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Beno Udrih hits six 3s in Kings’ 102-89 win over Bucks

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COLIN FLY
December 20, 2007
— Mikki Moore didn’t miss a chance to tease Ron Artest in the locker room as Artest was meticulously tying his pink tie even though the Kings were only headed to the airplane.

“You know we’ve got a four-hour flight?” Moore said. “You’ve got time to fix your tie.”


Everything else Artest did on Wednesday night was meticulous, too.


Artest, who also had his son, Jeron, on the bench, scored 26 points and had eight assists and Beno Udrih hit a career-high six 3-pointers to help the Sacramento Kings beat the Milwaukee Bucks 102-89 to finish 3-2 on its five-game road trip after starting 0-9 on the road this season.


“We turned what was already a good road trip into a great road trip for us,” Kings coach Reggie Theus said. “On this road trip, we learned how to finish games.”


Artest, who also had four rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots, got a little unwanted advice from 6-year-old Jeron, who was busy playing video games and waiting for his father to get dressed.


“He was talking to me during timeouts, and I was like, ’Get out of here!”’ Artest said. “But he’s a good kid. He had fun. He said the best part of his day was the win.”


It was a good day for Udrih, as well, after a strange string of events led him to Sacramento. Udrih, who played a small role on two title teams with the Spurs, was traded to and released by Minnesota on Oct. 29, and signed by the Kings on Nov. 1. He finished with 24 points.


“Minnesota waived me because they already had like 18 players on the roster. I didn’t go to Minnesota. Then Sacramento picked me up. I always like Sacramento as a team, and I didn’t even hesitate. I didn’t wait for some other options to come,” Udrih said.


Sacramento, without Mike Bibby (thumb), Kevin Martin (groin) and Shareef Abdur-Rahim (knee), played six players at least 26 minutes, and everyone played a role. But Udrih was lights-out down the stretch as the Kings went 12-of-16 in the fourth quarter.


“The stars aligned for him,” said Brad Miller, who finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.


Michael Redd, who had 27 points for the Bucks, scored 10 straight midway through the fourth only for Sacramento to answer each time.


Udrih hit a bank-shot 3-pointer and Artest added a 3 of his own to give the Kings an 88-85 lead, then Artest stripped Redd and fed Francisco Garcia for a layup to stretch the lead to five.


After a timeout, Redd turned the ball over again on a sloppy pass, one of 20 turnovers by the Bucks, and Udrih hit another 3 as the 24-second clock expired.


On the next possession, Udrih, who finished with 11 points in the quarter, hit another shot from behind the arc, his sixth in seven attempts, to make it 96-87 with 2:28 left as the Kings finished on a 17-4 run.


“The banker got me going, I guess,” Udrih said. “I felt great on the shot, so I took it, and they all went in (after that).”


Said Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak: “The reality is we’re dead last in the league at defending the 3-point shot.”


Milwaukee, which has lost 12 of the last 14 against the Kings, squandered Andrew Bogut’s effort. Bogut had 12 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots, tying a career high. Mo Williams added 17 points on his 25th birthday, and rookie Yi Jianlian had 12 rebounds.


“We just need to get some momentum going,” Bogut said.


Yi struggled, missing his first seven shots before sparking the Bucks late in the third quarter with dunks on consecutive possessions, first off a pass from Charlie Bell and then following a Redd miss. Williams’ jumper tied it at 68-68 heading into the fourth quarter.


The Kings started out as hot as they finished, hitting seven straight shots to open the game and making 11 of their first 12 from the field to take an early 10-point lead behind Moore, who finished with 12 points, and John Salmons, who had 17 points.


But Sacramento couldn’t keep that torrid pace up and went in a deep slump midway in the second quarter, going more than 7 minutes without a field goal and missing 11 consecutive shots that allowed Milwaukee to take a 47-46 lead at the break.



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