Kings Beat Mavericks for First Win of 2009

The Sacramento Kings will take whatever bright spots they can find. Beating a short-handed Dallas team counts as one.

Kevin Martin scored 21 points, Francisco Garcia had seven during a key fourth-quarter stretch, and the Kings ended their five-game losing streak with a 102-95 victory over the Mavericks on Sunday night.

"We know the state of this team right now and we realize we went through some injuries this year," Martin said. "Right now we're getting everybody together and hopefully we'll continue to play team ball and nights like this will keep on happening."

Beno Udrih had 16 points, five rebounds and six assists for Sacramento, which hadn't won since beating the Los Angeles Clippers 92-90 on Dec. 30. John Salmons and Brad Miller added 13 points apiece for the Kings in only their second win in the last 10 games against the Mavericks.

Sacramento hasn't had many nights worth remembering at all this season. After opening the year 4-5, the Kings dropped 13 of their next 15 which led to the firing of coach Reggie Theus in mid-December.

They hadn't fared much better under interim coach Kenny Natt, either, and went into Sunday having lost 11 of 12 overall including a 119-115 overtime loss to Miami on Friday when Sacramento blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead.

"Obviously this was a better night for me and the team," said Natt, who is 3-11 since replacing Theus. "We've been working hard and coming close for quite a while now. Fortunately enough tonight we were able to sustain it and hang in there."

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Jason Terry scored a season-high 33 points for Dallas, including 15 in the third quarter. Dirk Nowitzki added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Mavericks, who were coming off their most lopsided defeat of the season, a 128-100 loss to Phoenix on Friday.

Sacramento trailed 78-77 heading into the fourth quarter but opened the final period with a 17-4 run to take control for good.

The two-game slide was the first time Dallas has lost consecutive games since dropping five straight in early November.

"We had a meltdown on all fronts in Phoenix but tonight was an all-out effort," Terry said. "We put ourselves in position to win but they wanted it more than us. When you are not making shots and getting stops, you are going to lose the game."

The Mavericks were without third-leading scorer Josh Howard, who sprained his left wrist during Friday's loss. Howard was injured after crashing to the floor while going for a rebound. X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day but scheduled to visit a doctor on Monday.

Martin went into the game averaging 29.7 points in his previous six games. He had missed the first meeting with Dallas earlier this season with an ankle injury.

He had 12 points during the third quarter to offset Terry, who was starting in place of Howard. Martin added four points in the fourth quarter, including a free throw with 29 seconds left that put the Kings ahead 101-95.

Dallas had three shots in the closing seconds but couldn't convert and lost to Sacramento for the first time since last Jan. 14.

"It was a good team win," Martin said. "But we need to get to two instead of worrying about one. We need to get to two and then hopefully that translates into three, four and five."

Without Howard, the Mavericks were hoping to get more production out of Nowitzki and Terry, both of whom have struggled in recent games.

Terry broke out of his slump but Nowitzki's problems continued. He missed seven of his first 10 shots in the first half, including numerous open looks, and finished 6-of-18. In his last three games, the Mavericks' leading scorer is averaging 14.6 points while shooting only 32.5 percent.

Terry had just eight points in the first half but went 7-of-9 from the floor in the third quarter, when he scored 15 of the Mavericks' first 19 points.

Martin kept the Kings close with 12 of his points, including a 3-pointer with 29 seconds left, to give Sacramento a 77-76 lead before Jose Barea's driving layup regained the lead for Dallas heading onto the fourth quarter.

Dallas went just 3-of-20 from 3-point range compared to 8-of-16 for Sacramento.

"Our undoing was the 3-point line," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's just disappointing. We played well to get a lead and just couldn't hold it."

Notes:@ Jason Kidd fell hard on his right elbow in the fourth quarter and was in noticeable pain late in the game but said it is nothing serious. ... Sacramento hasn't won consecutive games since winning three straight from Nov. 5-9. ... The Mavericks tied a season-high with 10 blocks. The Kings had just one. ... Seattle Seahawks quarterback Seneca Wallace, a native of Sacramento, attended the game and sat courtside.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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