Martinís Career-High Leads Kings Over Sonics
Posted Nov 25 2006 2:23AM
Sacramento 109, Seattle 100
When it came time to talk about Martin's play, his Sacramento teammates had nothing but praise.
Knocking down long, open jumpers and scoring on difficult drives, Martin scored a career-high 35 points in the Kings' 109-100 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics on Friday night.
With Ron Artest back in Sacramento resting his aching lower back, Martin took on an even larger chunk of the Kings' scoring.
``I never go into a game feeling like I need to score big,'' Martin said. ``I know I have a lot of veterans that can put the ball in the hole just like me.''
True, Martin got plenty of help, as six Kings scored in double figures. But no one could slow the Kings' leading scorer, who was nearly flawless in the second half.
Martin made all five of his shots in the third quarter and seven straight at one point in the second half, including three 3-pointers. Martin scored 24 after halftime as the Kings (6-5) snapped a three-game losing streak.
``He's taken a pretty big step,'' Sacramento coach Eric Musselman said. ``He's going to keep getting better.''
Want proof? In Sacramento's loss to Utah on Wednesday, Martin disappeared in the fourth quarter, going scoreless with guard Mike Bibby out with a thigh injury and Artest ailing.
On Friday, Martin scored seven of the first nine Sacramento points to start the fourth, extending a seven-point lead to 14. Martin was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and made each free throw, banked in a running one-handed hook from just outside the low block and then scored over Mickael Gelabale for a 91-77 Sacramento lead.
``I had that in the back of my mind,'' Martin said of Wednesday's performance. ``I didn't want to have another night where I didn't score in the fourth again.''
Rashard Lewis led Seattle with 26 points, scoring 19 in the first half as Artest's replacement, John Salmons, couldn't match up. Lewis made eight of 11 shots in the first half, but scored just two points in the third quarter as the Kings took control.
Seattle trailed by as many as 18 in the fourth quarter and only got within single digits when Earl Watson hit a meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer.
``Our defense was like a sieve tonight. We couldn't keep anybody in front of us,'' Seattle coach Bob Hill said. ``We were a step behind them all night. It was a bad performance.''
Bibby shook off his sore right thigh that knocked him out of Wednesday's loss to Utah, and scored 19 points. Williamson added 13 and Kenny Thomas had 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Salmons provided help offensively, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the first half. Abdur-Rahim also scored 14 with eight rebounds for Sacramento. But the story was Martin, who didn't miss in the second half until he bypassed an open 3-pointer, took one dribble and came up short on a 20-footer with 4:52 left.
``I think he's just scratching the surface,'' Abdur-Rahim said. ``I don't think he's close to where he can be.''
Meanwhile, Allen struggled, going just 6-of-22 and missing six 3-point attempts. Allen went 15:13 of the second half between field goals, finally breaking his scoreless string with a difficult reverse layup with 6:03 left. Seattle trailed 97-81 at that point.
Sacramento rotated Martin, Salmons and Francisco Garcia on Allen and flustered the All-Star into his worst shooting performance of the season.
``I thought we did an OK job in the first half, but going from the third to the fourth quarter, it just fell apart,'' Allen said.
Notes: Artest's status for Saturday's home game against Portland was unknown. ... Seattle had 11 assists in the first quarter and just eight the rest of the game. ... Martin's previous career high was 30, accomplished twice this season.
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