Kings keep Nets in spiralDec 19, 2007 - 4:46 AM By Joe Rizzo PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) - Francisco Garcia's four-point play broke a tie and John Salmons scored a career-high 31 points to lead the Sacramento Kings to a 106-101 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday night.
Garcia finished with 24 points, Brad Miller had 23 and 10 rebounds and Ron Artest added 20 points for the Kings, who improved to 2-2 on their five-game road trip and 2-10 away from home on the season.
Sacramento finishes the trip Wednesday in Milwaukee.
The Kings were aided by torrid 3-point shooting, converting 13-of-21 (62 percent) from long range, including 4-of-5 by Artest and 5-of-8 by Garcia.
Richard Jefferson had 36 points and nine rebounds for the Nets, who lost for the sixth time in their last seven games and continued to struggle at home, falling to 5-10 at the Izod Center, where the attendance was an unenthusiastic 11,902.
"If anyone here asks me one more time about home-court advantage, I swear," Jefferson said. "When I first got here, this would have been one of the biggest crowds. We had, like, 500 people in the stands and we were going to the Finals. Come on, guys."
Jason Kidd just missed his fourth triple-double in the last six games, scoring 11 points to go with 10 rebounds and nine assists.
With the scored tied at 85-85, Garcia took a 3-pointer from the right angle and was fouled with 7:39 to play. He converted the free throw to give the Kings the lead for good.
"I always like to take the shots," said Garcia, who put aside tickets for roughly 40 local friends and family. "I had a lot of people here. Of course it makes it special."
Salmons stole the ball on the ensuing possession and cruised in for a layup to extend the lead to 91-85.
The Nets whittled the lead to one point but Garcia answered again with a huge 3-pointer - once again off Salmons' feed - to extend the margin to 103-99 with 15 seconds to play.
"When you have guys who can draw attention, you have to get them the ball in those spots," Kings coach Reggie Theus said.
"Exactly as planned," Garcia said. "Coach said, 'I want you right there,' and I didn't move."
Four players registered all but eight points for the shorthanded Kings, who are missing leading scorer Kevin Martin, point guard Mike Bibby and Shareef Abdur-Rahim due to injuries.
"We've been playing good on the road, just not winning," Artest said. "Without Kevin our whole identity changes a little bit. Everyone's used to each other now. When they get back we'll be a lot better. We're pretty hard to guard."
Artest scored eight straight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, to give Sacramento its biggest lead at 68-59 midway through the third quarter.
New Jersey answered with a 13-3 run that was capped by back-to-back layups from Jefferson to take a 72-71 lead.
The Nets managed to take a 78-77 lead into the final 12 minutes despite 3-pointers by Artest and Miller. Sacramento hit 5-of-8 shots from the arc in the period.
Looking to find some semblance of an inside game, Nets coach Lawrence Frank started rookie Sean Williams and second-year man Josh Boone in the frontcourt alongside Jefferson.
Williams provided a strong defensive presence, scoring 11 points, blocking eight shots and grabbing seven rebounds. Boone added five points, five assists and four boards.
"He (Sean Williams) was phenomenal and Josh was phenomenal, too," said Vince Carter, who had 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Nets. "Their energy and activity on the glass gave us a lot of second shots and a lot of opportunities."
Salmons provided the bulk of the early offense for the Kings, scoring 18 points in the opening half on 8-of-12 shooting.
Sacramento led at the break, 52-50, after Kidd made a three-quarter-court dash through three players to beat the buzzer.
"The same thing at halftime was the same thing at the end of the game: 22 turnovers equated into 28 of their points," Frank said. "They shot almost 62 percent from the three and that was the difference in the game."
NEW JERSEY 101 FINAL
Dec 18 10:03 PM
NEW JERSEY 78 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 18 9:16 PM
NEW JERSEY 50 HALFTIME
Dec 18 8:37 PM
NEW JERSEY 25 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 18 8:05 PM
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