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Martin, Kings spoils Adelman's return to Arco

Dec 2, 2007 - 6:55 AM By Tom Galland PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- Rick Adelman enjoyed the moment as he received a standing ovation upon being announced to the Arco Arena crowd. In the end, it was his former team that was left smiling.

Kevin Martin came on strong in the second half, finishing with 26 points, and Ron Artest also scored 26 to help the Sacramento Kings spoil Adelman's return with Saturday's 107-99 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Adelman guided Sacramento to playoff appearances in each of his eight campaigns (1998-2006) and won 50 or more games in five consecutive seasons under his leadership, including back-to-back division titles. He remains the winningest coach in franchise history at 295 career wins.

"It's a special place and the fans here have always been terrific," Adelman said. "It was strange coming back. I would have liked to get a win, but you've got to move on. But I really appreciated the response they gave me."

"He turned my career around when I got here," Artest said of Adelman. "I was out of shape, coming off a lot of controversy, and he put the ball in my hands. He looked like a genius, so I'll always have a lot of respect for the guy."

Tracy McGrady scored 40 points for the third time this season and Yao Ming added 29 for the Rockets, who finished 2-2 on their four-game road trip.

Martin and McGrady put on an offensive show in the third period. Martin shook off a slow start to score 14 in the quarter as the Kings pulled ahead, 70-63. But McGrady kept the game close with 15 points to cut the deficit to 79-74 heading into the fourth.

Martin stayed hot in the fourth, erasing the memory of his poor showing in the final period during Wednesday's seven-point loss to Golden State.

"It was time to get going a little bit," said Martin, who scored 21 points after the break. "I was definitely more aggressive. Not just finding shots, but creating for others."

Martin hit a 3-pointer to put the Kings up nine just over two minutes into the quarter. After Yao made two free throws, Francisco Garcia converted a three-point play as the Kings pushed the lead to 89-79 with 9:15 left.

McGrady scored on a three-point play of his own to pull the Rockets within five and former King Bonzi Wells scored on a breakaway layup to slice the lead to 95-92 with 4:31 remaining.

Beno Udrih drove to the basket and picked up the sixth foul on Yao, who also picked up a technical and was ejected. Martin converted the technical and Udrih split two free throws to make it 101-94 with three minutes left.

"I don't blame Yao for getting frustrated," Adelman said. "He shot 13 free throws, but he should have shot a lot more than that. You can talk about the officials, frustration on Yao's part, but basically they just outplayed us."

McGrady countered with a tough 20-foot jumper from the wing but John Salmons answered with a three-point play moments later to provide the Kings with a 104-96 cushion with 2:32 to play.

"It's a quality win for us," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "I thought that everybody did their jobs. For a short period of time, there we were looking like we were going back to shooting jumpers. We had a little bit of a timeout and conversation. After that, everybody starting going to the hole again for us, and that was big."

"I can live with us missing shots, it just happens," McGrady said. "But I can't live with us turning the ball over, fouling on the other end. That's what happened. Whatever (Sacramento) wanted, they got it."

Yao got the Rockets rolling out of the gate, scoring Houston's first eight points and finishing with 16 on 7-of-8 shooting in the first for a 29-26 advantage.

Reserves Luther Head and Mike James combined for 11 points to give the Rockets their biggest lead, 40-32, midway in the second. But Artest keyed a 12-0 run with five points and stellar defense on McGrady to bring Sacramento within 50-49 at halftime.

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