Martin, Miller roll past Timberwolves for second straight winNov 8, 2008 - 6:49 AM By Tom Galland PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- After dropping four straight on the road to start the season, a little home cooking has helped turn things around for the Sacramento Kings.
Kevin Martin collected 26 points and six assists as the Kings avenged an opening-night loss at Minnesota with a 121-109 win over the Timberwolves on Friday.
They have recovered nicely from the rough start, picking up victories in the first two games of a four-game homestand.
Martin nearly missed the game altogether due to soreness from an ankle sprain he sustained Wednesday against Memphis. However, he decided to give it a go after pregame warmups.
"I didn't get too much time to rest," Martin said. "It was set that I wasn't going to go tonight after talking to (coach Reggie Theus) this morning."
"Kevin had a very good all around basketball game - five rebounds and six assists is what we need out of our wing guys," Theus said. "(Playing hurt), that's the kind of leadership I want to see from Kevin."
The Kings were buoyed by the return of Brad Miller, who was suspended for the first five games of the season for violating the league's drug policy. The veteran center made a smooth transition back to the lineup, registering a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards.
"He's a passing big (man)," Martin said. "Any time he gets the ball, for me personally, I get happy feet because I'm ready to cut because I know he's looking for me."
Miller, in his 11th NBA season, was his scrappy self from the opening tip.
"It felt good to get back out there, get my flow, and be part of the team really," Miller said. "I wanted to get guys more enthused, try to do some of the little things - (I) got on the floor a couple times and set better picks to try and get guys open."
John Salmons added 23 for Sacramento, which never trailed and had six players in double figures.
Sacramento came out firing on all cylinders, posting a season-high 36 points in the first quarter to grab a nine-point advantage.
The Kings led by as many as 14 in the opening half before Minnesota rallied behind the play of rookie Kevin Love to close the gap to 62-55 at intermission.
Love, the former UCLA standout, started at forward and poured in 14 first-half points on 4-of-5 shooting. He finished with a career-high 20 points and eight rebounds.
Minnesota closed to within two early in the second half on Sebastian Telfair's 3-pointer to make it 64-62. But the Kings answered with a 37-17 stretch bridging the third and fourth periods to push the lead to 101-79 with just over 10 minutes left in the contest.
"We've got to find a way to execute and trust each other," said Minnesota swingman Mike Miller, who scored 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting. "We all feel comfortable with what we have to do, but it's not happening."
The Timberwolves have dropped four in a row.
The bright spot of their season so far was the victory over the Timberwolves in their season opener, as Al Jefferson posted 21 points and 10 boards in a 98-96 triumph. In the rematch, however, Jefferson was held to 14 and nine and shot just 6-of-14 from the floor.
"Until we are committed defensively, we don't stand a chance," Minnesota head coach Randy Wittman said. "We won't win games that way, especially not on the road. Some of what we did was embarrassing."
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