SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP)—Kevin Martin scored 33 points and John Salmons had 21 points and nine rebounds in the Sacramento Kings’ first victory of the season, 100-95 over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night in the NBA’s final home opener.
Spencer Hawes had 13 points before fouling out for Sacramento, which opened the season by losing at every stop on a difficult four-game trip.
Martin made sure the Kings won their third straight home opener with a versatile effort, even tying coach Reggie Theus’ franchise record for points in an opener on his final free throw with 14.3 seconds left.
O.J. Mayo scored 28 points and hit six 3-pointers for the Grizzlies, who opened a four-game West Coast trip with the best performance of the No. 3 overall draft pick’s short NBA career. Mayo even led an 18-3 Memphis rally down the stretch, but Martin made three free throws and a key hustle play on a loose ball in the final 35 seconds.
The Grizzlies have won just once at Arco Arena in 26 appearances, losing 20 in a row since the Vancouver Grizzlies’ lone victory in Sacramento on April 19, 1998.
With Sacramento mayor-elect Kevin Johnson sitting in the Maloof family’s courtside seats, Martin went 11-for-18 while toying with Memphis’ various defenders, including the high-energy Mayo. Martin scored at least 30 points for the second time in five days, solidifying his pre-eminence for the Kings after Ron Artest’s offseason departure.
Rudy Gay had 18 points for Memphis, and Kyle Lowry added 14 points and seven assists. The Grizzlies’ offense relied heavily on spot-up jumpers from Mayo until midway through the fourth quarter, when Mayo, Quinton Ross and Gay hit consecutive 3-pointers to trim Sacramento’s 19-point lead to seven.
Memphis pulled to 95-91 in the final minute on two free throws by Mayo, but Martin alertly hit the floor to tip a loose ball to Salmons for a decisive dunk with 29.7 seconds left.
Kings guard Bobby Jackson, who returned to the club when Artest was traded to Houston, got a standing ovation when he finally entered the game late in the third quarter. Jackson spent five seasons with Sacramento from 2000-05 as a key reserve during the Kings’ glory days.
Johnson, the longtime NBA point guard and Sacramento native, defeated two-term incumbent Heather Fargo on Tuesday night to become Sacramento’s first black mayor. He got a rousing ovation from the crowd when Gavin Maloof presented him with a jersey during a first-quarter timeout.
Johnson also has vowed to look into ways to revive the Kings’ long-stalled plans for a new arena.
The Kings have started five straight seasons on the road, usually with multiple-game trips. … Sacramento C Brad Miller finished his five-game suspension for violating the NBA’s drug program. He’ll return for Friday’s game against Minnesota. … Arco Arena had thousands of empty seats despite the opening-night festivities with an announced attendance of 13,685—more than 3,500 below capacity. The Kings have eight more home games in November.