Sacramento (24-31) at Philadelphia (18-38)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 32° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Mon Feb 26, 2007
  • TV: KXTV
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Sacramento Kings look to build off a solid win without one of their leaders when they visit the lowly Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.

The Kings (24-31) had dropped the first two games of their four-game road trip against Eastern Conference opponents before defeating Indiana 110-93 on Sunday despite the absence of Ron Artest.

Artest was a no-show against his former team for personal reasons, a team spokesman said without elaborating. He has scored 30 or more points in three of his last five games, and his status for this game is unknown.

Although Sacramento was without Artest, a three-time All-NBA defensive team selection, it held the Pacers to just 38.2 percent shooting while forcing 19 turnovers.

The offense also showed signs of improvement after struggling two days earlier in a 109-96 loss to New Jersey.

Kevin Martin scored 35 points Sunday one game after scoring a season-low two, while Mike Bibby had 28 points and made 4 of 5 3-point attempts against the Pacers after scoring a season-low three points versus the Nets.

“I thought we played with a lot more energy and we also played loose,” Martin said. “Good things are going to happen when you’re playing loose.”

The victory was just the second in seven games for the Kings, who are trying to avoid missing the postseason for the first time since 1999. Sacramento is in 12th place in the West, but is just 2 1/2 games behind the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot.

“Every game is huge for us right now because we’re chasing,” said center Brad Miller, who had seven points and seven rebounds Sunday. “Every time out, we’re trying to gain spots and gain position.”

The Kings try to gain some more ground against Philadelphia (18-38), which has the second-worst record in the East and the third-worst mark in the league. Sacramento beat the 76ers 101-76 at home on Dec. 27, and has won 10 of its last 12 against them.

Bibby, who had 21 points in the December victory, scored a career-high 44 points in his last trip to Philadelphia, a 109-103 loss on Jan. 24, 2006.

The Sixers, who are opening a six-game homestand, have dropped five of their last six games including a 109-90 defeat at slumping Milwaukee on Saturday.

“It’s tough losing period no matter who you’re playing,” said 76ers guard Andre Iguodala, who had a team-high 22 points in the loss. “We just have to try and regroup, go back to the basics and try and get a win.”

Iguodala broke out of a slump which saw him average just 11.3 points while shooting 19.4 percent in his previous three games. Iguodala, who averages a team-high 17.5 points per game, scored 15 against Sacramento in the December meeting.

Kyle Korver managed just eight points against the Bucks after scoring a total of 52 in his previous two games. Korver had a season-low two points against the Kings earlier this season.

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Monday, Feb 26