Excused for personal reasons, Ron Artest won't face his former team Sunday night when the Sacramento Kings travel to Conseco Fieldhouse to take on the Indiana Pacers.

The Kings (23-31) look to end a four-game road losing streak when they visit the Pacers (29-25).

Artest would have been facing his former club at Conseco for the second time, but he is not with the team, a club spokesman said Sunday without elaborating. Artest was not listed on the injury report.

Disliked by Indiana fans for his role in the brawl between Pacers players and Pistons fans two seasons ago and for his public trade request last season, the absence of the volatile forward could spare Sacramento from a considerably more hostile crowd.Artest was sent to Sacramento for Peja Stojakovic last Jan. 25, and in his first visit to Conseco on March 17, was booed loudly during the pregame introductions and every time he touched the ball.

The Kings, however, probably aren't happy to have Artest out of the lineup. He's averaging 18.7 points per game this season and is coming off back-to-back outstanding performances. He scored 32 points in a 109-106 defeat at Washington on Thursday and had 33 points, including 15 from the free-throw line, in a 109-96 loss at New Jersey on Friday.

The rest of the Kings starters combined for 11 points against the Nets as Sacramento fell for the fifth time in six games.

"I always feel that you have to play like champions and I just think we aren't right now," Artest said.

Sacramento, which will be playing the third game of a four-game trip, is 7-19 away from Arco Arena.

The Pacers are coming off a 110-88 loss to Toronto on Friday that ended their three-game winning streak. The 88 points were the fewest scored by Indiana since an 87-point performance against the Pistons on Jan. 28.

Jamaal Tinsley scored 19 points and Jermaine O'Neal added 17 on Friday, but the Pacers shot 38.6 percent from the field while allowing the Raptors to shoot 56.2 percent. It was the fourth time this season that the Pacers failed in their attempt to win four in a row.

"Our season is not over," O'Neal said. "I know we win three in a row and then have a bad game and it's the same old team. The league is like that. You are not going to get the same outcome every single game."

Indiana has won three straight at home.


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