for this game

Salmons, Kings cruise past Blazers

Apr 12, 2008 - 6:08 AM By Tom Galland PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- The fans at Arco Arena were not only treated to a win, but perhaps a glimpse at what the future may hold for the Sacramento Kings.

John Salmons led seven players in double figures with 18 points as the Kings defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 103-86, on Friday night.

Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia each added 16 points and rookie Spencer Hawes 15 as the Kings' youth movement was on full display.

However, Martin left in the fourth quarter with a right knee strain and did not return.

Sacramento coach Reggie Theus called the injury a mild twist afterward and said there was no swelling. Martin will be further evaluated before Saturday's game against the New Orleans Hornets.

"It's another good win for us," Theus said. "We've played well at home most of the year and we've just got to continue, so we can finish the season strong."

The win pushed Sacramento's record at Arco Arena to 25-14, a significant improvement over last season's 20-21 mark under ex-coach Eric Musselman.

"Everybody shared the ball (and) played together," Salmons said. "I think we did a good job of that. Spencer made some good passes, made the game a little easier like Brad (Miller) always does."

Miller, Sacramento's starting center, is out for the rest of the year with leg and elbow injuries. That's given the 19-year old Hawes a chance to play starter's minutes during the final stretch of the season.

"It's helped me out a lot," said Hawes, who hit 7-of-11 shots in 37 minutes. "It's given me a lot going into next season, having my role expand a little bit. I still have a lot of work to do, but it definitely helps with the confidence."

Salmons scored on consecutive three-point plays midway through the final period to help seal things, giving the Kings a 90-75 advantage. Portland would get no closer than 13 the rest of the way.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored eight points in the opening four minutes of the third to close the gap to 57-53. However, Sacramento had an answer soon after.

Salmons reeled off six quick points, and the Kings re-discovered their ball movement, embarking on a 13-1 run to push the lead back to 16 heading into the fourth quarter.

"Beno (Udrih) got it going early in the first half," said Salmons, who scored all of his points after intermission. "I was trying to put pressure on the defense, take the ball to the basket, and it worked out (in the second half)."

Portland struggled from the floor most of the night, particularly from the arc, where they missed 14 of 16 shots.

"In the pick-and-roll sets, (Sacramento) wanted to get the ball out of my hands," said Blazers point guard Brandon Roy, who scored 12 points. "When I passed the ball, we didn't knock down shots. Some games you make shots and some games you don't. We just have to do a better job on the defensive end to keep the game close."

"We didn't have much movement at all, especially early," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "(We were) just passing and standing. We needed to move ourselves and move the ball more."

Aldridge had 24 points and 15 rebounds for Portland, which lost the season series to Sacramento, 3-1.

Kings guard Quincy Douby hit a pair of 3-pointers and Francisco Garcia added another to key a 14-3 burst that gave Sacramento a 42-22 lead early in the second quarter.

But the Kings' hot shooting cooled off considerably from that point, and the Blazers chipped away to close within 51-41 at the break.

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