<
>

Sacramento finishes 5-0 homestand

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- After Bobby Jackson made another
3-pointer to put the Sacramento Kings ahead for good, he ran back
upcourt with his shoulders hunched and his knees bouncing skyward
with glee.

Jackson picked a good time to pick up his game -- and the rest of
the Kings' reserves followed his lead, carrying Sacramento to a
102-96 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night to
complete a perfect five-game homestand.

Jackson got 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, and
Darius Songaila scored eight of his 10 points. With Greg Ostertag
also providing timely defense on the otherwise unstoppable Yao
Ming, Sacramento got a big assist from its bench, which outscored
its opponents' reserves for the first time all season.

"Those guys all came in and did a nice job, and that was the
difference," said Jackson, who might be back to full health after
missing last season's playoff run with an abdominal injury.

"There's no feeling like when you go out and help your team
win, and that's the first night I really feel like I've done that.
I felt like I was the old Bobby Jackson."

Peja Stojakovic scored 22 points, while Brad Miller scored 13
points and played gritty last-minute defense on Yao in the Kings'
sixth straight victory overall.

Except for Chris Webber, both teams played superbly in their
fourth meeting on two continents in the last six weeks. Houston
lost despite making a season-best 52 percent of its shots,
outrebounding Sacramento and getting 29 points and nine rebounds
from Yao.

"I don't think I adjusted well at the end," Yao said. "I was
focused on what I needed to do, but I lost sight. We tried to get
the lead back quickly and gave the ball up."

Tracy McGrady scored 25 points -- none in the final six minutes --
for the Rockets, who lost in Sacramento for the 11th straight time
since 1999. Houston played without starter Charlie Ward, a
last-minute scratch with a sore right knee, but Yao and McGrady
nearly carried the Rockets to an unlikely win.

"It's just hard guarding those two guys when they both have
their game going," Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "I liked
our defense. We left some shooters open sometimes, but you're going
to have to do that when they're both killing you."

Houston took its first lead on Tyronn Lue's 3-pointer midway
through the third quarter, but Jackson's back-to-back 3-pointers in
the fourth gave Sacramento the lead for good.

"I never doubted he would break out," Adelman said. "He's too
tough. He's too tough-minded to stay out of it for long."

Webber scored 11 points on 3-of-17 shooting, but the Kings made
just seven turnovers and had 30 assists. They clung to a small lead
in the tense final minutes before Miller's three-point play with
2:17 left clinched just the type of tenacious home wins that have
defined the Kings in the last half-decade.

"We did what we wanted to do at the end," said Lue, who hit
three 3-pointers and had 13 points in Ward's starting spot. "We
got it in to Yao. We just didn't get it done."

Sacramento's preseason was thrown into upheaval by a weeklong
trip to China for two games against the Rockets. But since opening
the regular season with three straight road losses in Texas, the
Kings have won seven of eight and stayed perfect at Arco Arena.

Mike Bibby had 10 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for
the Kings, who had seven players scoring in double figures.

Rookie guard Andre Barrett played 18 minutes in his NBA debut
for the Rockets. Barrett, a former star at Seton Hall, scored six
points on two 3-pointers and didn't make a turnover.

Game notes
The Rockets have played eight of their first 13 games on
the road, with another game at Utah upcoming. ... Before the game,
Houston placed F Ryan Bowen on the injured list with left knee
tendinitis and activated Barrett. Bowen played sparingly in the
Rockets' first 12 games. ... Ostertag blocked Yao's shot in the
second quarter, forcing a jump ball. He finished with five points,
doubling his field goal total from his first 10 games with the
Kings.