Kings 104, Blazers 96
Martin scored 15 of his 33 points in the first quarter, Artest added 23 points and nine rebounds, and Sacramento won its third straight, 104-96 over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.
Zach Randolph had 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Blazers, who never led and committed 18 turnovers. Brandon Roy had 15 points and seven assists, and Martell Webster added 14 points and eight rebounds.
Martin made seven of his first 10 shots and hit all nine of his free throw attempts.
The third-year guard from Western Carolina had six rebounds and six assists. He finished 11-of-19 from the field in his second 30-point game in four days.
“Kevin Martin’s got a bounce in his step right now,” Kings coach Eric Musselman said. “He’s in a groove and there couldn’t be a better time for it.”
Portland got within five in the fourth quarter on two free throws from Jarrett Jack, but Artest wouldn’t let the Blazers get any closer.
First, he made an 18-footer at 2:20. Then, after Roy pulled the Blazers to 98-93 with a 3-pointer with 1:19 left, Artest beat the shot clock the next time down the floor with a turnaround jumper. He hit an almost identical shot with 24 seconds left to put the game out of reach.
“That’s a good team,” Portland coach Nate McMillan said. “They score the ball with a lot of different guys. We had opportunities to take control but we didn’t.”
Jack had 13 points and five assists for Portland, which has lost three of four and couldn’t build on a 37-point rout over Charlotte on Thursday.
Sacramento shot 50 percent in the first half despite missing nine of 10 3-pointers.
The Kings led 49-38 after back-to-back layups by Artest and Abdur-Rahim, but the Blazers cut the margin to 57-51 at the break.
The Kings started off quickly in the third, going up 65-55 on a jumper from Bibby. Martin hit a 3-pointer with 3:48 left to make it 76-64.
Portland cut the lead to six, but Artest beat the third-quarter buzzer, banking in a 20-footer to make it 82-74.
“In a close game you don’t have time to think, you just react,” Artest said. “You have to improvise and take what they give you. … Right now we have to scratch and claw to get into the eight (playoff) spot.”
The Kings were coming off a 116-108 victory over the Lakers on Friday night, with Artest returning from a knee injury that kept him out of Wednesday’s game against Charlotte.
LaMarcus Aldridge, starting for the second straight game after the Blazers lost Joel Przybilla for the season, couldn’t follow up his 30-point performance from Thursday night against Charlotte. Aldridge was 1-of-12 from the field for three points. He had 10 rebounds.
Portland signed Jeremy Richardson of the D-League’s Fort Worth Flyers to a 10-day contract Friday. Blazers coach Nate McMillan said Richardson will mostly be used as a practice player. … Aldridge was the first Blazers rookie to score 30 in a game since Steve Colter had 35 in 1984-85. … Bibby was coming off games of 33 and 30 points.