SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Even though it's far from capacity and the fans far from boisterous, Arco Arena remains a comfortable home for the Sacramento Kings.
Coming back from a winless trip to start the season, the Kings used Kevin Martin's 27 points to win their third straight game Sunday night, pulling away in the second half to defeat the struggling Golden State Warriors 115-98.
A sagging economy and the team's sagging record has contributed to reduced attendance in Sacramento, where the Kings drew only 12,090 against the Warriors, their Northern California rivals from only 90 miles away.
Yet there is no arguing the Kings look like a different team now, compared to the club that limped home from four straight road losses, the final three by lopsided scores.
"We definitely knew we were better than we showed and people thought after the way we opened the season," Kings forward John Salmons said. "It was a tough road trip, everyone had to do a little soul searching. It's a process right now, we're growing, we're learning."
What the Kings may learn this week is how they fare without Martin, their leading scorer a year ago.
Fouled on a drive to the basket in traffic, Martin left the game 2:39 in the third quarter after making one of two foul shots. Limping noticeably on his tender left ankle, Martin went to the locker room and didn't play the remainder of the game.
Although Martin had an MRI exam that proved negative, his status is day-to-day. The Kings face Detroit at home Tuesday and travel to the Los Angeles Clippers one day later.
"It was a bad fall, it was an awkward fall," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "I think he came down on the leg, on that foot that just really couldn't support him. It's up to Kevin, he'll have to make that decision if he's going to play."
Coming off a 26-point effort two nights earlier in a win against Minnesota, Martin matched that total by midway through the third quarter against the Warriors. The Kings' leading scorer a year ago, Martin made 10 of 16 shots and seven of eight free throws in 30 minutes.
The Kings received another solid game from Brad Miller, who has played the past two games after missing the first five of the season due to a violation of the NBA's drug policy program. The veteran center scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds and six assists.
Andris Biedrins had 16 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks for the Warriors, who have dropped two straight and three of four. Stephen Jackson had 15 points and six assists, Kelenna Azubuike had 12, Anthony Randolph scored 11, while both CJ Watson and Brandan Wright added 10.
"It was a long day at the office," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "I thought the third quarter was our worst and we lost it right there. I guess we should expect that on occasions. They did not follow the game plan and lost their concentration."
The early season has been a transition period for the Warriors, who lost point guard Baron Davis to free agency in the summer and had leading scorer Monta Ellis suffer an ankle injury this summer that will sideline him for at least the first 30 games.
To make matters worse, the Warriors were also missing Al Harrington, who reportedly wants to be traded but is listed as having a strained lower back.
"No one else cares about your injuries or who isn't playing, we've got people hurt too," Salmons said.
The Kings continued to push the tempo during the third quarter when they began pulling away from the Warriors, who were offering little resistance defensively. Martin scored eight points and Salmons had seven as Sacramento took a 90-74 lead into the fourth.
"We are a wounded team right now," said Jackson, who was on the bench for the entire fourth quarter with most of the starters. "I have been getting doubled since the season started and more since guys got hurt and are not on the floor. I can't be frustrated right now because it can be a domino effect for the whole team. I'm just trying to stay positive."
Martin scored 19 points in a fast paced opening half, helping the Kings take a 63-57 lead. Jackson scored 13 points for the Warriors.
A backup center, Hawes has converted 9-of-12 3-point attempts this season and has the NBA's top percentage. A year ago, he shot 4-of-21 as a rookie. ... Warriors rookie DeMarcus Nelson graduated from Sheldon High in Sacramento, where he received some mentoring from Kings veteran guard Bobby Jackson. ... Warriors starting forward Corey Maggette missed his third straight game with a hamstring injury.
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