Salmons scores 21 as Kings hold off MagicJan 9, 2008 - 7:28 AM By Tom Galland PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- The Orlando Magic looked to continue their road mastery, but a slow start left the door open for the undermanned Sacramento Kings.
John Salmons led five players in double figures with 21 points as the Kings led by as many as 19 in a 104-100 victory over the Magic at Arco Arena on Tuesday night.
Brad Miller scored 20 points and Beno Udrih added 17 for Sacramento, which ended a four-game home losing streak and lowered the Magic's stellar road record to 15-6.
"It was a big win tonight," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "We played a team that was 15-5 on the road. We made it look easy for a while, but (Orlando) is a very good basketball team. I thought, defensively, we were good for at least three and a half quarters."
Orlando made it interesting with a 14-3 run midway through the fourth quarter, finished by J.J. Redick's 3-pointer with 3:03 remaining that cut the deficit to 91-83.
Hedo Turkoglu's 3-pointer with 19 seconds left would make it as close as 103-100, but the Kings managed to hang on in the end.
"We were chasing them all night long instead of jumping them early," said Turkoglu, who scored 14 but made just 5-of-14 shots. "When you have those kind of games, it's hard to come back. We allowed them everything - offensive rebounds, hustle plays. They wanted to win more than us, it's as simple as that."
"You'll always take wins," Salmons said. "But I think the good teams learn from mistakes in wins just like losses. We know we've been having problems at the end of the game. (In) the third quarter, they made a run, but we withstood (it). At the end of the game, we just turned the ball over like we've been doing. We've just got to continue to grow in that aspect."
The win helped relieve some of the sting against the coach who left the Kings at the altar in the offseason. Stan Van Gundy was in Sacramento, a deal with the Kings all but done, when Orlando came calling with an offer he couldn't refuse.
Sacramento fans remembered, greeting Van Gundy with a chorus of boos in the pre-game introductions.
"They played a lot harder than we did," Van Gundy said. "I think that was obvious to everyone in the building. They were the more aggressive team on both ends of the floor. Right now, we've hit a stretch where we're not competing hard enough to win. (Sacramento) played very, very hard and deserved to win."
Sacramento took advantage of slumbering Orlando early, grabbing a 44-26 lead behind a 24-8 run bridging the first and second quarters. Udrih and Quincy Douby combined for 28 points in the half and the Kings took a 53-38 lead into the break.
"It feels really good because on the road, two games we really came up short when we should have got those games," Douby said. "So we came out here with a little more energy and guys played their roles. I came off the bench and tried to give as much energy and whatever I could give. I had some good looks and took advantage of it."
Dwight Howard hit 6-of-8 shots, but the rest of the Magic managed just 8-of-29 combined in a dismal first-half performance.
Orlando found its shooting touch in the second half and cut the deficit to 57-51 in the opening four minutes with a 13-2 burst. Turkoglu and Howard scored four each to key the run.
Sacramento re-grouped and slowly rebuilt the lead. Miller ignited a 7-0 run to finish the third with a 3-pointer and a steal, feeding Salmons for a layup. Mikki Moore slammed home an offensive rebound to close out the quarter with the Kings on top 78-62.
Howard finished with 29 points on 11-of-13 shooting and Rashard Lewis added 22 for the Magic, who stayed close by connecting on 22-of-25 free-throw attempts.
"We aren't playing as hard as we need to play," Howard said. "It does not matter what lineup we have in there, the effort has to be there. They had it going and we didn't."
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