Rockets guard Kevin Martin did not describe himself as "a scorer."

The term he chose was slightly different, but with a significant distinction in its implication.

Martin is, he said, "the scorer," as if that refers more to his job than just his ability, a designation more than description.

That, he said, is why with the season on the line, he consistently has led the Rockets' surging offense and late-season turnaround that have kept the team in unlikely playoff contention.

With the roster thinned at the trade deadline and the rotation shortened since, roles became clear. Responsibilities grew essential. Martin's job, more than ever, has been to score consistently.

"Kyle (Lowry) knows I'm the scorer, so he finds me," Martin, 6-7, said of the point guard and the chemistry they developed. "There's no secret about that."

Martin has led the Rockets in scoring in 10 of their last 11 games heading into tonight's matchup against his former team, the Sacramento Kings. He has averaged 27.3 points per game in that stretch, moving to ninth in the NBA in scoring with an average of 23.4 points per game.

"It's the time of year you have to pick it up," Martin, 28, said. "You're fighting for a lot of things. Being the offensive player I am, of course I had to pick things up and just take things into my hands. That's what we've been doing as a team and as an individual.