for this game

Kings' Martin torches Raptors for 32 points

Mar 17, 2008 - 4:58 AM By Tom Galland PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) - Life without Chris Bosh hasn't been easy for the slumping Toronto Raptors, and a trip to Arco Arena didn't help matters.

Kevin Martin scored 24 of his 32 points in the second half as the Sacramento Kings held on for a 106-100 victory over the Raptors on Sunday night.

Bosh, the Raptors' All-Star forward, has missed the last nine games with a right knee injury, during which time Toronto is just 2-7. He is listed as day-to-day.

Sacramento was looking to bounce back after its most lopsided loss of the season in Phoenix less than 24 hours earlier, a 28-point drubbing at the hands of the surging Suns.

"(This) was big for us as a team," Martin said. "We just had to forget about (Saturday) night. (Phoenix) is playing great right now. Once they hit their jumpers, they get rolling, anything can happen."

"Well, it wasn't textbook, but the guys came up with a victory," Sacramento coach Reggie Theus said. "We did what we had to down the stretch."

A pair of free throws from reserve Carlos Delfino pulled Toronto within 92-91 with 2:59 remaining. But, as it had all night, Sacramento answered.

Ron Artest, Martin and Brad Miller each made jumpers to help the Kings extend the lead to 98-91. After Rasho Nesterovic's basket, Delfino made one of two from the line as Toronto closed to 98-94 with 35 seconds left.

But Martin converted six of eight free throws down the stretch and Artest added a layup to seal Sacramento's 10th straight home win in the series.

"We needed that win," said Artest, who collected 10 rebounds to help the Kings dominate the boards, 50-36. "It was a tough loss (Saturday). Nobody likes to lose, no matter if it's by one or 50. We bounced back. We definitely had a good rebounding game. If we keep doing that, we should be okay."

Toronto briefly grabbed the lead in the opening minutes of the second half at 56-55. But Martin awoke from his dismal 4-of-12 shooting to convert a three-point play followed by back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Kings ahead 70-58.

Again the Raptors rallied back, cutting the deficit to 76-73 heading to the final quarter.

"This game was all over the place," said Martin, who hit five of his final six shots after the rough start. "It was just the team that was going to put the most runs together."

The Kings came out firing, hitting eight of their first nine shots while bursting to a 13-point advantage just eight minutes into the game.

Toronto sharp-shooter Jason Kapono led the way for the Raptors with 26 points, including 10 during a 90-second span to cut a 15-point deficit to one late in the first half.

But Sacramento reserve swingman Francisco Garcia converted a three-point play to close the half with the Kings on top, 53-49.

"Anytime you spot a team a 15-point lead, it's always hard," Kapono said. "That's what we've been doing. It's an uphill battle for us every night. We did a decent job of coming back, gave ourselves a chance there in the end. But it's a hard way to play the game."

Toronto showed more life than it had in the previous three road games, but an 18-point advantage in the paint and 49-9 edge in bench scoring didn't translate to a win as the Raptors fell to 0-4 on the five-game trip that ends Monday in Utah.

"We missed a lot of easy baskets," said Raptors coach Sam Mitchell. "We missed a couple dunks, we missed layups, we missed free throws, wide open shots. It's frustrating because we were right there. We've just got to play better collectively."

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