for this game

Martin leads Kings past lowly Clippers

Apr 4, 2008 - 5:59 AM By Tom Galland PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) - In a season beset by injuries and losses, the Los Angeles Clippers could at least depend on wins against the Sacramento Kings. That trend came to a resounding end on Thursday night.

Kevin Martin scored 26 points as the Kings registered a 110-98 victory over the undermanned Clippers to salvage one win in their four-game season series.

"Finally," said Martin, who made 8-of-14 shots including 4-of-5 from the arc. "You'd think they were the Boston Celtics the way they play against us. It was a great team effort from everybody tonight. It was about time for us to get a win against them."

"I'm pleased with (Martin's) ability to adapt to the game now," Sacramento coach Reggie Theus said. "I'm seeing things offensively from Kevin (that) I had not seen before. He's being more patient in the offense. He's finding the easy shots."

Playing without three key players - Chris Kaman (ankle), Cuttino Mobley (heel) and Tim Thomas (foot) - the Clippers struggled from the floor, hitting just 38 percent of their shots from the floor over the first three quarters.

They finished at 43 percent after putting together a strong shooting performance in the final stanza with the outcome already decided.

Sacramento used a 28-5 run bridging the second and third quarters to power their way to a 65-47 lead four minutes into the second half.

Reserve Francisco Garcia helped ignite the run with 11 points in the second quarter, finishing with 17 while missing just two of nine shots from the floor.

"I just try to go out there and bring intensity, not concentrate so much on offense," Garcia said. "Just play a lot of defense and when my shot is there, take it."

Leading by 14 entering the fourth, the Kings appeared to remove any doubt with an 8-0 start to the quarter, expanding their lead to 92-70.

Los Angeles used a 10-0 run of its own to cut the deficit to 11 with just over three minutes remaining. However, the Clippers failed to get any closer.

"We made a good run in the fourth to cut it down," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Then (Sacramento) got to the line a few times and killed all the momentum we had built up. That was the ball game."

Elton Brand played well for the Clippers in his second game back after sitting out most of the season with a ruptured Achilles' tendon. Brand played 27 minutes, scoring 15 points and collecting nine rebounds.

"Back-to-backs, I still have to get a few kinks out," said Brand, who scored 19 points in a win at Seattle on Wednesday. "I'm glad the coaches and the guys gave me the opportunity. The injury is fine, completely healed. Just getting timing, getting the wind, that sort of thing is what I'm working on now."

"Impressive," Martin said of Brand's performance. "He's been out eight months. He deserves to come back and play well."

Corey Maggette led the way for Los Angeles with 28 points on 11-of-23 shooting. Rookie Nick Fazekas added 18, hitting 7-of-10 shots.

"It's important to keep working with (Brand) and getting him in the right shape, keep working Al (Thornton), so he can continue to improve," Maggette said. "Nick (Fazekas) is playing well for our team. We'll see what happens (to end the season)."

Los Angeles led most of the first half, but fell apart over the final two minutes as Sacramento reeled off 10 straight points to close out the second quarter. Martin buried back-to-back 3-pointers, including a long buzzer-beater, to send Sacramento into the locker rooms with a 50-43 lead.

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