Martin, Udrih leads Kings over Pistons
February 11, 2010
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Beno Udrih was known to most Detroit Pistons fans as the San Antonio point guard who struggled against Chauncey Billups in the 2005 NBA finals.
They might remember him differently now.
Udrih scored 18 of his 22 points in the first half as his Sacramento Kings beat the Pistons 103-97 on Wednesday night. He had played just six minutes of an overtime win in New York the previous night.
“Udrih just lit us up,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. “He barely played in New York, but he was great tonight. Guys like that are in the NBA for a reason, and you have to respect them.”
The Kings have won back-to-back road games after winning just three of their first 25 away from home.
“I’m very happy, because one of our problems has been letting go of leads, and the last two nights, we’ve done just the opposite,” Kings coach Paul Westphal said. “We were having a hard time playing with any energy at the beginning of the game, but Beno came in and was very aggressive and changed the tone of the game.”
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Kevin Martin led the Kings with 26 points, while Andres Nocioni added 13 and Tyreke Evans had seven of his 13 in the final five minutes.
“Beno and Nocioni came in and gave us a spark, which is what we needed,” Martin said. “It was huge for our confidence to get these two wins, especially since we were struggling on this road trip. We knew what we were up against tonight, going into the All-Star break, but we didn’t pack it in.”
Tayshaun Prince led the Pistons with 23, while Rodney Stuckey finished with 17. Detroit has lost five of six at home, with the only win coming over hapless New Jersey.
“This was very disappointing,” said Charlie Villanueva, who finished with 11 points off the bench. “We gave them that game.”
Richard Hamilton and Ben Gordon combined for 17 points on 5-for-26 shooting in 50 minutes. Gordon went 0 for 8.
“Those are two guys that are outstanding scorers, and we’ve got to find them a way to get into our offensive flow,” Kuester said. “Rip had some good looks tonight, but we’ve got to create something for Ben.”
The Pistons took a 56-55 halftime lead on Stuckey’s layup at the buzzer. Udrih had 18 points in 16 first-half minutes, while Stuckey had 13 points and six assists for Detroit.
Sacramento scored in the final second in the third quarter as Spencer Hawes’ put-back dunk pulled the Kings within 79-78.
Back-to-back layups by Evans gave Sacramento a 91-85 lead with 4:30 left. Jonas Jerebko’s three-point play cut into the margin, but Evans’ dunk clinched it with 30 seconds left.
“Our defense really stiffened up and we actually got some stops,” Westphal said. “That’s what you need to win road games in this league. We’re learning and getting good performances from different people. I hate to see the break coming right now.”
NOTES: Jerebko and Omri Casspi both started, marking the first Swede vs. Israeli matchup in NBA history. The pair will play together on the rookie team in Friday’s rookie-sophomore game. Casspi was greeted by a group of fans waving Israeli flags. … The Kings lost a point midway through the third quarter when Martin’s 3-pointer three minutes earlier was reviewed and ruled a 2-point shot. There was another lengthy review at the end of the quarter before Hawes’ dunk was ruled good.