Sacramento coach Eric Musselman led the team hours after he apologized for his arrest a day earlier on a drunken driving charge. Kings owners Gavin and Joe Maloof said no disciplinary action would be taken against the team's first-year coach, hired June 3 to replace fired coach Rick Adelman.
Francisco Garcia added 15 points, and Kevin Martin and Brad Miller had 14 each for the Kings (4-1).
Peja Stojakovic led the Hornets with 15 points, and Chris Paul had 14.
Sacramento point guard Mike Bibby left the game midway through the third quarter with a jammed right thumb, which would be X-rayed Monday, team officials said.
The Kings never trailed in the game as Artest sparked a quick first-quarter lead, scoring seven of Sacramento's first nine points. The Kings led 14-2 after a 3-point play by Bibby with 7:59 to play in the quarter.
The closest New Orleans could get in the game was 62-55 on a short jumper by Stojakovic with 8:45 left in the third quarter. The Kings responded with an 18-7 run to lead 80-62 with 3:37 left in the period.
Garcia scored eight of his 15 points in the fourth quarter as the Kings put the game away. Quincy Douby's slam dunk with 28 seconds left -- the final basket of the night -- gave Sacramento its biggest lead at 24 points.
Sacramento led 58-47 at halftime, after being up by as many as 18 points on a basket by Maurice Taylor to make it 53-35 with 3:39 left in the half.