. But they could not build on that, reverting to sloppy, uninspired play that has seen them lose 11 of 13 games.

"It's very disappointing, very disappointing," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "I'm just disappointed in our performance."

"I think we kind of let this one slip away," Orlando All-Star center Dwight Howard said.

Orlando held a 52-42 halftime lead and boosted the advantage to 62-50 on a jumper by Grant Hill with 4:50 left in the third quarter. But the Magic managed just one basket over the next eight-plus minutes and surrendered control.

"The second half, defensively, they really didn't have many easy looks at all," Kings coach Eric Musselman said.

The Kings put together a 23-3 run fueled by eight points by Mike Bibby. A pair of free throws by Francisco Garcia capped the burst at 73-65 with 9:32 to play.

"It was not a good first half when we were down 10," said Bibby, who scored 16 points. "I don't know how long it was that they didn't score, but when we were down, we kept pushing and pushing."

"It's very frustrating, especially between the first and second halves," Magic rookie guard J.J. Redick said. "We've had two days here and Sacramento is playing their fourth game in five days. And they were the team that had more energy in the second half."

Sacramento never trailed thereafter, although Orlando pulled within 81-79 on a jumper by Trevor Ariza with 3:05 left. Artest had a pair of baskets around two free throws by Martin before Corliss Williamson's three-point play sealed matters at 90-79 with 57 seconds remaining.

Sacramento made 42-of-48 free throws, including 20-of-23 in the final period. Martin was just 1-of-8 from the field but 17-of-20 from the line.

"That is definitely shocking," he said. "I have never seen it before."

John Salmons scored 13 points for the Kings, who shot just 34 percent (24-of-71) and were beaten on the boards, 41-36, but committed just nine turnovers.

"Sometimes shots are not going to fall in and some games you are going to have to win it with defense," Artest said. "Tonight we pretty much won because of our defense."

The Kings held Howard to six points on 2-of-10 shooting, forcing the big man into five turnovers.

"I thought we had a swarming defense every time he caught the ball," Musselman said. "We did a great job collapsing and got to the perimeter and contested the three-ball, which has been a problem."

Jameer Nelson scored 23 points and Ariza added 17 for the Magic, who shot 42 percent (31-of-74) and made 20-of-25 free throws. Orlando committed 18 turnovers, leading to 26 points for Sacramento.

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