LA Lakers (33-31) at Sacramento (32-31) 10:00 pm EST
SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- Ron Artest has breathed new
life in the Sacramento Kings and enhanced their chances of
reaching the playoffs.
The Kings look to extend their home winning streak to 13 games
Tuesday when they face the Los Angeles Lakers for the third of
four meetings this season.
Acquired from Indiana on January 25, Artest has averaged 17.2
points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists and led the Kings to a 14-7
record, including a 9-0 mark at home.
With Artest in the lineup, the Kings have given up an average of
93.8 points, compared to 100.2 prior to the deal. They have
also yielded just 85.6 in the nine home victories since he came
Brad Miller scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Artest
added 15 for Sacramento, which won for the seventh time in eight
games with Sunday's 85-80 victory over Dallas.
The Kings are in eighth place in the Western Conference,
one-half game behind the Lakers and one-half ahead of New
Los Angeles has split its last four contests and comes off one
of its worst defensive efforts of the season, when it allowed
the Seattle SuperSonics to shoot nearly 60 percent (47-of-59)
from the floor in Sunday's 120-113 defeat.
League-leading scorer Kobe Bryant (35.0) scored 22 points to top
the Lakers for the 16th straight game. However, it was his
lowest total since December 23.
Sacramento has won seven of the last 10 encounters with the
Lakers and five of six home matchups. Mike Bibby scored 25
points to lead the Kings in a 106-85 triumph in their last
meeting on February 23.