The Sacramento Kings are in the midst of their most successful road trip of the season. They have very little to be encouraged about, however.
On a trip in which they were able to pick up their first road win, the Kings look to bounce back from another sloppy effort on offense when they face the struggling New Jersey Nets on Tuesday night.
Sacramento (9-14) fell to 1-2 on its five-game trip with a 92-79 loss to Washington on Saturday night. A day earlier, the Kings beat Philadelphia 109-99 for their first win away from Arco Arena this season.
After snapping a nine-game road skid with a strong offensive effort against the 76ers, Sacramento shot 43.3 percent versus the Wizards and was held under 80 points for the second time in three games. The Kings lost 90-78 to Boston on Wednesday night to open the trip.
"As a team, we are shooting all jump shots," said Sacramento center Brad Miller, who had a team-high 21 points against Washington. "We've got to get to the hole and get to the line."
The Kings are averaging 91.0 points per game since leading scorer Kevin Martin injured his groin against Utah two weeks ago. Martin, averaging 24.5 points a contest, will miss his seventh straight game.
John Salmons, who has replaced Martin at shooting guard, had 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting against the Wizards, but overall has done an admirable job in 14 starts this season. Salmons is averaging 15.2 points while shooting 46.9 percent from 3-point range as a starter.
Meanwhile, Ron Artest - expected to have a bigger role on offense with Martin out - has been held to 11 points or less in four of his last five games. The veteran forward is shooting 34.3 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from the free-throw line during that span.
Artest, however, averaged 27.0 points for Sacramento in two games against New Jersey last season, as the teams split those contests. The Nets (10-14) have won three of their last four home games against the Kings, but have dropped seven of their last nine at the Izod Center after starting 3-1 there.
New Jersey has lost five of six overall, including a 94-86 defeat at New York on Saturday night. After beating Cleveland 105-77 the previous night, the Nets were held under 90 points for the fourth time in five games.
"That's the question we are all trying to find," New Jersey guard Jason Kidd said. "We had a great effort from everybody (against Cleveland) and we just couldn't carry it over."
Kidd, though, had one of his best scoring games of the season, finishing with 18 points and adding seven rebounds and seven assists versus the Knicks. Kidd, who has 93 career triple-doubles and six this season, had two against the Kings in 2006-07 and has three in his last five games against them.
New Jersey may again be without fourth-leading scorer and key reserve Bostjan Nachbar, who missed Saturday's game with a sprained right ankle. The sixth-year forward, averaging 10.0 points per game, is questionable for Tuesday's contest.
With Nachbar's absence Saturday, only Richard Jefferson and Jason Collins have played in every game this season for the Nets. Jefferson is averaging a team-high 24.4 points, but was held to 14 on 7-of-21 shooting against New York.
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