for this game

Salmons helps Kings hold off Bucks

Dec 11, 2007 - 7:10 AM By Tom Galland PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) - With a long road stretch looming, the Sacramento Kings made sure they took care of business at home.

John Salmons scored 22 points and Brad Miller chipped in 17 and 10 rebounds as the Kings held on to defeat the struggling Milwaukee Bucks at Arco Arena, 96-93, on Monday.

Sacramento heads to Beantown to face the streaking Boston Celtics on Wednesday, kicking off a five-game East Coast swing.

Trailing by 10 points in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, the Kings rallied behind Francisco Garcia, who hit a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play to ignite a 12-0 run.

After a Milwaukee turnover, Salmons scored on a dunk to cap the burst and give the Kings their first lead since the opening quarter, 78-76.

"Coming into tonight's game, we had to get back on track for a lot of reasons," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "We've been playing well at home and we've got to continue to do that. Going on a five-game road trip, it's important to start off with a positive attitude and really to look at some opportunities to get our first win on the road this trip."

Two free throws by Beno Udrih gave the Kings their biggest lead of the night, 91-87, with just over three minutes remaining.

Mo Williams buried a 3-pointer for Milwaukee and Michael Redd followed with an acrobatic driving layup to put the Bucks back on top by one. However, Udrih hit a baseline jumper moments later.

After Milwaukee's Andrew Bogut split a pair from the line, Ron Artest broke a 93-93 tie with a tough shot in the paint with under a minute to go. Miller stole a pass on Milwaukee's possession and Salmons made one of two free throws to make it 96-93.

Artest had missed his first seven shots of the game and was just 3-of-13 before coming through late.

"I told Ron the whole game, you're going to give us a big bucket," Garcia said. "That's what he did at the end of the game."

Redd still had a chance to force overtime, but missed a baseline 3-pointer with Salmons in his face as Milwaukee finished 1-4 on its West Coast swing.

"It was the design that was drawn up and I had a pretty good look at it," Redd said. "I just missed it. It's disappointing, frustrating. We had a golden opportunity to do well out West. Now it doesn't get any easier."

"I just (wanted to) run him off the 3-point line but not get the foul," Salmons said. "He got a pretty good look but he was out of rhythm a little bit."

Sacramento outscored the Bucks 30-19 in the fourth and held them without a field goal over the final two minutes.

"We kept talking about intensity the whole game," Garcia said. "That's what we did in the fourth quarter against Denver and that's what we did. That's what got us the win."

The win was the first in three tries for Sacramento since Kevin Martin went down with a groin injury that will force him be out for four to six weeks. Teammate Mike Bibby, who tore ligaments in his thumb in training camp, is also out until at least mid-January.

"Anytime you're down players like we are, we've got to come together more as a unit," Salmons said. "We've all got to come together as a group and play together, play hard."

Redd scored 24 points for Milwaukee, which has now lost eight of nine after a 7-4 start to the campaign.

Charlie Bell came off the bench and scored seven points in just over two minutes to close out the third quarter, giving the Bucks a 74-66 lead heading to the fourth.

"We got things rolling in the third quarter," said Bucks coach Larry Krystowiak." We had a lot of energy, then we turned it over three times in a row for easy transition baskets. It was one of those down to the wire games and we couldn't pull it out. We didn't make enough plays down the stretch."

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