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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Kings shoot their way past Magic

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From page B1 | February 28, 2013 |

Isaiah Thomas, Jason Thompson

Sacramento's Isaiah Thomas (22) sets up a play with Jason Thompson, right, on Wednesday in Orlando as the Kings beat the Magic, 125-101. AP photo

ORLANDO, Fla. — If the Sacramento Kings were at all tired after their marathon loss to Miami a night earlier, it didn’t show.

John Salmons had 21 points to lead six players in double figures, helping the hot-shooting Kings cruise to a 125-101 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

Sacramento was coming off a double-overtime loss to the Heat, but showed few signs of a hangover, knocking down 10 3-pointers and shooting 54 percent (46-of-84) for the night. The Kings also shared the ball, finishing with 31 assists.

Reserve Marcus Thornton added 20 points, leading a bench that produced 64 points.

“When we play the type of basketball that we played (Wednesday), we’re a tough team to beat, and the night before as well,” said Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins. “These past two nights are probably the best basketball we played all season.”

The win ends a six-game losing streak and snaps a string of nine consecutive road losses by the Kings. It also marks their first season sweep of the Magic in nine years.

It’s just a speck on what has been a dismal year, but was still a night Sacramento coach Keith Smart hopes his team files away for future reference:

“The problem with our team is that when they give up on who succeeds and allow the team to function first, they’ve been able to play and compete against everyone. It all comes down to if our guys can be selfless and give themselves up.”

Tobias Harris led the Magic with a career-high 23 points, followed by Arron Afflalo with 15.

Orlando has lost 29 of its last 33 games and still hasn’t won back-to-back games since mid-December.

The Kings led by as many as 33 in the second half and didn’t let up until late, as their field goal percentage hovered near 60 percent.

They also took care of the ball, committing no turnovers in the third quarter.

Orlando was a step behind throughout with 18 turnovers that led to 20 Sacramento points.

“At the end of the day the games’ about wins and losses,” said Magic forward Al Harrington. “We wanted to win. Unfortunately we ran into a hot team. They make a lot of jump shots, when we tried to get adjusted to that they made a layup. Just one of those nights when we couldn’t get a stop.”

The Kings started a little sluggish before ending the first quarter on a 29-9 run to take a 14-point lead into the second.

The momentum carried over as Sacramento led by as many 25 points and was up a comfortable 67-44 at halftime.

Sacramento had five players in double-figures by the break and hit shots from everywhere, shooting 62 percent in the half (28 for 45). The Kings also got several runouts that led to easy fast-break points. The Magic came in at just 35 percent (15-of-42).

“We’ve had stretches like this earlier in the season, where we’re moving the ball … then we kind of take a step back,” Salmons said. “Just have to stay consistent on moving the ball like we have been doing. We need to focus on our defense and give ourselves a chance.”

Orlando has little time to stew over its latest poor effort, though, hosting Houston on Friday.

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn refused to give his team a pass for its shortcomings, despite playing six games in just nine nights.

“That’s part of the NBA,” he said. “There’s a bunch of guys in that locker room where they haven’t played six games in nine nights before. So this is new and the thing is to learn from is so when it happens the next time we’re better.”

Notes: Magic point guard Jameer Nelson missed his fourth straight game with a left patella contusion. … Smart said that center Cole Aldrich, who was acquired as part of the Houston trade last week, is expected to join the team on Friday when Sacramento ends its current five-game road trip in San Antonio. He has been finishing up some medical testing. … Orlando dropped to 2-8 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

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