Kings 95, Magic 83
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—The Sacramento Kings’ recent struggles continued on Saturday night in Orlando, with one notable exception: they won.
The Kings, losers of five straight coming into the game, shot 33.8 percent from the field and had only 11 field goals in the second half. Still, Sacramento rallied from 12 points down to defeat the Orlando Magic 95-83.
Sacramento scored 42 points from the free throw line and showed surprisingly strong defense in the second half to defeat a slumping Magic team. Orlando shot 30.3 percent in the second half and now has lost 10 of its last 13 games.
“This was obviously a huge win for us due to the fact we traveled today,” said Sacramento coach Eric Musselman, whose team played at Miami the night before. “Our legs were tired, you could see that in some shots and we didn’t shoot the ball well, but it was our best game defensively all year.”
Kevin Martin, the Kings leading scorer with 20 points, was 1-of-8 from the field, and 17-for-20 from the free throw line.
“That’s definitely shocking,” Martin said. “I’ve never seen that happen before.”
Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 23 points. The rest of the starters combined for 17 points on 7-for-26 shooting.
Orlando led 62-50 with 4:47 left in the third quarter when its offense stalled. The Magic were outscored 17-2 to end that quarter and 6-1 to start the fourth quarter to fall behind 73-65.
“We’ve been doing that all season,” Magic guard Grant Hill said. “We played good for a quarter or good for a half or maybe good for three quarters, but we can’t keep it going for a whole game.”
The Magic did get within 81-79 with 3:05 left in the game on a 20-foot jumper by Trevor Ariza, but turned it over on their next four possessions. Ariza finished with 17 points while fellow reserve J.J. Redick had 12 and Darko Milicic 10.
“We were just very poor offensively tonight,” Magic coach Brian Hill said. “Very poor shot selection, careless with the ball, it was just a very, very disappointing performance.”
Though the Kings managed only one field goal the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter, they held the Magic at bay with free throws. Sacramento went 20-for-23 from the line in the final period.
Orlando’s biggest lead was 49-36 after an Ariza layup with 2:11 left in the second quarter. Ariza had 14 first-half points and Redick had 10, but the Kings stayed close. Artest scored 10 in the half and Sacramento trailed only 52-42 at halftime.
Artest started the third-quarter rally with a short jumper, then Bibby scored eight straight points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Salmons scored the last five and Sacramento took a 67-64 lead into the fourth quarter.
Sacramento had given up 100 points or more in its five straight losses. … The Magic haven’t won two games in a row since Feb. 2. … Magic C Dwight Howard had 12 rebounds, but scored only six points on 2-of-10 shooting.