Tonight, the Sacramento Kings (4-8) played at the New Orleans Hornets (5-4), who were led by Chris Paul.
The Kings played again without their leading scorer Kevin Martin. Rookie Donte Green got his first career start in Martin’s place. Jason Thompson started for the injured Mikki Moore.
New Orleans got off to a quick 8-2 start behind Paul, who got to the rim and also found teammates for open shots. Paul continued his streak of consecutive game with at least one steal.
Paul was dominating at both ends early, but the Kings held tough. At the end of one quarter, New Orleans led 29-23.
New Orleans struggled a bit in the second quarter, allowing the Kings to stay in the game.
The Kings had a lot of success attacking the rim, particularly by Green and John Salmons. Green had 13 first half points in his first career start and played decent defense on Peja Stojakovic, who scored just four points. Salmons added 11.
Spencer Hawes added seven points and strong interior defense, including a huge block of a Tyson Chandler shot, off the bench.
For the Hornets, Paul was the leader with 15 points, seven assists, and just two turnovers in the first half. The Hornets led 54-51 at the intermission.
The Kings came out quickly in the third quarter and took their first lead of the game, 57-54, behind strong defense, which lead into effective transition offense.
The Kings went up 69-60, before a 9-0 run by the Hornets tied the game.
The teams went back and forth for the rest of the quarter, with the Kings leading 77-76 at the end of three quarters. The game looked like it was going to go down to the wire in the fourth quarter.
New Orleans came out poised and under control, while Sacramento came out jittery and confused. They had trouble getting into their offense. The Hornets were using a simple trap on the Kings’ guards at the three-point line and they had trouble breaking it.
The Hornets took an 82-77 lead early in the quarter.
After a timeout, Salmons led the Kings back, taking an 87-84 lead with six minutes to go. Strangely, Paul had still not played in the fourth quarter.
When Paul came in, he was locked up by the stellar defense of Bobby Jackson, who added eight fourth quarter points. Salmons was also unstoppable in the final period, taking over the scoring load for the injured Martin. Salmons finished with a game high 29 points.
The Kings were able to execute down the stretch and get a big road win against an elite team, winning 105-96.
The Hornets were led by 22 points from David West.
The Kings moved to 5-8 on the season and will host the Trail Blazers next at Arco Arena this Friday night.
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