After beginning the season with a tough stretch of road games, a return to Arco Arena proved to be what the Sacramento Kings needed to get their first win of the season.
Looking to continue putting their dismal start behind them Friday, the Kings host the Minnesota Timberwolves, who haven't won since beating Sacramento in the teams' season opener.
The Kings (1-4) began the season with four straight road losses, three coming by more than 15 points and two by more than 25. However, after stumbling home following a 125-91 defeat to Philadelphia on Monday, Sacramento bounced back Wednesday with a 100-95 win over Memphis.
Kevin Martin scored 33 points and John Salmons added 21 points and nine rebounds for the Kings, who shot 52.7 percent from the field while holding the Grizzlies to 43.7.
"I thought that guys came out with a lot more energy - the type of energy that you expect around here," coach Reggie Theus said. "I thought defensively they were very solid for about 46 of the 48 minutes."
As the Kings try to build on their first win, they hope to get a boost from the return of veteran center Brad Miller, who was suspended for the first five games for violating the NBA's drug program. Miller averaged 13.4 points and 9.5 rebounds in 72 games last season.
The Kings also play five of their next six games at home as they look to dig themselves out of the early season hole.
"(Wednesday's) game gives us confidence going into Friday night's game," said Martin, who scored 48 points in Minnesota's 111-103 victory in the teams' last meeting at Arco Arena on March 7. "We just needed to get this one ... We are trying to get to .500 at the end of this homestand."
Like the Kings, the Timberwolves (1-3) are feeling optimistic despite their record. Minnesota has lost three straight, but those defeats have come by an average of 5.7 points, the most recent a 129-125 double-overtime home loss to San Antonio on Wednesday.
Al Jefferson had season highs of 30 points and 14 rebounds for the Wolves, while rookie reserve Kevin Love added a career-high 14 points and nine boards. Jefferson gave Minnesota a 116-114 lead with 2 1/2 seconds left in the first overtime, but Tony Parker scored two of his career-high 55 points to tie the game and send it to a second extra period.
"I told our guys at the end of the game we could easily be 3-1, but the reality is we're 1-3 and we've got to keep fighting," Wolves coach Randy Wittman said. "I'm proud of their effort."
Jefferson is averaging 22.3 points and 12.3 rebounds for Minnesota, which reached 100 points for the first time this season.
The Timberwolves, who had the fifth-lowest scoring average last season at 95.6 points, were held to 85 in each of the previous two games.
"We flowed into things a lot better today. It wasn't such a grind," Wittman said.
Minnesota has won three straight over Sacramento. Love had 12 points and nine boards in 19 minutes against the Kings last week in his pro debut.
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