by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Sacramento Kings played their best game of the three-game road trip on Saturday night in Detroit even though they lost the game 108-99. The Pistons (7-3) went on a 16-5 scoring run late in the third quarter and the Kings (1-8) were unable to close the gap after that run losing their seventh consecutive game. Sacramento finished 0-3 on the road trip.
The Kings played their best basketball against the most physical team they had to face on the road trip. Maybe the most important accomplishment was scoring more than 86 points in a game which they had not done in their last four contests. There are no moral victories but there are games where a team can show improvement. That is what the Kings showed on Saturday night. They showed improvement.
Dave Joerger went with a starting five consisting of veterans and youth. Zach Randolph and Garrett Temple were the vets who started. Third- year man Willie Cauley-Stein got the start at center while rookies Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Aaron Fox were also in the starting five. Fox started at point guard because George Hill was not with the team due to personal reasons.
Joerger would also use a 12 man rotation versus the Pistons. Everyone on the Kings bench except Papagiannis played in the game.
The Kings managed to take the lead in this game. Their biggest lead was only one point but in was a lead. They stayed within three to four points of the lead for much of game.
- Zach Randolph led the Kings in scoring with 19 points shooting 8-for-14 (57.1-percent) from the floor. Z-Bo also hit 2-of-3 from behind the 3-point line. Randolph played almost 30-minutes in the game.
- Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 14 points against the Pistons hitting 6-of-7 shots from the field (85.7-percent). He was a perfect 2-for-2 from 3-point land. As usual, Bogdanovic played very strong defense as well.
- De’Aaron Fox also posted 14 points but seven of those points came in the fourth quarter when the game was really out of reach. He dished out four assists in his 26-minutes on the floor.
- Buddy Hield — who was nursing a sore ankle from the Boston game — put 13 up points and grabbed eight rebounds.
- Garrett Temple had a very solid game with 10 points, three rebounds, three steals and one assist.
- Willie Cauley-Stein who struggled in the first half really improved in the second half scoring eight points to go with three rebounds, four assists and two steals.
- Frank Mason played an important role as the point guard for the second unit in the game. Mason played 21-minutes scoring seven points and distributing six assists.
- Avery Bradley led the way for the victorious Pistons with 24 points. He hit 10-of-15 shots from the floor (66.7-percent). Bradley played 32-minutes for Detroit versus the Kings.
- Power Forward Tobias Harris scored 20 points, hauled in five rebounds, added five assists, had one steal and one block in the game.
- Big man Andre Drummond posted another double-double scoring 16 points and grabbing 19 rebounds. He also had four assists, three steals and one block.
- Point guard Reggie Jackson — who was the subject of trade rumors earlier in the week- scored 15 and dished out seven assists.
- Former King Anthony Tolliver scored 10 points against his former team.
- The Kings shot an impressive 52.6-percent (40-for-76) from the field. They hit 10-of-21 (47.6-percent) of their 3-point attempts.
- The Kings still did not make it to the free throw line enough on Saturday night. They made 9-of-13 opportunities. Sacramento needs to bring that free throw attempted number up to 20-plus.
- Sac pulled down 32 total rebounds (3 off/ 29 def) which is on the low side and could be of concern if those numbers continue to be low.
- The Kings had 24 assists and committed 18 turnovers which resulted in 18 Piston points. The assist to turnover ratio is well below the goal of 2-to-1.
- The Pistons also shot over 50-percent from the floor as they hit 40 of their 79 field goal attempts.
- Detroit was on fire from “downtown” as they connected on 13-of-24 (54.2-percent) of their shots from behind the 3-point arc.
- They hit 15-of-22 attempts from the charity stripe.
- It was a low rebounding game for both teams as the Pistons hauled in 35 (8 off/ 27 def) rebounds.
- Detroit came close to the 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio as they posted 28 assists versus 15 turnovers. Their turnovers turned into nine Sacramento points.
- The Pistons had 10 steals against Sacramento Saturday night.
Up next on the schedule
The Kings flew home after the game and will be off until Tuesday when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden 1 Center. Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony should provide quite a challenge for the Kings.
The Pistons stay in Detroit and will return to action on Wednesday when the Indiana Pacers visit Little Caesar’s Arena.
*Photos by USA Today Sports