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Salmons carries Kings in rout of Bobcats

The SportsXchange

SACRAMENTO -- There are times when Sacramento Kings forward John Salmons gets caught between a rock and a hard place.

"I just try to play the right way," Salmons said after scoring 19 points in the third quarter to help lead the Kings to a resounding 119-83 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 14,555 at Sleep Train Arena.

"I'm not a focal point of the offense so I can go five or six possessions without even getting a touch, much less a shot. That's part of it. So I can get caught up trying to play the right way and not being aggressive enough."

Salmons found the happy medium midway through the third quarter when he scored those 19 points during a three-minute span.

"I've got to give all the credit to God because through him all things are possible," Salmons said. "I try to keep that moderation when things aren't going well and play through the struggles.

"After I made that first one in the third (quarter)," he said, "I started getting my confidence, and then when the second one went in, my confidence kept growing and growing."

By that time, as teammate Chuck Hayes said, "It was get the ball to Johnny time. That's what it was."

Salmons made five of eight field-goal attempts, including four of seven 3-point attempts and five of five free throws in the third quarter.

Kings forward Jason Thompson said he'd seen Salmons perform like that before.

"Those were some flashbacks of him out of in Chicago (with the Bulls)," said Thompson, who had 14 points and 14 rebounds. "He started off slow, but it's not how you start, it's how you finish."

Said Hayes, "I don't know any player who stays hot every game, every night, but John has been hot."

Salmons has made 19 of his past 3-point attempts during his past five games.

Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap said Salmons deserved the credit.

"A lot of those shots were contested by us," the coach said, "so full credit to him."

The game was a matchup of the Kings, owners of the Western Conference's worst winning percentage against the Bobcats, who have the Eastern Conference's worst mark.

The Kings led just 38-37 with 5:02 left in the second quarter before changing the game's fortunes with a 31-5 burst that effectively determined the game's outcome. Sacramento never again was challenged.

Sacramento went on to hold a 43-point lead, its largest of the season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the Kings won by 36 points or more was Nov. 15, 2005 vs. Utah.

The Kings (21-40) improved to 15-13 at home and the return home was a welcome change to the five-game road streak they just finished last Friday. They were aided by a 60-31 rebounding advantage.

The Bobcats fell to 13-46 after their sixth straight defeat. They lost their third straight on this four-game road swing that ends tonight in Portland.

Six Kings scored in double figures, led by Salmons' 22 points.

The Kings outscored the Bobcats 70-42 during the second and third quarters. Center Byron Mullens and shooting guard Gerald Henderson each led Charlotte with 12 points.

The Kings have swept four Eastern Conference teams: Charlotte, Cleveland, Toronto and Washington.

NOTES: Kings assistant coach Alex English and Bobcats assistant Brian Winters were teammates at the University of South Carolina. ... Bobcats guard Reggie Williams played for Kings head coach Keith Smart in Golden State in 2010-11. ... Sunday's game against Charlotte began a stretch in which the Kings played five of six at home. In March, the Kings have nine home games. ... Kings sixth man Marcus Thornton entered Sunday's game scoring 20 or more points in each of the past three games (averaging 27.0 ppg during that span). ... Tyreke Evans snared 11 steals during the past three games. ... Bobcats rookie forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist joined LeBron James as the only two NBA players to record 25 points and 12 rebounds in a game twice before their 20th birthday.

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