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Rockets Face An Old Friend As Kings Come To Town

(Sports Network) - Kevin Martin and the Houston Rockets shoot for their sixth straight home win tonight when they entertain Martin's former club, the Sacramento Kings, at Toyota Center.

Martin, a former first-round pick of the Kings that developed into one of the top pure scorers in the game in Sacramento, was acquired in a three-team deal last February that sent Carl Landry out west.

Since the trade, Martin is averaging 22.2 points in 47 games with Houston, including a season-high 40 in the team's last encounter, a 110-95 rout of Cleveland on Saturday.

Martin made 12 of his 19 shots from the field, in addition to 13-of-14 from the foul line in that one. Martin exploded out of the games and set the tone with 22 points in the first quarter, making 8-of-10 shots.

"I think the one thing he did tonight, is he came out at the very start, he was very aggressive," said Rockets head coach Rick Adelman. "It wasn't just he made threes, he got fouls. When he passed the ball early in the game he made hard cuts...that's something he's just got to continue to do."

Luis Scola finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Chase Budinger provided 16 points off the bench for the Rockets, who rebounded from Friday's loss at Milwaukee to win their fifth consecutive game in south Texas.

"I think we flew around better, our energy level picked up, our concentration picked up," said Rockets forward Shane Battier, who scored 16 points.

The Kings, meanwhile, continue to struggle mightily and lost for the ninth tine in 10 games on Saturday when Dwyane Wade and LeBron James combined for 61 points, and the Miami Heat extended their winning streak to eight games with a 104-83 victory in Sacramento.

Kings head coach Paul Westphal noted that his team took 90 shots to Miami's 79 and still lost by such a large margin.

"They whipped us on the boards," he said. "I'd like to have 90 field goal attempts to 79 every night we play."

Sacramento got 20 points from bench player Omri Casspi, but failed to build on a victory over Washington on Wednesday that snapped an eight-game losing streak.

"When you play the Miami Heat, you know you're going to have to deal with James and Wade," said Westphal, "and tonight we saw up close and personal how difficult it is."

Reigning Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans continues to struggle with a bad left foot and has scored just 13 points in the last two games. The swingman, who is averaging 16.5 points, almost four less than last season, was scheduled to travel with the Kings as they open a three-game road trip tonight but will be a game-time decision.

Houston has won two of the last three and five of the last seven meetings in the series.

For more on the Rockets, check out The Dream Shake.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.