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Salmons helps Kings end home skid with win over Hornets

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Associated Press
4/11/2013 1:37:52 AM
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Though there was nothing special about this late-season meeting between two losing teams, any game against New Orleans is meaningful to Marcus Thornton.

The Sacramento Kings guard grew up in Louisiana and played parts of two seasons with the Hornets. Thornton wasn't about to overlook the Hornets and neither did the Kings.

John Salmons had 22 points, and Thornton and Jason Thompson each added 20 to help Sacramento snap a four-game losing streak with a 121-110 victory on Wednesday night.

The streak-shooting Thornton came off the bench late in the first quarter and hit a 3-pointer. He added three more 3s in the second quarter and had 15 first-half points, helping the Kings build a 17-point lead.

"Every time we play the Hornets I want to win really bad," said Thornton, who came to the Kings midway through the 2010-11 season.

Thornton shot 8 of 13 and had five rebounds against the Hornets, who defeated the Kings twice this season in New Orleans.

"It was very tough losing two games to them there this season," Thornton said. "It was especially tough with all my family and friends there."

The Kings had a double-digit lead for much of the game and surpassed the 100-point mark early in the fourth quarter, when they stretched the lead to 30 points.

Sacramento shot 55 per cent, made 10 of 20 3-pointers, and had 26 assists.

"We didn't do the things that we needed to do as far as what we should do defensively," said Eric Gordon, who scored 23 points. "We let too many points be scored in the paint. We just let too many things go their way. When they get going up-tempo, that's when they're at their best."

The victory halted a season-high, five-game home losing streak for the Kings, who have a 20-20 record at Sleep Train Arena. The Kings haven't had a .500 or better home record since the 2007-08 season, when they went 26-15.

Isaiah Thomas had 15 points for the Kings and DeMarcus Cousins scored 11 before fouling out.

Robin Lopez had 20 points and Brian Roberts had a career-high 20 for the Hornets, who have dropped two straight and four of five. New Orleans went 1-4 on its road trip and has lost 10 of 11 away from home.

Rookie Anthony Davis, the first pick in the 2012 draft, limped off the court midway through the fourth quarter after crashing to the floor while drawing an offensive foul against Thornton, who landed on Davis' left knee.

The Hornets said that Davis sprained his left knee. His status is unknown for the final three games of the season.

"I think he is OK. I don't want to jump the gun," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "I didn't see the play, but he said Marcus landed on his knee. I'm just glad it wasn't a buckle or a ligament, or anything like that. He's walking around, but we have to let the doctors check and make sure."

Xavier Henry scored 15 points and Davis had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Thompson made all four shots and scored eight points in the fourth quarter, including three consecutive jumpers that thwarted any hopes of a New Orleans comeback.

"I was a little surprised to go back in the game in the fourth. I thought I was all done," said Thompson, who had eight rebounds. "I got some open looks and didn't force anything. I got in a rhythm shooting."

Trailing by 30 points, the Hornets cut the Sacramento lead to 113-100 with 3:41 remaining but could never get the lead under 10 points.

Salmons had five points in 75 minutes over the previous three games, when he shot a combined 1 of 14. The veteran forward was 7 for 10 and made two 3-pointers for the Kings, who shot 55 per cent.

Earlier in the day, it was learned that the Maloof family ownership has given a Sacramento group seeking to buy the Kings until Friday at 5 p.m. to submit a written binding offer that matches the deal to sell the franchise to a Seattle group.

If the offer is not received or does not match the Seattle offer, the Maloofs reportedly will cut off any talks with the Sacramento group.

In January, the Maloofs agreed to sell their controlling interest in the Kings to Seattle investors -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and hedge fund manager Chris Hansen -- for a reported $341 million.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson was in a courtside seat Wednesday and commented on the situation at halftime.

"I feel good about where we are. We are down to the fourth quarter, a couple minutes left in the game, and I think what all the people are saying is good for us," Johnson said. "Our ownership group is talking to the NBA and the Maloofs' attorney on a regular basis. I feel comfortable with how strong our bid is, and how competitive it will be."

The Kings used a 13-0 run in the second quarter to push their lead to 65-48 by halftime. Thornton made four 3-pointers and had 16 points for the Kings. Cousins had 11 points and Salmons scored 10 for Sacramento, which shot nearly 63 per cent.

"They did an unbelievable job of attacking us in the paint," Williams said. "The way they drove the ball tonight was what we expected. I didn't think we played smart offensively."

It was a miserable opening half for the Hornets. They shot 41 per cent, committed 11 turnovers and put up little resistance defensively. Lopez scored 12 points and Gordon had 10.

Notes: Kings reserve F Patrick Patterson was a late scratch. He didn't dress for the second straight game due to a sore lower back. ... Hornets F Ryan Anderson, who attended Oak Ridge High School in the Sacramento region, shot 3 of 13 and had nine points. He averaged 22 points in the two games previous games against the Kings this season. ... Cousins and Thomas both scored 10 points in first quarter, when the Kings shot 67 per cent and led 35-28. ... Eight of the Hornets' 13 players have played two years or less in the NBA.

John Salmons (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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