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Salmons, Thompson lead Kings past Charlotte
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SACRAMENTO (AP) — John Salmons has had some memorable games during his 10-year career. With his strong shooting against the Charlotte Bobcats, he added another to the list.

Salmons scored 19 of his 22 points in the third quarter and Jason Thompson had 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Kings in a 119-83 victory over the slumping Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday.

Salmons got the Kings going in the third quarter when they outscored the Bobcats 43-19 and took a 97-59 lead into the fourth. The point total was the most allowed in Charlotte franchise history and the most by the Kings this season.

“Anything he (Salmons) threw at the basket it went in,” Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap said. “He can do that and we knew that about him. A lot of those shots were contested by us. But full credit to him.”

Salmons scored all 19 points in the third in 4-minute stretch that included a four-point play. Salmons made 4 of 7 3s in the quarter and connected on all five free throws.

“When my teammates find me open and I’m in a rhythm, I have a lot of confidence that I’m going to knock the shots down,” said Salmons, who left the game for good late in the third quarter.

Marcus Thornton also scored 18 points for the Kings, who made 13 3-pointers in halting a stretch of seven losses in the previous eight games.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the Kings won by 36 points or more was on Nov. 15, 2005, in a 119-83 victory over Utah.

“We caught them on a bad night and today was our day,” said reserve center Chuck Hayes, who had 12 rebounds.

DeMarcus Cousins had 14 points, Tyreke Evans added 13 and Isaiah Thomas had 10 points and seven assists.

The Kings closed the first half with nine straight points, then opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run to extend their lead to 64-40. The advantage reached a high of 43 points early in the fourth quarter.

The Bobcats outscored the Kings 24-22 in the fourth quarter, which was about the only solace for Charlotte reserve Josh McRoberts afterward.

“It’s what you got to do. It was ugly,” McRoberts said. “You have to stay with it. You have to have a little bit of pride individually as a team. You don’t come into a game thinking that’s going to happen or wanting that to happen, but you’ve got to play hard.”

Byron Mullens and Gerald Henderson each scored 12 points for the Bobcats. Charlotte, which has lost five straight, was outrebounded 60-31 and shot 36 percent. Kemba Walker had 11 points and six assists.

The slide continued for the Bobcats, who opened the season 7-5. They have now dropped 10 of 11 games on the road, 22 of 26 overall and appear headed for the league’s worst record again.

Following a 1-4 road trip that dropped the Kings to 6-27 this season, Thompson said it felt good to be playing again in Sleep Train Arena.

“It’s good to be home and not eating room-service food,” Thompson said. “We play differently at home than we do on the road.”

Thompson had one of his most efficient games of the season. He made 6 of 8 shots and added two steals in easily getting a double-double in just under 28 minutes.

This was the first home game since the announcement by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson last week that a plan was in place to keep the Kings in Sacramento.

The NBA received an official offer on Friday from 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and billionaire Ron Burkle to buy the Kings. The announcement also came with a tentative plan to build a downtown arena.

In January, the Maloof family, the current owners, signed an agreement with a Seattle group led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer. The NBA board of governors is expected to vote in mid-April on that bid.

Leading by 14 points at halftime, the Kings stretched their lead quickly as the Bobcats continued to struggled offensively in the third quarter. Thomas made a pair of 3s to highlight a 15-2 run that gave Sacramento a 69-42 lead with 8:31 remaining in the period.

A year ago in a shortened season, Charlotte posted a 7-59 record, the worst winning percentage (.106) for a season in NBA history.

Cousins, Thompson and Thornton all had 12 first-half points for Sacramento, which led 54-40. Thornton made a pair of threes and had 10 points in the second quarter.

After taking a nine-point lead at the 3:17 mark of the first quarter, the Bobcats were outscored 38-15 the reminder of the first half. The Bobcats shot 4 of 17 in the second quarter when they were outscored 27-13.

NOTES: It was the first game in uniform for center Cole Aldrich, who came to the Kings following a trade with Houston that also included Toney Douglas and Patrick Patterson. Aldrich played 16 minutes and had three points and five rebounds ... It was an exciting end of the first half for the Kings, who had a spectacular dunk by Cousins followed by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Evans. ... Mullens, Charlotte’s center, had 10 points in the first half, but zero rebounds.