SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings finally found a team that would play a worse defensive game than they did in the tired New Orleans Hornets.
The Kings ended their four-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 121-110 victory over the Hornets before an announced crowd of 14,275 at Sleep Train Arena.
It was the Kings' first victory in three attempts against the Hornets (27-52). Even before the game, the teams were so close in records, the outcome of this game figured to weigh heavily in the teams' position in the NBA draft lottery held on May 21.
The Kings (28-50) are headed towards a better record than the Hornets. At this stage of the season, that means a higher mathematical chance of a better draft choice.
The Hornets were on the last game of a five-game road trip and appeared to be tired.
When the game's outcome already had been decided, the Hornets suffered one final blow. The 2012 overall first draft choice, Anthony Davis, suffered an injury that forced him out of the game with 5:45 left. Davis drew an offensive foul from Kings guard Marcus Thornton and fell hard backwards. After a minute prone on the court, Davis was helped back to the locker room with a sprained left knee.
Kings coach Keith Smart credited his team's ability to play an up-tempo game as a key to the victory.
"This game was a good game for us," the coach said. "We needed to have a fast-paced game. (Tuesday) in practice we did a drill where we had 14 seconds to get the ball up in the front court and get into an offense.
"It was important that we made this team play at that pace. When we've done that over the course of the season, our defense is better."
Hornets coach Monty Williams said the Kings aggressiveness was impressive.
"(The Kings) did an unbelievable job of attacking us in the paint," Williams said. "The way they drove the ball (Wednesday) night was what we expected. I didn't think we played smart offensively."
Williams was cautiously optimistic about Davis' condition.
"I think he's OK," Williams said of Davis. "I don't want to jump the gun. I didn't see the play, but he said Marcus (Thornton) landed on his knee. (Davis) said he's a little sore. I'm just glad it wasn't a buckle or a ligament or anything like that.
"You don't know that for sure, but usually when somebody lands on it, it could be a contusion. It is probably more scary than anything else, but we have to let the doctors check him out to make sure."
The Kings got 20-point scoring performances from team-high John Salmons (22), Jason Thompson (20) and Thornton (20). Sacramento shot 55.3 percent from the field and also made 50 percent of its three-point goals.
Shooting guard Eric Gordon led the Hornets with 23 points and seven assists. Robin Lopez and Brian Roberts added 20 points apiece.
NOTES: Wednesday night's game ended a five-game homestand for the Kings. Their next three games are on the road at San Antonio, Houston and Oklahoma City. ... Sacramento began the night second in points per game (107.2) since the All-Star break. ... Before Wednesday, the Kings were 5-38 when trailing at halftime and 5-44 when trailing after three quarters. ... Greivis Vasquez had a team high in assists in each of the team's first 63 games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only Jason Kidd (with the New Jersey Nets) and John Stockton (with the Utah Jazz) have achieved the same statistic. ... Kings guard Toney Douglas on using four guards at times: "It's give and take. We've got enough guards that we can match up with it. Sometimes if other teams go four guards, it's a tradeoff. There will be mismatches and they can run the ball up the court. So it's a coach's decision."