Kings Host Magic, Look to Snap Two-Game Skid
Posted Dec 4 2006 10:48AM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
When the Sacramento Kings need a lift, Arco Arena has been the place for them to find one.
The Kings (8-7) will look to avoid matching a season-high three-game losing streak when they return home to play the Eastern Conference-leading Orlando Magic on Monday.
Sacramento is 6-2 at Arco Arena and looking to win its third straight game there, while trying for its 12th straight home win over the Magic. Orlando last won at Sacramento in December 1993.
After losing two of three on the road to start the season, the Kings reeled off four straight wins at home. Since then, they've split four games at Arco, and look to the home fans for motivation.
``The fans keep us in games and when we don't have the energy we should, they keep us going,'' point guard Mike Bibby said on the Kings' official Web site, sacramentokings.com.
Sacramento fell short in a 100-98 road loss to San Antonio on Saturday. The Kings, who trailed by nine after three quarters, outscored the Spurs 27-20 in the fourth quarter and had a brief lead, but couldn't hold on.
Kevin Martin, who is averaging 22.9 points a game, scored 30 points for the third time this season and John Salmons had a season-high 20 in the loss. All five Sacramento starters scored in double figures, but the Kings shot 2-for-12 from 3-point range.
Kings coach Eric Musselman was pleased by the effort.
``I couldn't be prouder of the effort they put forth,'' Musselman said. ``I feel bad for them, because they played well enough to win against a great team.''
Forward Ron Artest, who did not play Saturday, is day-to-day with a sore lower back. He is averaging 17.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in 13 games this season.
Orlando (13-5) had its season-high six-game winning streak snapped with a 116-91 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. The Magic allowed a season-high in points, but still rank among the NBA leaders allowing 93.3 a game.
Orlando was expected to be a playoff team this season after falling short of the postseason in 2005-06, but have been an early surprise with their success.
They've benefited from the play of Dwight Howard, who turns just 21 on Friday and is averaging 17.1 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. A healthy Grant Hill with 15.2 ppg also has helped.
Sunday's loss was the Magic's first on its season-high six-game road trip.
Despite 16 points from Howard and 15 from Hedo Turkoglu, Orlando shot 29.4 percent (5-for-17) from 3-point range and allowed the Clippers to shoot 60.3 percent from the floor.
``We didn't come out prepared to play tonight,'' Orlando's Keyon Dooling said. ``They beat us in every facet of the game.''
The two teams split their season series in 2005-06. Howard scored 19 points and had 15 rebounds in Orlando's 83-78 overtime win on Jan. 21 in their last meeting.
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