Closing in on .500

During their slow start, the Sacramento Kings could point to injury problems as the key reason for their struggles on the court.

Based on the way the team is playing now that it's healthy, that was a perfectly legitimate excuse.

Hoping to pull within one game of .500 for the first time in three months, the Kings go for their first five-game winning streak in nearly a year as they host the Seattle SuperSonics on Wednesday.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Sacramento -9.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 211.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 69% of bets for this game have been placed on Sacramento -9.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Sacramento (22-24) has won 10 of 14 games since Jan. 8, including a season-high four straight. The Kings haven't been one game under .500 since dropping their season opener at New Orleans, but they don't plan on just breaking even this season.

"We know all about (getting close to the .500 mark)," Sacramento guard Kevin Martin said. "We need to keep winning games and get to the playoffs."

That could be a challenge in the top-heavy Western Conference, but the Kings are certainly closer than many people expected them to be in an injury-plagued season under first-year NBA coach Reggie Theus.

Martin was sidelined for more than a month with a groin injury, forward Ron Artest missed extended time because of a league suspension and elbow surgery, and point guard Mike Bibby didn't make his season debut until Jan. 16 due to right thumb surgery.

Now that the team's top three scorers from last season are healthy, the Kings are finally jelling after a 12-20 start.

"We are coming up on 11 games of being together as a total unit and we seem to be finding a cohesive way to play," Theus said after Sacramento beat Chicago 105-101 on Saturday. The Kings haven't won five in a row since Jan. 31-Feb. 10, 2007.

Sacramento center Brad Miller, who struggled last season with several injuries, has benefited from the return of the team's top offensive options. The former Bull had 22 points and 20 rebounds against Chicago, and is averaging 22.0 points and 18.3 boards in his last three games.

"Brad's been playing great all year, but the last three games have been incredible for him," reserve swingman John Salmons said.

The Kings will put their win streak on the line against another club that has taken big strides lately. After setting a franchise record with 14 straight losses from Dec. 31-Jan. 27, the Sonics (12-36) have won three of four.

Seattle snapped its skid by beating defending NBA champion San Antonio, then beat reigning Eastern Conference champ Cleveland and lowly New York, but the Sonics had their season-high win streak snapped with a 118-108 loss to Chicago on Monday.

"We weren't looking to get a streak," said Seattle rookie Kevin Durant, who had 20 points and was one of seven Sonics players to score in double figures. "It would have been good, but we just want to take a game at a time."

Durant has averaged 23.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in his first two career games against the Kings, but the Sonics have lost both times. They've dropped seven of eight in the series overall and 11 of 14 at Arco Arena.

Martin is averaging 28.4 points and shooting 51.6 percent from the field in five games against Seattle since the start of the 2006-07 season.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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