Martin propels Kings past ThunderFeb 2, 2009 - 12:13 AM SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- Kevin Martin celebrated his birthday in style.
Martin scored a team-high 37 points as the Sacramento Kings were able to avoid their first nine-game skid in more than a decade with a 122-118 triumph in overtime over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.
John Salmons added 19 points and a team-high 10 rebounds and Francisco Garcia added 17 off the bench for Sacramento, which has lost 20 of 24 to fall to the cellar of the Pacific Division.
Martin, who turned 26 on Sunday, finished 11-of-24 from the field and 12-of-15 from the free-throw line.
"It was great. It was all for my birthday to get the win," Martin said. "Everyone knows that we have been struggling, so anytime we are able to get a win, we are happy.
"Now we need to take it down to Phoenix (on Monday) and hopefully we have the same type of effort and energy we had today."
Bobby Jackson scored six of his 11 points in overtime for the Kings, who were able to avoid losing more than eight in a row for the first time since a 12-game skid from March 9-April 3, 1998.
"Wow, what a game. It was like pulling teeth, but at the same time I was happy with our guys and the way they came out," Sacramento coach Kenny Natt said. "We had a great practice yesterday. Our spirits were lifted.
"Last (game) I stood before (the media) and only had 10 assists in the game. Today we had 25 - John Salmons had eight and Francisco (Garcia) had seven. The guys were just sharing the ball from there."
Russell Westbrook scored a career-high 34 points and Kevin Durant added 33 for Oklahoma City, which had six wins in its last 10 contests.
"It's exciting, but we'd rather have the win," Durant said. "We're still learning, but at the same time, we're not going to make that an excuse. We just want to get better.
"Games like this (today), we've got to find a way to pull out the win."
Jeff Green had 28 points and 13 rebounds and Nick Collison added 10 points and 14 boards for the Thunder.
Despite the gaudy numbers, Green wasn't thrilled with how his team played on defense.
"We didn't (play defense)," he said. "Kevin Martin went off in the first half, plus the second. Bobby Jackson came in and gave them a big burst off the bench.
"I think we did a poor job of recognizing that Martin was there go-to guy. We did a bad job of keeping the ball out of his hands. He's a great player. It's tough to guard him. He can score in many ways."
Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks echoed Green's sentiment.
"It was a good offensive effort, but that's not how we're going to win basketball games the rest of this year," Brooks said. "We've got to have more of a defensive mentality.
"The first three quarters, it was just an offensive show. We've got guys who can score, there's no doubt about that. In order to play winning basketball we've got to think defense and we didn't do that until the fourth quarter."
OKLAHOMA CITY 118
SACRAMENTO 122 FINAL IN 1ST OT
Feb 1 5:53 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 112
SACRAMENTO 112 END OF 4TH QTR GOING INTO OVERTIME
Feb 1 5:40 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 90
SACRAMENTO 92 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 1 5:01 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 57
SACRAMENTO 63 HALFTIME
Feb 1 4:14 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 31
SACRAMENTO 33 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 1 3:38 PM
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