Jackson hit a 3-pointer to give the Kings the lead for good at 90-88. He followed with a baseline jumper and a steal that led to Salmons' layup, then finished off the Hornets with another 3-pointer from the corner that made it 99-91 with 3:08 left.
"That's how I play," said Jackson, an 11-year veteran. "I've done it all my career. I don't mind taking the big shots. I like that pressure."
Sacramento played without leading scorer Kevin Martin, who missed his sixth consecutive game because of a sprained ankle, and starting forward Mikki Moore. The Kings had been 1-5 away from home, losing four of those games by 15 points or more, and were playing their second game on the road in two nights.
David West scored 22 points, and Chris Paul added 20 points and 15 assists for New Orleans. The Hornets, coming off three days off, fell to .500 (5-5) for the first time since the end of the 2006-07 season. After winning the Southwest division and taking the San Antonio Spurs to seven games in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs last season, they expect to make a push for the NBA Finals.
They certainly did not expect to lose to the Kings.
"This is a bad loss for us," West said. "We definitely have taken steps back as a team. We're going to have to come together and make a push because right now teams are just walking over us."
In the first few minutes, New Orleans looked as if it would have an easy time. Paul sized up center Brad Miller on a switch, then drove right by him for an uncontested layup as the Hornets raced to a 9-2 lead, forcing the Kings to take a timeout.
The rest of the night played out much differently. Sacramento hit 54.7 percent of its shots and got a career-high 15 points from rookie Donte Greene, while Salmons finished three points off his career best. All five Kings' starters scored in double figures.
Ahead 77-76 at the end of the third quarter, the Kings withstood an 8-0 Hornets run to start the fourth. Salmons scored six points in a row to lead an immediate response, coming up with a steal and layup and then converting a 3-point play to put Sacramento ahead 85-84.
Jackson, who played for New Orleans in 2006-07 and the first half of last season before being traded to Houston, took over from there.
"It was big," Jackson said. "No one wants to get traded. I didn't make any shots in the first half, but this game is 48 minutes."
The Hornets shot 51.9 percent but could not stop the Kings when it mattered. The Hornets also went more than 31 minutes without a 3-pointer before Peja Stojakovic hit one in the third quarter. They finished 2-of-13 from behind the 3-point line.
"They played harder," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "That's the bottom line. I told our guys, they are full of themselves if they step on the court and think teams are scared of them."
Neither team played much defense in the first half. Sacramento hit 19-of-33 shots (57.6 percent), including four consecutive lay-ups to close the second quarter. The Hornets made 24-of-41 shots (58.5 percent), scoring 30 of their 54 points in the paint.
Paul scored 11 points, had five assists and made three steals as New Orleans went ahead 29-20 late in the first quarter and appeared ready to blow out Sacramento. Instead, the Kings responded with a 7-0 run midway through the second quarter, getting to 41-39 on Greene's 3-pointer with 5:21 left.
Greene, a rookie whose season high was five points, started for the first time and scored 13 points in the first half, hitting three 3s.
"We want to win as many games as possible, but at the same time we want to develop our young guys," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "I thought the rookie came through with flying colors."
New Orleans starting guard Morris Peterson was a late scratch after starting the first nine games. He had fluid drained from his knee and is expected to miss the next two games. Rasual Butler started in his place and scored 10 points. ... Sacramento went 2-1 against the Hornets last season, joining Utah as the only Western Conference teams with winning records vs. New Orleans. ... Paul has at least one steal in 94 consecutive games, 11 shy of Alvin Robertson's NBA record of 105.