Basketball: Rodriguez scores 24 as Kings top Hornets 112-96 |

Basketball: Rodriguez scores 24 as Kings top Hornets 112-96

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sergio Rodriguez scored a career-high 24 points, Jason Thompson had 22 points and 14 rebounds and the Sacramento Kings won their third straight game with a 112-96 victory Sunday over the New Orleans Hornets.

The Kings took the lead for good early in the second quarter and led the remainder of the game in upping their home record to 7-2. The Kings can complete a perfect four-game homestand with a victory Wednesday over Indiana.

Tyreke Evans had 14 points and Andres Nocioni and Beno Udrih each added 13 for the Kings, who moved to .500 with a surprising 8-8 record.

David West scored 24 points for the Hornets, who had won four of their previous five. Emeka Okafor had 20 points and nine rebounds, and Darren Collison had 11 points and six assists.

Rodriguez helped direct the Kings’ balanced offense by handing out five assists. After making a 3-pointer to put Sacramento ahead 102-87 with 3:06 remaining, he joyously leaped on the back of teammate John Brockman heading into a timeout.

Former King Peja Stojakovic missed the game for personal reasons but may rejoin the Hornets in time for Tuesday’s away game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Kings played without starting center Spencer Hawes, who bruised his right knee in Friday’s win over New Jersey.

Trailing by 12 points at the half, Okafor helped get the Hornets closer in the third quarter. He made all six shots and scored 13 points as the Hornets closed to 82-74 heading into the fourth.

Thompson had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Kings, who pulled away with a 31-19 second quarter to assume a 57-45 halftime lead.

NOTES: Kenny Thomas started in place of Hawes. It was the first start for Thomas since Dec. 12,2007. … Two-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul is sidelined indefinitely with a sprained ankle, but was vocal throughout the game on the Hornets bench. … A reserve guard, Rodriguez played the entire second quarter and had 11 points, three assists and two steals.