For a team that has been without its top three offensive options for much of the season, the Sacramento Kings have to like their position - especially now that they're on the verge of being completely healthy for the first time.
With Kevin Martin thriving since his recent return from a groin injury, the Kings go for their fourth win in five games as Mike Bibby returns to the court for his season debut Wednesday when the Kings visit the Toronto Raptors.
Bibby missed Sacramento's first 36 games after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb in October. Bibby, who has started at point guard in each of his 461 games since he joined the team in 2001, averaged 17.1 points and 4.7 assists in 82 games in 2006-07.
Bibby will rejoin backcourt mate Martin, who has shown no lingering effects of the groin injury that kept him sidelined 17 games from Dec. 7-Jan. 10. Martin is 21-for-25 from the field and 19-for-21 from the free-throw line for a total of 64 points in two games off the bench since his return.
He was four points shy of his career high on Monday, when he had 39 as Sacramento (15-21) held off Dallas 122-120 for its third win in four games.
"For me it's just basketball," Martin said. "I always felt like I could come back and play. It was just a matter of where my wind was."
Martin said he's in no rush to get back in the starting lineup.
"I don't think it's the right time yet," Martin said. "I feel like this is training camp day No. 3. I still need to get my timing down and get my wind back. I'm definitely not ready to play starter minutes right now and I don't need to."
It'll be even easier for Martin to continue coming off the bench if Kings forward Ron Artest also returns. Artest, averaging 19.1 points, 6.1 rebounds. 4.3 assists and 2.2 steals, could be back after missing nine games with an injured right elbow.
John Salmons, a reserve for most of his career who has thrived in the starting lineup during Sacramento's injury-plagued season, made the game-winning shot with 2.4 seconds left on Monday. Though his role figures to diminish with Sacramento's stars returning, he's excited about the prospects for the rest of the season.
"Our team is getting healthier and healthier by the day," Salmons said. "Hopefully we can keep it going. We know we've had a lot of injuries. We just tried to stay afloat until we got these guys back. Hopefully when we get them all back we can make a little push."
The suddenly healthy Kings will have a tough test in the Raptors (20-18), who had won three straight before Tuesday's 103-89 loss at Detroit. Toronto forward Chris Bosh, who averaged 33.0 points and shot 55.2 percent from the field during the win streak, was held to 16 on 5-for-11 shooting in the defeat.
Toronto missed 10 of its first 12 shots in the third quarter and trailed the rest of the way.
"We missed a bunch of shots at the start of the second half and they didn't," Bosh said. "They made some defensive adjustments at halftime and it worked."
The home team won each meeting between Sacramento and Toronto last season. Bosh averaged 19.5 points and 8.0 rebounds in the series, while Bibby scored 21 in both meetings.
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