for this game

Martin, Kings complete season sweep of Pistons

Jan 19, 2008 - 5:59 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- This was the kind of performance Sacramento Kings coach Reggie Theus had in mind.

Kevin Martin scored 24 points and Brad Miller collected 17 and nine rebounds as the new-look Kings posted a 100-93 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Ron Artest poured in 18 points and Mike Bibby added 16 in his second game since coming back from thumb surgery for Sacramento, which shot 50 percent (36-of-71) from the floor.

Theus finally got to see what a healthy Kings' squad is capable of with Martin, Bibby and Artest playing together for just the second time following critical injuries to each.

Bibby missed 36 games, Martin sat out 17 to rest his sore groin and Artest was absent 16 combined games due to suspension and elbow surgery.

"For me, it's about the defense because these guys are very good offensive players," Theus said. "We can shoot the ball and move the ball, but on the defensive end of the game, that's what's going to win big games on the road."

However, the outcome was totally different in Friday's 116-91 lopsided loss at Toronto, where the trio combined for 43 points in their first game together.

Rasheed Wallace's tip-in gave Detroit a slim 83-80 advantage with 7:31 remaining in the fourth quarter. But Sacramento took the lead for good behind an 11-4 surge that was capped by Artest's 3-pointer at the 3:43 mark.

The Pistons sliced the deficit to 96-93 with 1:37 left on a pair of free throws by Chauncey Billups, who finished just two boards shy of earning a triple-double.

"We waited too long to start fighting during that third quarter," said Billups, who had 28 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Detroit had an opportunity to move closer, but Jason Maxiell committed a turnover which led to Miller's excellent bounce pass to Bibby between two defenders with 17 seconds to go.

"I was a bit surprised that in a game, playing against a team like Detroit, that we actually came in here and executed in the end because we haven't been doing that lately, and this is a new unit out there in the fourth quarter for the first time this season," Artest said. "It was encouraging, definitely."

In just his second trip to Detroit since climbing into the stands and brawling with fans in November 2004 while with Indiana, Artest did everything from scream obscenities at his teammates to blowing kisses toward Detroit's booing fans.

"I guess when you become a vet the whole pace slows down," Artest said. "When you're young, you're moving fast, emotions are running high and low. When you get older, I was able to relax a little bit more and not get too nervous when the boos came and not get too emotional. If they're going to boo me, I'm going to love 'em. I like Detroit."

"Ron was fired up," Theus said. "This is a tough place for him. His way, which I don't think is a bad way, is he goes on the offensive. He was the aggressor and, of course, he teeters a little bit in that way. A couple of words were exchanged, but when you have respect, you can put those things aside. We nipped it at halftime, and he just (came) back out and played basketball."

Richard Hamilton netted 24 and Antonio McDyess added 14 and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who were held under 20 points in the second and fourth quarters.

"It was just a very poor performance," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said.

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