Sacramento Kings Tuesday game wrap: Bench sparks Kings’ win 100-94

January 11, 2017

NBA, Sacramento Kings

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) drives to the basket around Detroit Pistons defender Tobias Harris (34) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. The Kings won 100-94. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)

By Jeremy Harness

SACRAMENTO – A severe rainstorm tore through Northern California Tuesday night, causing flooding in several areas and treacherous driving conditions everywhere.

The Kings had to endure a storm of their own early on that night, as missed opportunities and careless turnovers caused them to fall behind the Detroit Pistons for the majority of the game.

It wasn’t until key reserves and role players, such as Ty Lawson and Kosta Koufos, stepped up in the fourth quarter and propelled Sacramento in the final minutes, surging past the Pistons, 100-94, at Golden 1 Center.

“We can’t keep putting ourselves in these situations where we have to make these dramatic finishes in the end,” DeMarcus Cousins said. “We’ve just got to put a full game together.

“We’re going to continue to work on it, but we’ve got to (come up with) a solution quicker than we’ve been doing right now. We have to realize the constant mistakes that we’re making on a nightly basis.”

After a series of dispiriting wins early on in this current homestand, this win was equally gratifying due to the fact that the Kings (16-22) found themselves behind early but found a way to come back and win a game that they did not appear to have any business winning, particularly after turning the ball over 10 times in the first half alone.

A few things happened to turn things around for Sacramento. First off, the Kings did a much better job of holding on to the ball, as they committed only six turnovers in the second half while forcing Detroit into six of their own.

“There were fundamental, I-can’t-believe-I-just-did-that turnovers,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “I think we had three turnovers in the first half in the backcourt, which is very uncharacteristic. (To turn things around,) you just try and refocus.”

They also maintained their edge on the boards, as they outrebounded the Pistons 46-35 as well as grabbing four more offensive rebounds.

One more key was that it wasn’t all about DeMarcus Cousins, either. Cousins did have 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go along with 13 rebounds and six assists, a far cry from the nightmare outing he endured Sunday night against the Warriors.

But he got some help, particularly in a fourth quarter that saw the Kings claw their way from an 18-point deficit, a big portion of that coming with Cousins resting on the bench. Koufos, a one-time starter but has been relegated to a reserve role these days, especially sprung to life with 10 fourth-quarter points, finishing strong at the rim and also finishing with eight rebounds.

Although the stats don’t begin to tell the story for Lawson – eight points on 2-of-9 shooting and two assists against four turnovers – he settled down in the fourth quarter and put pressure on the Pistons with his penetration to the basket and presence on the defensive end, particularly when forcing Detroit guard Reggie Jackson to fumble the ball out of bounds midway through the quarter to keep the Kings’ surge going.

After sitting the first half of the fourth, Cousins re-entered the game with 6:39 remaining and Sacramento trailing by six, and the Kings only increased their momentum.

After a pair of Rudy Gay free throws, the Kings tied the game at 89-89 with just more than three minutes to go.

The Kings took their first lead since the first quarter when Garrett Temple, who has pushed his way into the starting lineup with his consistent play, sank a 3-pointer to put Sacramento ahead, 95-92, with 1:50 left.

However, Jackson came right back down and had a chance for a three-point play to tie the game. But Jackson missed the ensuing free throw, and Cousins quickly answered by draining a three to give Sacramento a 98-94 lead, a lead that they would not relinquish.

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