Salmons leads Kings past Blazers


John Salmons scored 18 points in the second half to lead the Sacramento Kings over the Portland Trail Blazers 103-86 on Friday night.

Playing without starters Ron Artest and Brad Miller &

out with injuries &

the Kings still coasted to a victory. Salmons, who started in place of Artest, also added six rebounds, four assists and two steals. He did not score, and had just one rebound, in the first half.

Kevin Martin, the Kings' leading scorer, strained his right knee in the third quarter and didn't play in the fourth.

He finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Francisco Garcia scored 16 points, Spencer Hawes had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Beno Udrih had 11 points for the Kings, who are now 25-14 at home this season.

Marcus Aldridge had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Portland, who only led in the game's opening minutes. Travis Outlaw scored 18 points, Channing Frye had 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Brandon Roy had 12 points.

Playing long stretches of zone defense, the Kings had one of their most successful defensive efforts in the second half of a season in which they regularly allowed 100 or more points. Despite scoring a season-high point total Tuesday at Golden State, the Kings still lost 140-132.

Slumping Portland lost for the sixth time in seven games. The Blazers (39-40), who fell below the .500 mark for only the second time since Dec. 14, have not had a winning season in four years.

Artest sat on the Kings bench in street clothes, inactive for the third time in four games with a sprained thumb.

After not attempting a shot in the first half, Salmons became aggressive in the third quarter, converting on several drives to the basket and scoring 10 points for the Kings, who led 78-62 heading into the fourth.

The Kings led by as many as 20 points in the fist half but took a 51-41 lead into the break.


In honor of Miller, who had surgery on his right elbow earlier in the day, several of the Kings wore headbands and so did many of the Kings' game operations personnel sitting courtside. Miller attended the game in street clothes. Roy, Portland's leading scorer, did not attempt a shot in the first half. He made a short jumper in the opening minute of the third quarter for his first two points. Martell Webster remained in Portland, missing his fourth straight game due to an irregular heartbeat. The Kings face New Orleans on Saturday at home, part of a closing stretch that has them playing four games in five nights.

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