Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/18

Game 1: Tuesday, December 18th
Game 2: Tuesday, January 22nd

Kings 106

(10-14, 2-10 away)

Nets 101

(10-15, 5-10 home)

Coverage: YES

7:30 PM ET, December 18, 2007

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

1 2 3 4 T
SAC 28 24 25 29106
NJ 25 25 28 23101

Top Performers

Sacramento: J. Salmons 31 Pts, 4 Reb, 7 Ast, 3 Stl

New Jersey: R. Jefferson 36 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

Kings pick up second road win of year as Nets continue struggles

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- On the best scoring night of his eight-year NBA career, John Salmons' best move came when he gave the ball up.

With New Jersey's defense collapsing on him in the closing seconds Tuesday night, Salmons drove the lane and kicked the ball out to teammate Francisco Garcia, who sank a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left that helped Sacramento beat the slumping Nets 106-101.

It capped a momentous night for Salmons, who has emerged at shooting guard after leading scorer Kevin Martin went down with a groin injury two weeks ago, and for the Kings, who had won only once on the road before Tuesday.

"My teammates got the ball to me and gave me the chance to go one-on-one and I got a lot of good chances," Salmons said. "This team has three All-Stars and we knew that it was going to be tough to come in here and beat them. It's definitely a quality win. This is going to be a good road trip after not winning a road game all season."

New Jersey, which has lost six of its last seven games and eight of its last 10 at home, was led by Richard Jefferson's 36 points. Vince Carter scored 15 points and rookie Sean Williams had eight blocked shots, tying a team rookie record set in 1981 by Mike Gminski.

Salmons had plenty of help, as Garcia scored 24 points off the bench, Brad Miller scored 23 points and Ron Artest added 20, which included eight consecutive points in the third quarter that gave the Kings a 68-59 lead.

New Jersey rallied behind Jason Kidd and Jefferson to lead by a point entering the fourth quarter, but Salmons scored six points in a 10-1 run that gave the Kings a 91-85 lead.

The Nets cut the lead to 100-99 in the final minute before Salmons took the ball from the left wing, drove the lane and kicked it out to Garcia, who hit a 3 from the opposite wing.

The play was designed in the timeout by coach Reggie Theus.

"It went exactly as planned," Garcia said. "Coach told me to stand right there and not move and that the ball would come back to me. It felt good coming out of my hand."

After two free throws by Jefferson, Miller made two with 13 seconds left to give Sacramento a 105-101 lead.

"We play quarters good, then halves good. We have to play the entire games," Carter said. "That's what gets frustrating at times. We have to stay together and work this out."

In an effort to pump some life into what has been an anemic frontcourt this season, Nets coach Lawrence Frank gave second-year player Josh Boone his first career start and Williams his third, and the results were mixed.

While Williams was active at both ends, Boone was 1-for-6 from the free throw line and scored five points. The new lineup seemed to have the Nets out of sync early, and they turned the ball over 13 times in the first half and finished with 20.

They also shot 4-for-15 from 3-point range while Sacramento shot 13-for-21 from behind the arc.

"We can't have the kinds of turnovers we've been having," Frank said. "That and the 3-point shooting have been our Achilles' heel, and they're why we lost tonight."

Mikki Moore, who became a Nets fan favorite last season when he filled in for injured Nenad Krstic and led the league in field goal percentage, had a quiet game with four points and four rebounds for Sacramento.

Game notes

Sacramento's first road win came last Friday at Philadelphia ... In 14 starts this season before Tuesday, Salmons was averaging 15 points. He also filled in when Artest missed the first seven games due to an NBA suspension. ... Moore admitted he was dismayed that the Nets didn't make a stronger push to re-sign him in the offseason, and particularly that the team called him with a three-year, $10 million offer and gave him 30 minutes to take it or leave it. He gambled and chose the latter, and a few days later was offered $12 million over two years with an option for a third year at $5 million by Sacramento. ... Nets F Bostjan Nachbar missed his second game in a row with sprained right ankle ... Nets backup PG Marcus Williams made his first appearance of the season after missing 24 games with a broken foot.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 106 101
FGM-FGA 35-77 (.455) 39-77 (.506)
3PM-3PA 13-21 (.619) 4-15 (.267)
FTM-FTA 23-28 (.821) 19-26 (.731)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 5-12 11-24
Assists 23 27
Turnovers 16 22
Steals 9 7
Blocks 5 9
Fast Break Points 20 20
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 20 (1/0)
Largest Lead 9 5

Top Performers

New Jersey
John Salmons Salmons
Points: 31
Reb: 4
Ast: 7
Stl: 3
Blk: 0
Richard Jefferson Jefferson
Points: 36
Reb: 9
Ast: 3
Stl: 1
Blk: 0