Martin Propels Kings Past Raptors
Posted Nov 13 2006 2:24AM
Sacramento 107, Toronto 92
And Kevin Martin? The kid keeps putting up big numbers.
Martin had 26 points, six rebounds and made all eight of his free throws, and Sacramento extended its home winning streak against Toronto to nine games with a 107-92 victory Sunday night.
Artest scored 15 of his 23 points in the first period to get things going as the Kings produced another impressive game on both ends of the floor for their third straight win, running right along with up-tempo Toronto. Sacramento might be making an early statement that it will be a force in the Pacific Division.
"We felt like the team that had the most energy,'' Martin said. "You're not going to slow those guys down. They're one of the fastest pushing teams.''
Bibby, still wearing a protective splint on his tender right wrist, added 21 points, five rebounds and four assists to help the Kings stay unbeaten at home this season. They haven't lost to the Raptors on their own floor since Toronto's lone win at Arco Arena on March 13, 1997.
First-year coach Eric Musselman likes looking at the stat sheet and seeing that his guards are contributing on the boards. Musselman's philosophy is that extra work on the glass only leads to better chances on offense.
Bibby shot 8-for-16 and Artest 9-of-17.
`"It's still there a little bit, but they're going in,'' Bibby said of the wrist affecting his shot. "They've got to go in sometime.''
Shareef Abdur-Rahim had 18 points and seven rebounds for Sacramento, which shot 49 percent and outrebounded the Raptors 44-35.
Chris Bosh scored 19 points and Morris Peterson 18 for the Raptors, who opened a tough five-game, 11-day road trip that also goes through Golden State, Los Angeles to play the Lakers, Denver and Utah.
T.J. Ford added 12 points, seven assists and six rebounds but committed eight of the Raptors' season-high 19 turnovers.
Toronto coach Sam Mitchell knows this could be a long stretch if the Raptors don't start playing better.
"Where is our confidence? Where is our swagger?'' Mitchell said. "You've just got to have confidence when you step out on the court. We need to find it.''
Artest made his first six field goals and showed again that his work to improve on rebounding is paying off - which has been a key for the Kings with center Brad Miller sidelined with a foot injury. Artest finished with four assists and 10 boards, pulling down eight or more rebounds in five of the first six games.
The Kings call it "cleaning up'' on the boards - and everyone must do their part.
"That's something Coach came in and tried to drive home,'' Abdur-Rahim said.
Musselman stressed transition defense against the speedy Raptors, who effectively pushed the ball early but couldn't maintain that pace. Sacramento's defense has been among the best in the league and was top-rated for fewest points allowed heading into Sunday's games.
"They've taken great pride in getting defensive stops,'' Musselman said.
The sloppy Raptors, who also fell behind early in a 111-102 loss at home to Atlanta on Friday night, missed easy shots and didn't take care of the ball when the game still was within reach.
Martin, a third-year pro, made a layup at early in the third period that gave him 132 points less than six games into the season, surpassing his rookie scoring total of 131 points accomplished in 45 games.
"They had too many open looks,'' Bosh said. "They have a lot of guys who can shoot.''
The Kings took the ball hard to the basket early to draw fouls, and have shot at least 10 free throws in the first quarter in their past three games after getting to the line a total of 10 times combined in the initial period of their first three contests.
They took advantage of six Toronto turnovers in the opening five minutes and used an 11-3 spurt to start the second quarter on the way to a 59-44 halftime lead. Toronto missed seven of its first eight shots in the second.
The Kings had 12 steals, including three by Kenny Thomas.
"All the starters did a good job running the floor in the first quarter,'' Musselman said. "We did a good job deflecting balls and anticipating.''
Notes: Martin has made 36 straight free throws. ... Artest's 15 points in the first quarter were the most by a Kings player in a quarter so far this season. ... The Kings are 10-1 all-time against the Raptors at home. ... Toronto shot 2-for-10 on 3-pointers in the first half, missing its first five attempts, and 6-for-24 overall - only slightly worse than Sacramento's 6-of-22. ... Both teams had 10 offensive boards.
Copyright 2006 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited