NBA Game Summary - New Orleans at Sacramento
(Saturday, April 12th)
Final Score: Sacramento 94, New Orleans 91
Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) - Ron Artest had 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals, and the Sacramento Kings put a serious wrench in the New Orleans Hornets' bid for the top seed in the Western Conference with a 94-91 victory at ARCO Arena.
John Salmons added 18 points and 11 rebounds and the Kings - winners of five of seven - held the Hornets to just 38.4 percent shooting from the floor.
David West went for 30 points and 15 boards to lead New Orleans, but the Hornets (55-25) couldn't recover from a third-quarter hole and fell into a tie with the Lakers for the West's top spot with just two games remaining.
Sacramento was up 88-81 after Artest buried a three with 2:56 remaining, but Chris Paul hit a pair of free throws and dropped in a pretty floater to trim the lead back to three with just over 1 1/2 minutes left.
Beno Udrih missed an open jumper that could have had the Kings up five, but Artest came up huge at both ends of the floor. First, he swatted away West's shot from behind, then used a ball fake to get free for a stepback three from the left corner that made it 91-85 with 51 seconds left on the clock.
Udrih got one foul shot to push the lead to seven with under 30 seconds left, but Francisco Garcia inexplicably fouled New Orleans' Morris Peterson while he was shooting a three on the ensuing possession. Peterson hit all three free throws, and Salmons then committed another inexcusable blunder, failing to inbound the ball within the required five seconds.
Peja Stojakovic buried a three from the top of the key, making it 92-91 with 12.3 ticks showing, and the Hornets were very much alive.
Salmons atoned for his error though, calmly sinking two free throws for a three-point Kings bulge before Stojakovic very nearly sent the game to overtime with a contested three-ball that rattled in and out as time expired.
Garcia finished with 16 points for Sacramento, which shot just 55 percent at the foul line and committed 16 turnovers.
Stojakovic totaled 18 and Paul scored 14 to go with a game-high 12 assists for the Hornets, who close out their regular season with a home game against the Clippers Tuesday and a visit to Dallas Wednesday.
New Orleans led 27-26 after one quarter, but the Kings went up as many as seven during the second en route to taking a 48-45 lead into the break.
The Hornets took a two-point lead with a 15-2 spurt to start the second half capped by Paul's dish to West for a jumper. Sacramento hung around though, pulling back within five, 73-68, by the end of the third quarter, then embarked on a 12-2 run to begin the fourth to go up 80-75.
Tyson Chandler had 13 points and 13 boards for the Hornets, who made just 3- of-18 (16.7 percent) three-point attempts...Spencer Hawes had 11 points and Udrih totaled nine for the Kings, who shot 48.7 percent as a team.
04/13 00:56:56 ET