NBA Game Summary - Houston at Sacramento
(Tuesday, April 1st)
Final Score: Sacramento 99, Houston 98
Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) - Ron Artest registered 30 points and five steals, and despite his potentially game-changing turnover in the waning seconds, the Sacramento Kings held off the Houston Rockets, 99-98, at ARCO Arena.
The squads stayed close throughout the fourth quarter, as no margin exceeded four points.
After a pair of Luis Scola foul shots gave Houston a 98-97 advantage with under two minutes to play, each club missed opportunities from the floor before Shane Battier was whistled for a shooting foul, sending Kevin Martin to the charity stripe with less than a minute to go and a chance to put Sacramento on top.
Martin calmly connected on both free throws, and the Kings pushed ahead, 99-98, with 48 seconds on the clock.
On the other end, Rafer Alston's jumper was off the mark, though he tangled with Mikki Moore for the rebound and earned the right to a jump ball. But with a considerable size advantage, Sacramento took possession.
The Kings put the ball in Artest's hands, and he responded by draining as much time off the clock as possible before an errant pass into the lane was taken by the Rockets with just six seconds left.
With an opportunity to win the game, Houston turned to Tracy McGrady, who tried to escape a double-team, but was barely able to get off a shot. His jumper was well off-target, and Sacramento took the victory.
Martin finished with 27 points for the Kings, who have triumphed in three of their last four outings. Moore tallied 11 points and Brad Miller chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds, as Sacramento split the season series with Houston, two games apiece.
McGrady contributed 32 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Rockets, who remained a half-game behind Phoenix for the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoff race but slipped to 2 1/2 games behind both San Antonio and New Orleans in the Southwest Division. Scola added 20 points and eight boards, and Alston provided 16 points. Dikembe Mutombo totaled 11 points, seven boards and two blocks in loss for Houston, which has dropped back-to-back contests.
After 12 minutes of action, the Rockets were clinging to a 29-28 advantage.
The Kings closed the second stanza on a 7-2 spurt to take a 49-46 edge into the locker room.
The teams battled back-and-forth in the third period, and when the dust settled, Sacramento carried a slim 77-76 lead into the final frame.
Sacramento improved to 34-40, while Houston fell to 49-25...The Rockets slipped to 21-15 on the road...The Kings climbed to 23-13 as the host...There were 52 lead changes...Miller was ejected at the 7:21 mark of the third quarter after being assessed a double technical foul...Despite the win, Sacramento was out-rebounded by Houston, 49-28, including 21-4 on the offensive glass...The Kings shot 50.7 percent from the field, while the Rockets connected at a 40.2 percent clip.
04/02 01:46:33 ET