Kings Drop Jazz with Huge 4th Quarter

Kings Drop Jazz with Huge 4th Quarter

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- John Salmons will need plenty of quarters like the one he had in the fourth against Utah if the Sacramento Kings are going to be able to survive the next month without leading scorer Kevin Martin.

Salmons scored 13 straight points right after Martin went down with a strained right groin Tuesday night, fueling a 43-point fourth quarter that led the Kings to a 117-107 victory over the Jazz.

"Five or six times in a row I went right to him and he made something happen," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "You put him in the spots where he can play and he can usually make it happen."

The excitement from Sacramento's third win in four games -- all against teams that made the playoffs last season -- was tempered by the injury to Martin, who left in the final minute of the third quarter. Martin, who scored 25 points Tuesday and is averaging 24.5 this season, is expected to miss four-to-six weeks.

Sacramento is already without starting point guard Mike Bibby (left thumb) and forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim (right knee). Just as it appeared the Kings found their groove after Ron Artest missed the first seven games because of a league suspension, they must deal with another key loss.

"Without Kev we definitely won't be as good," Artest said. "And we don't have Mike or Shareef. We have to hang in there and play every possession like it's our last possession."

The Kings did just fine in the fourth quarter, making 11 of 14 shots and 19 of 22 at the line to surge past Utah for the victory.

Salmons went on his scoring spree as soon as Martin went down, making three baskets and all seven free throws to keep the Kings in the game. Salmons' steal and reverse dunk gave the Kings a 98-96 lead with 4:10 remaining and Sacramento never trailed after that. Salmons finished with 21 points.

"John got it started in the fourth quarter for us," center Brad Miller said. "He played great for us. He's going to have to step up a little bit with Kevin going out."

Artest scored eight of his 23 in the fourth quarter and Francisco Garcia hit a pair of big 3-pointers in the final 2 minutes for the Kings, who have beaten San Antonio, Houston and now Utah on this homestand.

Deron Williams scored 30 points and Carlos Boozer added 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Jazz. Ronnie Brewer added 18 points.

Salmons was the only Kings player to make a basket in a span of more than 7½ minutes after Martin's injury. But he got plenty of help once the game went down the stretch. Artest's driving left-handed layup gave the Kings a 100-98 lead and Garcia's 3-pointer made it 107-101 with 1:49 to go.

Garcia hit another from long range to make it 113-105 with 19.5 seconds to go, and the Kings put away the game at the foul line. Sacramento made 36 of 47 foul shots on the night compared to 18 of 22 for Utah.

"We can't guard anybody," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "When they shoot as many layups as they did, that is a problem. We were trying to outscore them most of the time instead of trying to get stops. Our ambition is to try to get stops. They just beat us off the dribble all night."

The Kings went scoreless for nearly 5 minutes in the third quarter, missing all seven shots and turning the ball over three times during the drought. Andrei Kirilenko's block of Martin's layup attempt on a fast break highlighted the defensive stretch for the Jazz.

But Utah managed just eight points in the span and only led 68-61 lead before Martin ended the scoreless stretch with a jumper with 4:59 remaining in the third. Brewer's buzzer-beating jumper gave the Jazz a 77-74 lead after three.

Sacramento got a pair of dunks by Mikki Moore off nice passes from Artest in the final minute of the half to but Utah's lead to 56-53 at the break. Those easy baskets were a sign of things to come.

"We kept on getting beat to the hole," Williams said. "Our defense is something we have to get better at if we want to become a championship team."

Game notes
Boozer has 14 double-doubles in 18 games this season. ... Miller hit a 3-pointer in the second quarter, just his second in 13 attempts this season. ... Utah finishes its three-game road trip with back-to-back games against San Antonio and Dallas on Friday and Saturday nights. ... Sacramento's only loss on the homestand came against Golden State. The Kings finish up against the Clippers on Friday.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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