The Sacramento Kings kicked off their longest road trip of the season on Friday night in Memphis versus the Grizzlies. It was big night for head coach Dave Joerger, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter as they were returning to the city where they enjoyed great success as members of the Grizzlies basketball organization.
Unfortunately for the Kings, they were not able to make it a great night for Joerger, Z-Bo and Vince by handing the Grizzlies a loss and making the local fans realize what they are missing by not having those three men still involved with their team.
Memphis handed Sacramento their seventh consecutive loss as they beat the Kings 106-88. For the Grizzlies, it was their third win in a row.
The Kings continued their commitment to young player development on Friday night. Sacramento started Justin Jackson, Willie Cauley-Stein, Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Aaron Fox and because it was his first time back in Memphis–veteran Zach Randolph was in the starting five.
The Kings started slow and trailed the Grizz 30-17 after the first 12 minutes. The men from SAC pulled things together in the second period and outscored the hometown team 23-10 to make it a 40-40 game at the half.
As it has been so many times this season, the third quarter was the Kings undoing in this contest. Memphis took control of the game and won the quarter putting up 27 points to Sacramento’s 19.
The Grizzlies seized upon the lead they established in the third quarter and went on to dominate the final period by outscoring the Kings 39-29. Not only was this Sacramento’s seventh consecutive loss but it starts them out 0-1 on this long, tough road trip.
Stars of the Game
Star of the game for the Grizzlies has to go to former Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore. McLemore came off the bench to play almost 27 minutes and score 21 points against his old mates. He shot six for 13 from the field–including three 3-point baskets. Ben “Mac” went a perfect six for six from the free throw line. McLemore played like a man who had something to prove to other side.
Dillion Brooks gets a co-star billing for being the high scorer in the game with 22 points. Brooks shot eight for 13 from the floor and three for six from behind the 3-point line. He also was a good thief as he grabbed three steals in his 27-plus minutes of playing time.
The Kings star of the game is starting point guard De’Aaron Fox who scored a team-high 16 points. Fox hit five of 12 shots from the floor and went a perfect five for five from the free throw line. The rookie point guard also dished out six assists in the contest.
The co-star tag goes to veteran Vince Carter. Carter played just over 23 minutes and posted 15 points. The Kings “O.G” went five for nine from the floor and all five of his baskets were 3-point conversions. Tomorrow morning he may not be able to walk, but Friday night he was 21 years old again.
Memphis took good care of the basketball. They committed 13 turnovers (16 Kings points) while they posted 24 assists. That put them right at the target of the 2-to-1 ratio that every coach wants to see.
The Grizzlies out-rebounded the Kings 49-44
Memphis outscored Sacramento on the fast break 19-12
Sacramento turned the ball over 21 times (26 Memphis points) and recorded just 18 assists. That is a negative assist to turnover ratio. That will not help you record a win.
The Kings shot just 40 percent (32 for 80) for the game. The Grizzlies shot 44.3 percent (39 for 88) from the field. Memphis did not shoot great but it was just enough better than Sacramento to post the win.
The Kings gave the opposition an advantage in the third quarter again on Friday night. Sacramento cannot have those third quarter let downs and expect to win games.
Sacramento is off until Monday night when they will play the Hornets in Charlotte. Maybe a couple of good practices will help them be ready to face the Hornets and break the losing streak.
Memphis has to get right back to business on Saturday as they have to face the Pelicans in New Orleans. The NBA schedule can be a harsh mistress.
On New Year’s Eve at the Golden 1 Center, something happened that has not really been heard in the new building. In the third quarter, fans began booing their hometown Kings. They were frustrated with their play and the fact that the Kings were trailing the Grizzlies 90-63.
When the third quarter ended, a large number of fans headed for their cars in order to beat crowds coming into downtown and to get to their New Year’s parties early. Those who left had no hope that their Kings would mount a comeback in the final period. They were right.
Sacramento held the lead only twice in the contest. They took the first lead of the game on a Bogdan Bogdanovic 26-foot three-point basket for the first score of the game. After the Grizzlies tied the game on a Tyreke Evans 3-pointer – the Kings took a 5-3 lead when George Hill scored on a fast break. That would be the last time the home team would hold the lead in the game.
The Grizzlies lead was 14-points at the end of the first quarter and 18 at the half. Memphis built their lead to as many as 32-points in the third period and to a game-high 33-points in the fourth quarter.
After losing to the Warriors 141-128 on Saturday night, the Grizzlies should have been tired and ripe for the pickings in the second game of a back-to-back set on the road. Instead, they seemed pumped up by their performance and used that energy against the Kings for the entire 48-minutes on Sunday afternoon.
Star of the Game: Former King Tyreke Evans came back to Sacramento and showed off his skills in front of the fans who once cheered for him when he wore purple and white. Evans – who has stepped up to really help a team that has been beset by injury and the loss of free agents – scored a game-high 26 points. He hit 10-of-16 shots from the field and 5-of-7 from beyond the 3-point line. Evans also grabbed seven rebounds and five assists. His +/- rating was an impressive plus-23.
Co-Star: Jarell Martin -third-year player out of LSU. The 6-10 forward put up 11-points in 24-minutes off the bench. He went 5-for-8 from the field and 1-for-1 from 3-point land.
Co-Star: Deyonta Davis came off the bench to score 10-points and pull down nine rebounds in just over 23-minutes of playing time. The Grizzlies bench scored 64-points in the game.
Supporting Player Kings fans know: Ben McLemore is now a member of the Grizzlies and he played the entire fourth quarter. Ben Mac scored eight-points making two 3-point baskets and sinking two free throws.
Star of the Game: Willie Cauley-Stein takes the honors for the Kings on Sunday night. He posted 21-points shooting 8-for-14 from the floor and going 5-for-9 from the free throw line. Cauley-Stein also grabbed eight rebounds and made to two steals in his almost 29-minutes on the court.
Co-Star: Buddy Hield worked hard in his 30-minutes of playing time off the bench. Hield scored 15-points shooting 5-for-14 for the game and hit 3-of-7 from downtown. He also dished out two assists as well.
The Grizzlies shot an impressive 53.9-percent (41-for-76) for the game. They hit 14-of-30 (46.7-percent) tries from behind the 3-point line.
Memphis took advantage of the free throw line converting 18-of-24 opportunities (75-percent).
The Grizzlies recorded 11 steals in the contest – five more than the Kings
Blocked shots: Memphis posted eight in the game. Veteran Marc Gasol had four of those blocks in the first quarter of the game.
The Kings shot 43-percent for the game but only because the shot almost 58-percent in “garbage time” in the fourth quarter when the outcome of the game had already been decided.
Sacramento did not help themselves at the free throw line. The Kings went to the line 25 times but hit only 13 of those shots (52-percent). They are called free throws for a reason. A team must take advantage of those opportunities.
The Kings did do a better job working the boards on Sunday. They grabbed 42 rebounds while Memphis recorded 44 rebounds. That was a real improvement over the Phoenix game.
The Kings first game of the new year will be versus the Charlotte Hornets at the Golden 1 Center on Tuesday, January 2. The Hornets are coming in off a 106-98 New Year’s Eve loss to the Clippers. This will be the first meeting of the season between the two teams.
The Grizzlies will wrap up their West Coast swing with a game in Los Angeles versus the Clippers on Tuesday at Staples Center.
It is that time of year when winning can be losing and losing can be winning
If you are an NBA team that is not headed to the Playoffs, there is very little incentive for your management to encourage your team to win games. The fact is – the more games your team loses – the better your chances are in the NBA Draft Lottery and the NBA Draft.
The 2017 NBA Draft has been labeled as one of the most talent-laden drafts in a decade or more. Non-playoff teams want to have the best possible selection positions as possible for this once in decade or more event. The question becomes how do you tell your players and fans that their team needs to lose games now to make things better in the future.
“Tanking” is a word that no one in NBA HQ wants to hear or acknowledge exists. The whole concept of a professional sports team doing less than its best to win a game is repugnant to sports fans everywhere, but yet, the current draft system totally encourages teams to “tank” after they are eliminated from Playoff contention.
Commissioner Adam Silver and his staff need to come up with a plan that rewards non-playoff teams for winning rather than losing as they head into the Draft Lottery. It would be better for the fans, players and the game overall. The game cannot have a system where winning is losing.
The Kings won the game because of their 3-point shooting and rebounding
The Kings shot an incredible 54.5-percent (12-for-22) from beyond the 3-point line on Tuesday night. Ben McLemore was a perfect 5-for-5 from downtown. Buddy Hield hit 4-of-7 from long range. Langston Galloway converted 2-of-4 three point attempts.
The Mavericks attempted 43 three-point shots. They were successful just 12 times(27.9-percent).
Sacramento outrebounded Dallas 50-39. The Kings grabbed 10 offensive rebounds and 40 on defense.
The Kings outscored the Mavs in the paint 38-30.
Ben Mac was on fire
Ben McLemore scored 11 points in the final 4:02 of the third quarter. He would go on to lead the Kings in scoring with 22 points. McLemore went 5-for-5 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Buddy Hield – the Western Conference Rookie of the Month – finished with 16 points. Four of his five field goals were 3-point baskets.
The Kings converted 12-of-22 (54.5-percent) from 3-point land in the game.
SACRAMENTO–The Sacramento Kings four-game winning streak came to a screeching halt on Saturday as they lost to the Charlotte Hornets 99-85. The Buzz City team was in desperate need of a win to stop a five-game losing slide that had them falling farther away from the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Kings (25-34) looked sluggish early on in the game which is to be expected. After experiencing the huge high of the win over Denver on Thursday without DeMarcus Cousins on the roster, the team was really set up to have a let down. Facing a Hornets (25-33) team that has been playing poorly, it was really easy for the young team not to come in pumped up and ready to conquer.
Even after a less than spectacular first half the Kings trailed by just 11 at halftime. It was the opening 4:33 of the third quarter that did Sacramento in and led them to a loss. The Kings did not score until Ben McLemore hit a 3-point bucket at the 7:27 mark but by then the Hornets had opened up a 23-point lead. Charlotte would continue to ride that big lead for the remainder of the contest.
This is going to be the reality of watching this young team over the final 23 games of the season. They will at times look brilliant, full of energy and unstoppable. At other times, they are going to look tired, confused and inept. That is just the reality of having a young roster filled in with seasoned veterans. Sometimes it will be fun and sometimes it won’t.
Kings head coach Dave Joerger on the game
“Guys battled. I think we spend a lot of emotion as talked about in pregame of the game the other night. Tonight the was a situation where you had a team that is a veteran team, a very physical team. They pushed us around the court most of the night with their size and their experience at all positions. I’m not talking about just in the middle, we were okay in the middle. But twos, threes and fours – they took us out of some stuff. We didn’t do a great job finishing at the rim and in the paint. We were 15-for-34 in the paint and had a tough night shooting. So hats off to them. They’re a good team, and they’ve got a chance to get in the playoffs too.”
Ben McLemore was the Kings leading scorer with 18 points. Ben Mac had a slow start and found his rhythm when he drove the baseline for a slam. It seamed to jolt him alive and he finished shooting 7-for-15
Rookie Buddy Hield had a solid game coming off the bench to score 15 points while shooting 5-for-10 from the field in his 26-minutes of playing time
Anthony Tolliver made an impact early in the game especially with the 3-ball. Tolliver finished with 11 points going 3-for-6 from 3-point land
Tyreke Evans made his presence known with 11 points, five assists and five rebounds in 22 minutes on the floor
Darren Collison had a solid game at the point scoring 10 points while dishing out five assists
Skal Labissiere had a very nice game scoring eight points and grabbing 13 rebounds (3 offensive). Labissiere is looking very comfortable on the floor
Willie Cauley-Stein had a tough game scoring just two points and grabbing only two rebounds
Big Frank Kaminsky was the man for Charlotte. He scored a game-high 23 points shooting 5-for-9 from behind the 3-point line. Kaminsky also hauled in 13 rebounds for a double-double game
Forward Marvin Williams added 16 points while Nicholas Batum put up 15 points despite shooting just 4-for-17 from the floor
Kemba Walker had a very quiet game scoring just 12 points while distributing six assists
Former King Marco Belinelli scored 13 points shooting 4-for-7 including two 3-point baskets
The Kings will be back in action Monday when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden 1 Center. The Kings are 2-0 versus the T-Wolves this season.
The Hornets have to go back to work on Sunday night in Los Angeles when they will play the Clippers at the Staples Center.
A Malachi Richardson Medical Update
The Kings rookie shooting guard who suffered a partial tear of the right hamstring continues to rehab the injury. There is still no date for his return to action but there is no need for surgery which is good news for the player and the team.
The Sacramento Kings were in a must win situation on Sunday night when they hosted the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans are also a “Tier 3” team that is trying to break free of the NBA Draft Lottery and make it into the first-round of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs.
The Kings entered the game with a predicted 69-percent chance of winning the contest with the Pelicans. The Kings had won three of their five previous games. Sacramento is still in the hunt for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The men in white and purple had a lot on the line.
The Kings (22-32) did not disappoint their fans as they downed the Pelicans (21-34) 105-99. Sacramento repeated their familiar pattern where they under-performed in the first half and excelled in the second half. The Kings have been victorious in four of their last six games.
Where the Kings stand in the Playoff Race
The Kings are currently in 10th place 1.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Trail Blazers stand in between the two teams one game behind the Nuggets and one-half game ahead of the Kings. All three teams are 5-5 in their last 10 games.
It was another battle of Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday night
The premiere match up of the night was at center which featured two former Kentucky Wildcats – DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. Davis – “the Brow” is an All-Star starter for the Western Conference and Cousins – “Boogie” is a Western Conference All-Star reserve.
Davis scored a game-high 32 points and made it double-double by adding 10 rebounds. He shot an impressive 11-for-24 from the floor and went a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line in his 40-minutes on the floor.
Cousins led the Kings scoring attack with 28 points and also recorded a double-double by hauling in 14 rebounds. He dished out seven assists. Cousins shot 7-for-14 from the field and went 14-for-16 from the charity stripe.
Stars of the game
Darren Collison gets the star for Sacramento. When the Kings needed someone to step up, Collison was the man. He finished with 20 points (7-for-16 shooting including 2 3-point baskets), eight assists, six rebounds and three steals. Collison again played big minutes playing just under 41-minutes in the game.
The star has to go to “the Brow”. The fact is without the presence of Davis and his finesse on the floor the Pelicans are never really in this game. New Orleans is very much like Sacramento. Take their former Kentucky big man out of the lineup and they are a team that is in deep, deep trouble.
Looking into the book
Matt Barnes was important on offense when needed him and then on defense when the situation called for it. Barnes finished with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists. He also hit 2-of-6 3-point tries.
Ben McLemore had an 11 point game with nine of those points coming off three 3-point baskets. He hit on 3-of-5 tries from long range.
Arron Afflalo put up 10 points, had two assists and one steal
Anthony Tolliver struggled a bit shooting as he scored nine points on nine shots. All of his points came off 3-point buckets.
Willie Cauley-Stein – the other big man from Kentucky – scored eight points in 17-minutes on the floor. Cauley-Stein did a pretty good job defending Davis which is no easy task.
As a team: the Kings shot 44.9-percent; they went 11-for-31 (35.5-percent) for 3-pointers; they converted 24-of-27 from the free throw line; they out-rebounded the Pels 46-36; Sacramento had 23 assists and made 20 turnovers giving up 16 points to New Orleans.
Jrue Holiday had another solid game posting a double-double with 16 points and 11 assists
Dante Cunningham scored 14 points hitting on 4-0f-7 from long range. Do not leave that man open in 3-point land.
Solomon Hill went 3-for-5 from the field (all 3-point attempts) and scored nine points
As a team: the Pels shot 41.5-percent; they went 13-for-31 (41.9-percent) from downtown; NOP had 23 assists and 18 turnovers that resulted in 15 Sacramento points.
Now that’s hitting below the below the belt
The Pelicans’ Buddy Hield was ejected from the game with 2:55 remaining to play in the second quarter after he literally hit DeMarcus Cousins below the below the belt. Cousins had already been assessed a technical foul and any retaliation by Cousins could well have resulted in his ejection. The Kings big man kept his cool. The officials in New Jersey reviewed the play and Hield’s actions were ruled a Flagrant 2 foul which resulted in an automatic ejection.
Who knows how the game would have turned out had Hield still been on the floor in the fourth quarter?
Night of Technical Fouls
The officiating crew felt free to pass out “tech fouls” in the game on Sunday night. They issued three:
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry picked up the first “tech” just 2:11 into the game when he let the officials know he felt DeMarcus Cousins should have been called for a foul on a play that resulted in two points for Sacramento.
Cousins picked up his 17th technical foul of the season with 1:06 to go in the first quarter when he tangled up with Donatas Motiejunas under the Pelicans basket. The play was reviewed to see if it was a flagrant foul which it was ruled not to be. If Cousins is assessed tech foul number 18, he will be suspended for another game under NBA rules since he is over the 16-tech foul limit.
New Orleans was charged with a technical for a 3-second defensive violation in the first quarter.
In this writers opinion, the Gentry call was a quick trigger and the Cousins “tech” is a candidate to be rescinded. Also, the NBA needs to review the use of “the Tech” and decide what its purpose really is in the structure of the game. “The Association” also needs to grasp that fans do not come to an arena to watch refs call tech fouls.
The Kings will play the first of their two road games in the month of February on Tuesday in Los Angeles when they face the Lakers. This is another must win game for the Kings. The Lakers are a lower level “Tier 3” team that Kings have to beat if they are to jump into the eighth and final playoff slot.
The Pelicans travel to the Valley of the Sun to face the Suns on Monday night.
NBA fans used to live for the final two minutes of a game. They were rough, tumble and full of exciting action. Now with all of the stoppages for replay reviews, the excitement of the final 120 seconds has been all but lost.
On Friday night at the Golden 1 Center, the sellout crowd (17,608) were treated to an “old fashion” nail biting two minute finish in the game between the Phoenix Suns and the Sacramento Kings.
The excitement began with 2:32 remaining in the game when DeMarcus Cousins broke a 98-all tie with a step-back 3-point basket from the right corner off an assist from Matt Barnes. The Suns missed a jump on their possession. The Kings grabbed the rebound and called a timeout with 2:09 to go.
Cousins missed a jumper coming out of the timeout that was rebounded by Bledsoe of the Suns. T.J. Warren sank a jump shot at the 1:34 mark to bring Phoenix within one point of the lead at 101-100.
Each team missed a field goal opportunity then Cousins missed a layup that Lawson rebounded and then he was fouled by the Suns Tyson Chandler. The Kings maintained possession and Cousins attempted a 3-point shot that missed and Chandler rebounded.
The Suns Warren hit a 3-pointer (assist Booker) with 21.6-seconds on the clock to give his team a 103-101 lead. The Kings immediately called a timeout.
The Kings ran their play out of the timeout and with 8.2-seconds to go Darren Collison sank a 15-foot jump shot (assist Cousins) to tie the game at 103-103. It was the Suns turn to call a timeout.
Phoenix inbounded the ball at midcourt and to no one’s surprise the ball wound up in the hands of second-year guard Devin Booker. Booker put up a 20-foot fade away bank shot that went in the hoop as the final buzzer sounded. The Suns had won the game 105-103 to the stunned amazement of the big crowd.
Who did what in the game
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings scoring attack with a triple-double: 22 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists(sixth career triple-double). Cousins got into foul trouble and picked up his fifth personal foul with 9:22 to go in the 4th quarter and he did not return until there was just 3:18 left in the game. How much of a difference could the big man have made in that six minutes is now a question to be pondered over beers at the local pub.
Darren Collison scored 19 points for the Kings as he shot 8-for-16 from the floor and hit 3-of-4 3-point attempts. Joerger was very happy with Collison’s play after the game.
There was a Ben McLemore sighting on Friday night. McLemore made a rare start as the team made adjustments with Temple out due to injury and Arron Afflalo did not dress due to illness. McLemore played 35-minutes and scored 18 points.
Ty Lawson made an impact in the game off the bench again for Sacramento on Friday night. The speedy guard put up 18 points hitting on 7-of-10 attempts from the field and went a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
Matt Barnes did not have a big scoring night (6-points) but hauled in 10 rebounds and dished out 4 assists for the Kings.
Willie Cauley-Stein played only 14-minutes in the contest but came up big especially in the six-minutes that Cousins was sitting on the bench in the fourth quarter with the five fouls. He also scored four points and had four rebounds.
As a team the Kings outrebounded the Suns 43-39. They outscored Phoenix in the paint 36-20. Sacramento even scored more fast break points (14-9) than the Suns. The Kings had 23 assists versus 13 turnovers which resulted in 22 Phoenix points.
20-year old guard Devin Booker scored a game-high 33 points for PHX. He scored just seven points in the first half. Booker went 11-for-24 shooting and hit 4-0f-8 from beyond the 3-point line. He also went 7-for-10 from the free throw line.
T.J. Warren was the offense for the Suns in the first half. While much of the team seemed less than present, Warren was active and ready for action. He finished with 21 points including going a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
Eric Bledsoe had a 20 point game for the Suns in 33-minutes on the floor. He was just 4-of-12 from the floor but was 3-for-6 from 3-point land.
Maybe the disappointment of the night for the crowd was the play of local product Marquese Chriss. Chriss who played his high school basketball in Elk Grove and was drafted by the Kings and then traded to Phoenix played just 15-minutes and scored only two points. Chriss picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter which really limited his playing time. It may well have the combination of playing before a large contingent of family and friends while trying to defend DeMarcus Cousins that keep the young rookie from having a better game.
Joerger’s postgame thoughts
Heck of a basketball game
Both teams started kind of slow (it was 49-49 at the half)
I’m really proud of out guys. We held a fast break team to nine-points on the fast break and basically won every statistical category there is.
I thought Darren (Collison) really stepped up his game in the second half.
It was tremendous that we had great point guard play with Ty (Lawson) and Darren at times playing together.
It was great to see Ben McLemore get going a little bit and heck of a basketball game.
Very proud of out team
Focusing on 8th place in the Western Conference
The battle for the eighth and final playoff slot in the Western Conference continued on Friday night:
Denver now has sole possession of 8th place as they beat the Bucks 121-117
Portland is in 9th place 1.5 games back after losing to Dallas 108-104
Dallas has jumped into 10th place 2.5 games back of Denver with their win over Portland
The Kings are now in 11th place 3.5 games behind Denver after Friday’s loss to Phoenix
Up next on the schedule
The Kings have no time sit and ponder their loss to the Suns. The Golden State Warriors make a return visit to the Golden 1 Center on Saturday night. It is never easy to face “the Splash Brothers” but to have to play them on second night of a back-to-back set is really unfair.
Phoenix returns home on Saturday night to host the Milwaukee Bucks who lost in Denver on Friday.
The Sacramento Kings went into Memphis seeking a win in a city where they had not recorded a victory since 2009 but have posted 12 straight losses. The Kings were also taking their new head coach Dave Joerger back to the city where he was the head man for three years and an assistant coach for six years before they went their separate ways after last season.
If that was not enough motivation, the Kings also needed to bounce back the demoralizing loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night 132-98.
The Kings did respond to all of those motivating factors and beat the Grizzlies on the road 96-92. It was not a pretty win. Both teams played very physical basketball and packed the paint rather than depending on the 3-point shot to win as the Rockets did in Houston. Ironically in a game that was not about 3-pointers, the Grizzlies Troy Daniels made it a 3-point game with 55.3-seconds remaining in the game with a “trey” from 26-feet away from the basket.
The Kings were able to hold on following Ty Lawson hitting 1-of-2 free throws to win the game 96-92.
Kings coach Dave Joerger sounded a bit conflicted after the game
“Kind of a crazy game. A lot of fouls – a lot of free throws, but from a personal stand point a very difficult day for me. You know … to come in here having spent as much of my love and time and family in this community and we love it. It was not an enjoyable game to coach from that aspect. But, now I’m here and these are my guys now. I’m really proud of them. I congratulated them. We’ve had some great efforts … or performances I should say. Kosta Koufos was fantastic tonight. I thought Garrett Temple had a nice game. I thought Darren (Collison) got us in and out of stuff,” said Joerger after the win.
Koufos and Temple step up big for Sacramento in the win
The Kings were without two key players on Friday as Rudy Gay – a former Grizzly – did not dress due to a right hip flexor strain and Omri Casspi sat out due to illness
Garrett Temple started at shooting guard and responded by scoring 17 points, grabbing six rebound, adding four assists and two steals in 37-minutes of playing time. Temple shot 4-for-11 but went 3-for-6 from long range was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. He may be playing himself into the role of starting shooting guard
Kosta Koufos – another former Grizzly – may have played his best game of the year to date. He scored a season-high 16 points and made it a double-double by hauling in 13 rebounds. Seven of his rebounds were offensive boards that kept possessions alive. Koufos got his running baby hook shot going the way he likes for the first time this season in the game as well. The downside in his night was he hit just 2-of-6 from the foul line
DeMarcus Cousins had some struggles with the physical play of the Grizzlies particularly in the first half. He shot just 2-for-10 and scored only nine points in the first 24 minutes. In the second half, the big man shot 5-for-10 and scored 13 points to bring his total points to a game-high 22. Cousins did get into foul trouble picking up his fifth personal with 6:02 to go in the game. He fouled out of the game with 1:27 remaining which gave hope to a surging Memphis team
Darren Collison scored 11 points and dished out six assists in 37-minutes at point guard in the victory
Other contributions: Matt Barnes seven points and 10 rebounds; Anthony Tolliver nine points; Ben McLemore – who started at forward – scored eight and Ty Lawson added six points
Kings (10-16) team numbers were not great but were good enough for the win
Shooting: 31-for-80 (38.8- percent) – you do not record a win shooting under 40-percent very often
3-point shooting 7-for-24 (29.2-percent)
Free throw shooting 27-for-37 (73-percent) missed free throws could have cost the Kings this game
45 rebounds including 13 offensive boards
Turnovers 12 which led to nine Memphis points
Points off turnovers – Sacramento score 17 points off 13 Memphis turnovers
18 assists, six blocked shot and five steals
Memphis (18-10) played their typical “grind house” game
The Grizzlies are not a team that is going to outshoot you from 3-point land or overwhelm the opposition with their overall shooting percentage. They are a defense first team that is most comfortable scoring in the paint
Memphis matched the Kings scoring 36 points in the paint
The Grizzlies just edged out the Kings in second chance points 15-13
Memphis out-rebounded Sacramento 47-45
The Grizzlies shot 37.7-percent (29-for-77) from the field and 5-for-20 (20-percent) for 3-pointers and Troy Daniels hit four of those shots.
Memphis tried to take advantage of their free throw opportunities going 29-for-36 (80.6-percent) from the line
Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies scoring attack with 20 points. Tony Allen added 16, Troy Daniels put in 13 while Andrew Harrison recorded 11 to go with Zach Randolph’s 10
Coming up on the schedule
The Kings move on to Dallas where they will face the Mavericks on Sunday. The game time has been changed because the Cowboys game has been moved to Sunday Night Football. The game will now tipoff at 1 p.m. PST. The Mavericks lost a heartbreaker to the Jazz in Utah on Friday night 103-100 on a last second 3-point basket.
Speaking of the Jazz, they travel to Memphis to play the Grizzlies on Sunday.
Sacramento – The Kings trailed the New York Knicks 103-100 with 2.6-seconds remaining in the game. New York had to inbound the ball in the frontcourt after calling a timeout. The inbound pass came to Carmelo Anthony who was immediately fouled by Rudy Gay before any time could come off the clock. The only problem with the plan was the fact that Anthony was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line in game up to that point.
Incredibly, Anthony stepped up to the line and promptly missed the first first free throw and the sellout crowd began to buzz. Anthony shot the second free throw and unbelievably missed again.
DeMarcus Cousins grabbed the rebound and ran as close to midcourt as he dared. The giant of a man then heaved a what was estimated to be a 52-foot desperation shot at his basket that hit the rim and then rolled out. For a few micro-seconds the thousands of Kings fans in attendance thought they were going to witness a miracle, then reality hit and the big crowd began to exit the Golden 1 Center knowing their team had lost the game.
Each team was missing a key player in the game
The Kings played the game without Matt Barnes who was held out of the game for what was called “rest”. Barnes of course has been at the center of a controversial story about a fight that allegedly took place in a New York City night club early last Monday morning. Rumors have been swirling that Barnes would be arrested by NYPD for his involvement in the incident. Barnes has also been named in a lawsuit that has been filed by two of the alleged victims of the brawl.
In his postgame press conference, Kings head coach Dave Joerger indicated that he believed Barnes would be available to play against the Jazz in Utah on Saturday night. Barnes was on the bench in street clothes for the game Friday night.
The Knicks were without Derrick Rose who is suffering from lower back pain. Rose had to miss the game on Wednesday night in New York City versus the Cavaliers due to the same problem.
NYK head coach Jeff Hornacek said before the game he was hopeful Rose would be available for the game on Sunday when his team faces the Lakers in Los Angeles.
Sacramento struggles shooting again against the Knicks
The Kings (8-13) shot much better in the first half against the Knicks on Friday night than did last Sunday in the Garden when they shot under 30-percent. However, the Kings shot under 40-percent in both the third and fourth quarters of this game which helped lead to their demise.
Sacramento shot 40.2-percent (35-for-87) from the floor and were a dismal 7-of-28 (25-percent) from 3-point range. The Kings went 23-for-27 (85.2-percent) from the free throw line.
Cousins led the way for the Kings
Cousins scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to post the double-double. He also struggled shooting going 9-for-25 from the field and 0-for-6 for 3-point opportunities. Cousins did dish out six assists in the contest
Darren Collison had a strong game against the Knicks. He scored 14 points shooting 5-for-11 in the game. He also had three assists and two steals
Rudy Gay recorded 15 points, five rebounds and a steal. He also had a tough night shooting going 4-for-15 from the floor and 0-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line
Omri Casspi keeps taking advantage of every playing opportunity he is given by Dave Joerger. Casspi put 12 points up on the board hitting 4-of-5 shots from the floor including one 3-pointer. He was a perfect 3-for-3 from the charity stripe and he had two steals in the game
Ben McLemore started his second consecutive game and scored 10 points. He hit 2-of-2 from long range
Other Kings scorers: Anthony Tolliver 10, Garrett Temple 5, Kosta Koufos 4, Ty Lawson 4
Kings Dave Joerger on problems at the end of quarters in the game
“That was definitely a good basketball game. A couple of things came back and bit us. We gave up eight points at the end of the first, second and third quarter on last possession plays. In a close game, those things add up. We struggled to struggled to score the basketball tonight. We turned them over 17 times and scored 25 points off of that but outside of that we just didn’t make a lot of shots. Especially from the perimeter, we did not gain a lot of shots from the perimeter so it may jam up the paint on us. Good basketball game.”
Surprising stat of the night
The Kings are not a team that is outrebounded by their opponents on a regular basis. If the other team does record more rebounds, the difference is usually not dramatic.
On Friday night, the Knicks outrebounded the Kings 54-39. Kings head Dave Joerger felt their length and the fact the Kings played “small” much of the game is what allowed New York to establish such a margin.
NYK did not have a great shooting night but lived in “Melo’s” world
The Knicks shot just 42.9-percent (36-for-84) on Friday against the Kings. They shot slightly better from long range hitting on 10-of-29 (34.5-percent) of their 3-point shots.
New York (13-10) rode the hot hand of Carmelo Anthony in the first half and then relied on efforts of Kristaps Porzingis and their bench in the second half.
Melo put 33 points in the book on Friday night. He shot 9-for-22 from field, 3-for-10 from long distance and was an impressive 10-of-12 from the free throw line. Anthony scored 23 points in the first half
Porzingis scored 17 after shooting a pitiful 1-for-9 in the first half. He did wind up with a double-double by hauling in 10 rebounds
Brandon Jennings did a nice job filling in for Rose on the point scoring 13 points and distributing seven assists
Kyle O’Quinn had a nice game off the bench for the Knicks scoring eight points, pulling down 11 rebounds, dishing five assists and blocking two shots in 20-minutes of playing time
Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek had nothing but praise but praise for Carmelo
“He had a great game. When he’s scoring, he’s getting the ball in a good position from our guys where he can drive it. We put him in some trouble later on in the game, giving him the with like four seconds to go, not a good thing to do. We talked about having to get to the offense a little bit quicker. Late in the game, we kind of walked to our spots. Carmelo, when we go to him, he can pump fake, he can drive, he’s making passes. He’s playing an all-around game, like a star does.”
Up next for the teams
The Kings go right back into action on Saturday night as they play the back end of a back-to-back set on the road in Utah against the Jazz.
The Knicks are off until Sunday when they will play game two of their five-game road trip in Los Angeles versus the Lakers.
Sacramento – The Sacramento Kings won their first game in the new Golden 1 Center on Saturday night by squeaking by the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-103.It was literally a last-second victory as the Timberwolves had the chance to tie the game or take the lead with 02.6-seconds left on the clock.
The Kings record improves to 2-1 on the season with the victory. Head coach Dave Joerger said the win has some meaning as the Kings get ready to start a five-game road trip.
“It just means you go on the road trip 2-1. I think there is a nice difference between being 2-1 and 1-2 and how you feel about yourself, knowing you are going to play your next five in all kinds of different states around the union,” said coach Joerger about the upcoming road trip. “I think that’s a better feeling getting on the plane tomorrow.”
The loss leaves the Timberwolves winless on the season. Minnesota lost their season opener in Memphis when they let a 14-point lead slip away late in the game. The Timberwolves let an 18-point lead over the Kings evaporate on Saturday night.
New Minnesota head coach Tom Thibodeau likes his teams talent but feels that something has to happen before they can start winning.
“We have to get a lot tougher. We got to get a lot tougher.”
Minnesota can pass and shoot the ball. The Timberwolves shot 51.4-percent from the floor in the game. They shot over 60-percent in the first quarter. Thibodeau is also correct when he says they are not a very physical team when they need to be.
The Kings started the game slowly shooting under 40-percent for much of the first quarter and allowing Andrew Wiggins to score 13 points. Dave Joerger became so frustrated that he pulled his five starters off the floor with 3:18 to go in the quarter and put in the entire second unit.
The Kings came back to life in the second quarter behind Rudy Gay who scored 12 points and DeMarcus Cousins who put up 11. Matt Barnes came off the bench to make a real difference especially on defense.
The Timberwolves led the Kings 65-54 at halftime.
The third quarter was the difference maker in this game. The Kings came out on fire on both ends of the floor. Sacramento outscored Minnesota 31-12 in the period. The Timberwolves shot only 25-percent from the floor.
Minnesota turned the ball over seven times in the period that resulted in 14 Sacramento points. The Kings had just two turnovers the Timberwolves were unable to turn into any points.
“The 3rd quarter was a problem, big problem. We have to take a look the problems and see where the issues are,” said Tom Thibodeau.
The fourth quarter began with the Kings leading 85-77. Sacramento opened up a 10-point lead then the Timberwolves began to chip away at the that lead. Minnesota went on a 9-0 run and tied the game 100-100 with 3:11 to play.
The Kings went back up by five. After Wiggins hit a free throw and cut the lead to four, the unthinkable happened. DeMarcus Cousins picked up his sixth personal foul with 50.9-seconds left in the game. The Kings had to finish the game with their best player on the bench.
Rookie guard Kris Dunn who was fouled by Cousins missed both of his free throws. Gorgui Dieng grabbed the rebound and Zach LaVine missed a 3-point jump shot. Karl-Anthony Towns got the rebound and converted the lay up to make it a two point game, 105-103.
After winning a jump ball, the Timberwolves were unable to hit a basket. Matt Barnes was fouled going for a rebound with 00.2-seconds left. He hit 1-of-2 free throws to end the game.
The Kings won the game 106-103.
Cousins was the Kings leading scorer with 29 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
Rudy Gay had a big night 28 points, 11-for-20 shooting
Matt Barnes – the impact player of the game off the bench – 12 points including three 3-pointers to go with 9 assists
Ben McLemore bounced back from his troubles in the Spurs game scoring 13 points and shooting 50-percent from the field
The Kings improved their shooting by 6-percent over Thursday by shooting 45.9-percent (39-for-85) in the game.
Andrew Wiggins scored 29 points to lead the Timberwolves scoring attack. He is very difficult to stop when he wants to shoot.
Guard Zach LaVine had a big night putting up 21 points while shooting 50-percent from the floor
Karl-Anthony Towns added 15 points but the battle between him and fellow Kentucky Wildcat DeMarcus Cousins was a non-event. They just did not match up much in the game
PG Ricky Rubio experienced a sprained elbow. Rubio was rumored to be a trade target of the Kings but Minnesota was reluctant to part with him until Kris Dunn is ready
The Kings begin a five-game road trip on Monday night in Atlanta. Sacramento will play five games in seven nights all in the Eastern time zone except for the Milwaukee game which is in the Central time zone.
Minnesota heads home to open their home season with the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night. The Timberwolves will be looking for redemption after losing to Memphis in their season opener.