Kings 116, Wizards 91
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP)
It was Pooh Jeter who wound up being the top rookie on the floor Wednesday night.
The 27-year-old Jeter had career highs of 13 points and nine assists for Sacramento (5-15), which entered with the NBA's worst record. His speed and quickness off the bench energized the crowd and sparked the Kings several times in a rare lopsided victory.
Not bad for a guy who spent much of the early season on the inactive list and had played in only seven previous games.
''I'm happy that the coach is starting to believe in me,'' said Jeter, who signed with the Kings as a free agent. ''It was frustrating. I wanted to be on the court. I just had to keep my confidence up. Sometimes you just have to wait your turn.''
The Kings had certainly been waiting their turn for a game like this. They shot 54 percent, made 15 steals and finished one point shy of their season high set in an opening-night win against Minnesota.
Donte Green and Omri Casspi each scored 12 points for the Kings, who started 3-1 before dropping 14 of their next 15 games.
''We played a full 48 minutes, which we hadn't experienced in a while,'' Thompson said. ''We got stops, we pushed the ball, and that's when we're at our best.''
Wall sat out with a sore foot. The Wizards guard was announced as a starter by the public address announcer but never left the bench.
That wiped out what was supposed to be the first NBA meeting between Wall and Cousins, freshman teammates last season at Kentucky. Wall was selected first overall in this year's draft, and Cousins went No. 5 to Sacramento.
Cousins started the game and finished with 10 points, five rebounds and five fouls in 24 minutes.
''It's frustrating that we are two different teams - a great team at home and a terrible team on the road,'' Arenas said. ''We just have to find a happy medium.''
Wall was replaced in the starting lineup by Hinrich. It marked the fifth game this season Wall has missed due to foot problems. He had 22 points and a season-high 14 assists Tuesday night in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
''I don't know what happened,'' Wall said. ''I went out there, tried to run and couldn't push off like I wanted to. So I just took the game off. It was a tough contest to miss, but I have to try and get back healthy.''
Cousins downplayed the significance of facing Wall for the first time, but said he didn't mind that the speedy guard had to watch from the bench.
''It made the game a lot easier for us,'' Cousins said. ''His foot was bothering him. I know he really wished he was out there playing.''
After Washington opened the fourth quarter with six straight points, the Kings scored 13 unanswered points. A fast-break dunk by Thompson gave the Kings a 105-76 lead midway through the quarter.
Tyreke Evans concluded a very productive third quarter for the Kings by making a 3-pointer with 1 second left, giving Sacramento a 92-70 lead heading into the fourth.
The Kings have played some terrible third quarters this season, but that wasn't the case against Washington. They emerged from halftime and made 11 of their first 14 shots. Evans' jumper gave the Kings an 83-62 lead with 3:22 left in the third.
With the Kings ahead by one entering the second, Jeter was the catalyst in a 33-18 quarter. He did much the same in the fourth when the Kings built the lead to a high of 32 points.
''We had a nice lead and he came in and helped us up it and put the game away,'' Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said. ''It was really nice to see Jason play the way he can play and Beno was making shots again and making good decisions.''
Udrih scored 19 first-half points for the Kings, who led 59-45 at the break. Trailing 34-32, Sacramento ran off 12 straight points in the second quarter to take the lead for good.
Hinrich scored 12 points in the first half for the Wizards.
NOTES: Kings center Samuel Dalembert did not return from Philadelphia in time for the game. He was there to attend 76ers beat writer Phil Jasner's funeral. Jasner passed away from complications of cancer. A defensive presence for the Kings, Dalembert is averaging 4.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.83 blocks per game this season. ... Kings radio man Gary Gerould was honored at halftime for announcing his 2,000th game. Udrih made two 3-pointers and scored 13 points in the first quarter. The Wizards shot 6 of 21 in the second quarter. ... Evans has been bothered by plantar fasciitis this season, but the Kings have ruled out the possibility that the injury is a stress fracture. He will have an MRI on Thursday.