Martin Sparks Kings to Win Over Nets
Sacramento 114, New Jersey 105
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 23 (Ticker) -- Kevin Martin provided a spark that eventually lit a fire under his Sacramento Kings teammates.
Martin scored a career-high 18 points off the bench and was part of a second-half surge as the Kings raced to a 114-105 victory over the New Jersey Nets.
"(Martin) came in and made a couple shots and got his energy level up," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "We'd like to see him get two or three games under his belt where they're solid and consistent."
Rookie Francisco Garcia started for the sharpshooting Stojakovic, but got into early foul trouble. That provided an opportunity for Martin, a second-year swingman who was averaging just 5.5 points.
Martin, whose whose previous high of 17 came against Denver on January 11, 2005, scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting in the first half, helping Sacramento to a 59-58 lead.
"I really thought Francisco started off pretty well, but then he got into foul trouble so quickly," Adelman said. "Fortunately, Kevin was able to come in and give us a lift."
"The difference is I wasn't pressing tonight," Martin said. "(The team) told me a couple of games is not going to ruin a career. I just went out there and did what I had been doing in the preseason and some games early on - relaxed."
Martin had been shut out in the previous two games against Seattle and San Antonio, looking tentative and overmatched at times. But his confidence never wavered.
"I can't get down on two bad games," Martin said. "But I certainly can't feel Michael Jordan-confidence after one (good) game. But it feels good."
"(Martin) did everything to help his team - shot the ball well, had (seven) rebounds, and played defense," said Nets guard Jeff McInnis. "We just couldn't seem to stop him."
The game was tied 72-72 midway through the third period when the Kings took control with a 22-6 surge to close the quarter. Bibby scored seven points in the run, which opened a 94-78 lead.
Wells scored 11 points in the third quarter, when Sacramento made 8-of-14 shots and attempted 20 free throws.
"Coach (Adelman) got on us a little bit at halftime and told us to pick up our energy level," Wells said. "We focused on playing hard, cutting hard, and finishing at the hole. Everything (coach) told us to do in the second half worked."
"That's two games in a row where in the third quarter we've given up 35 points," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "That's a lot of points. We're a better team then we're showing. I just hope we start showing it."
Martin set up Shareef Abdur-Rahim for a dunk and Wells scored inside before Martin's steal and slam for a 100-78 bulge with 10:08 remaining.
Marc Jackson scored 21 points and Nenad Krstic added 19 for the Nets, who played without injured swingman Vince Carter (back) and fell to 0-2 on their five-game road trip.
"We've got to find an answer to solve these third quarters, and we've got to find it soon," said Nets guard Jason Kidd, who had 11 points and 11 assists. "With five minutes left the game was tied, and all of the sudden the game just went their way."
Both teams shot over 50 percent as the defenses essentially took the night off. But the Kings took control of the game with a 58-36 advantage in the paint and made 15 more free throws than the Nets.
"In the third quarter, we definitely made some stops and pushed that lead up," said Miller, who made 7-of-11 shots and added seven rebounds. "We just played with a little more effort on defense and they got a couple of their scorers in foul trouble."