Martin plays through pain, propels Kings past slumping Wolves

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A tender left ankle had Sacramento Kings star Kevin Martin seriously considering sitting out against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Martin decided to play and scored 26 points, and the Kings welcomed back starting center Brad Miller and never trailed in a 121-109 victory Friday night.

Martin said he told Kings coach Reggie Theus he wouldn't be playing following the morning shootaround. Still, Martin proved as difficult to stop as normal, shooting 9-of-23 from the field, 6-of-7 from the free throw line and adding five rebounds.

"It was a little sore, but once warmups were over I put it behind me," Martin said. "No one is going to feel sorry for you once the game starts."

The Kings certainly didn't feel sorry for the Timberwolves, who were coming off a 129-125 double-overtime loss to San Antonio where they allowed Tony Parker to score a career-high 55 points.

Two nights later, the Timberwolves still weren't showing much at the defensive end. The Kings shot 55 percent in registering a season-high point total.

John Salmons scored 23 points for the Kings, Beno Udrih had 15 and Spencer Hawes 13. Mikki Moore had 12 points and Miller contributed 11 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

Miller missed the first five games for violating the NBA's drug policy program. He displayed his typical game, playing a facilitator on offense and grabbing rebounds at the defensive end.

"I was doing the same things I always do, it's not like I'm some young guy," Miller said. "I felt comfortable out there."

So did Kevin Love, who had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Timberwolves in his first NBA start, yet couldn't stop the Timberwolves from dropping their fourth straight game. The rookie from UCLA scored 10 points in the first quarter and had 14 points and five rebounds by halftime.

Mike Miller scored 16 points, Sebastian Telfair had 15 and seven assists, while Al Jefferson had 14 points and nine rebounds.

"Until we are committed defensively we don't have a chance," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "We are not committed individually and we are not committed as a team. That's the way we played."

Ahead by 13 entering the fourth quarter, the Kings scored nine straight points, including Martin's 3-pointer that gave them their biggest lead at 101-79 with 10:14 remaining. It was the second straight win for the Kings, who opened the season with four straight road losses.

"Going back to last year, it's just never been the characteristic of our team to sort of just play lethargic like that (to open the season)," Theus said. "I thought that the absence of Brad really had something to do with that, because when things start going bad on one end of the floor we didn't have that stabilizing person out there that everybody is comfortable with in terms of running the offense through like Brad."

The Kings finally received a solid game from Udrih, who signed a multiyear contract in the offseason, but missed the last half of preseason nursing an injury. The veteran point guard played poorly in the first five games, shooting 39 percent and committing 19 turnovers.

"I was struggling for a couple of games, so it was good to come out and make some shots," said Udrih, who was 6-of-11 and more importantly had only one turnover. "I built on that and kept being aggressive."

Martin came out strong in the third quarter, scoring seven points as the Kings continued to get good looks offensively in building their lead to 92-79 entering the fourth quarter.

"We just have to fine a way to execute and trust each other," Mike Miller said. "We all feel comfortable with what we have to do, but it's not happening."

The Kings had it going offensively from the start, outscoring Minnesota 36-27 in a fast-paced opening quarter. Salmons had 13 points, Martin had 11 and Udrih 10 in the opening half, helping the Kings take a 62-55 lead into halftime.

Game notes
Theus and Wittman are among the five NBA head coaches who were former Kings players. ... The Timberwolves had defeated the Kings three times in a row, including a season-opening win last week in Minnesota. ... Kings reserve guard Quincy Douby, who was injured throughout the preseason, missed the game with an ankle injury.