NBA Game Summary - Sacramento at New Orleans
(Friday, October 30th)
Final Score: New Orleans 97, Sacramento 92
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Emeka Okafor accounted for the go-ahead basket with a putback slam and then blocked Kevin Martin's three-point attempt in the waning seconds as the Hornets won their home-opener, 97-92, over the Sacramento Kings.
Chris Paul totaled 31 points, went 14-of-15 from the foul line, and sank four free throws in the closing 5.9 seconds for New Orleans, which was coming off a 113-96 loss at San Antonio Wednesday. Okafor tallied 11 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
"We won but how we played wasn't good enough," said New Orleans coach Byron Scott. "We allowed them to come in here and dominate. If we expect to be a good basketball team we have to be a good defensive and rebounding team and tonight we weren't. We got lucky and got a win."
Rookie Tyreke Evans had 22 points and Martin scored 20 for the Kings, who lost, 102-89, at Oklahoma City, on Wednesday. Andres Nocioni ended with 16 points.
"We shot 37 percent on the road and we had a chance to win it. I'm ecstatic about he things that we did to put us in that position," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "You shoot that terribly and have a chance to win on the road, you're doing a lot of good things. We'll have to tell them to make more layups."
The Kings were holding a 91-88 edge with under two minutes left, but then turned the ball over on a shot clock violation. Paul's driving layup, which turned into a three-point play with 1:16 left, tied the contest.
Jason Thompson, who delivered a solid game with nine points, 12 boards and six assists for the Kings, then had a shot in the lane roll off the rim. Julian Wright secured the rebound for New Orleans, but Paul missed a shot jumper at the other end. Okafor rose above the rim, though, for the jam with 43.9 ticks to go.
Evans missed a three-point try and Martin also was off the mark on a jumper at the other end, but Jon Brockman sank 1-of-2 foul shots for Sacramento with 25.4 seconds left. The second shot missed, but Thompson got the rebound and the Kings called timeout with 15.2 seconds remaining.
Evans then had the ball knocked out of his hands in the lane and Paul hit two from the charity stripe for a 95-92 difference with 5.9 seconds left.
"For the most part we made some big plays on the perimeter," said Hornets forward David West. "Emeka is there to alter shots in the middle, it's good for us. It was a tough game, but we still have a lot of things to correct."
Okafor then blocked Martin's three-point try from the left corner and Paul sealed the victory at the free throw line.
Sacramento held a 27-25 edge after 12 minutes and it was tight throughout the second with the contest even at 50 at the half.
The Kings led by as many as eight in the third quarter, as a three-ball from Beno Udrih moved the margin to 73-65 with 3:17 remaining. Paul's three-pointer in the closing seconds moved the hosts within 75-72 entering the fourth.
"We still haven't had our breakout game yet," stated Evans. "We missed a lot of shots. It's going to get better. We're just getting a feel for each other. I think we did a good job."
This was the first game of a back-to-back set for the Kings, who play at San Antonio Saturday night...The Hornets play at Boston Sunday...New Orleans went 3-1 against the Kings a year ago. Sacramento has lost eight of its last nine games as the visitor in this series...Wright had 11 points and Peja Stojakovic scored 10 for the Hornets...Sacramento won the battle of the boards, 52-43...Brockman had 10 rebounds.
10/31 00:14:04 ET