Sacramento Kings Wednesday game wrap up: Turnovers cost Kings in Minnesota

by Michael Martinez

picture credit: NBAE– Minnesota Timberwolves Karl Anthony Towns (32) goes up on the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night

SACRAMENTO- The Kings had to play without DeMarcus Cousins after he injured his right knee in Monday’s contest in Chicago. As the Kings headed into tonight’s game, the team has struggled all season when he hasn’t suited up. Without the All Star center in the lineup, the Timberwolves looked to capitalize on that with their rookie center Karl Anthony Towns.

Towns had a huge game as DMC watched from the sidelines. The missing presence of Cousins in the middle allowed Minnesota to score a total of 64 points in the paint.

Sacramento was able to stay in the game for most of the game thanks to Rajon Rondo. Rondo totaled 14 points in the first quarter alone for his highest total in a quarter all season. The point guard kept the Kings in a good position all through the first half, as the T-Wolves led 50-48.

Minnesota broke it open in the third quarter as the the T-Wolves shot 70% from the field in the quarter. Sacramento was unable to play tough defense and allowed their opponent to out score them by ten in the quarter. Minnesota would lead 84-72 to end the the third.

The Kings did however try to make a come back to start the fourth. They were able to go on a 15-5 run and get the score to within two points at 89-87. But Minnesota was able to hit  A 6-0 run and open their lead back up. After getting back ahead, the T-Wolves never looked back and won by nine, 113-104.

The Kings turned the ball over 17 times, which led to 22 points for Minnesota. Towns totaled 26 points and 11 rebounds. Andrew Wiggins and Zach Lavine both added 23 more as the T-Wolves shot 56.3%. The Kings turnovers cost them the gave as they did get some good production out of other players. Kosta Koufus scored 15 points and grabbed 15 boards for a double double as he started in place of Cousins . Rondo finished with a team high 25 points and added 8 rebounds and 12 assists.

The three young Minnesota players dominated the Kings offensively and Sacramento missed DMC’s presence. With the season winding down, it could be interesting to see if the Kings can win a couple ball games for pride maybe just want to get a better lottery pick.

The Kings will head back to Sacramento after their 4 game road trip. They’ve struggled at home in the past month, but hopefully the team can pull out a couple more wins as the arena’s days come to an end. The Kings take on the Suns at home on Friday, March 25, at 7 p.m.

Pelicans sweep season series vs Kings

by Michael Martinez

picture credit Jacob Gonzalez

SACRAMENTO- The Kings had a great win last night in Los Angeles and things were looking up, but then the team came home. Recently, the Kings have struggled mightily at home and tonight was no different. The defense was flat out bad tonight especially in the first half.

The difference tonight was El Dorado Hills native, Ryan Anderson. Anderson’s huge second quarter change the game completely and the Kings really never had a chance thereafter.

The Oak Ridge high grad put up 21 points in the second quarter on 8-11 shooting, 3-4 from the field. The forward’s huge second quarter put the Kings down 74-53 as he made the defense look silly.  Some of his shots were incredible, but nonetheless giving up 74 points was inexcusable. As a team, the Pelicans shot 83.3% in the quarter.  The Kings offense slowed down in the second quarter, scoring 22 points to New Orleans’ 41. The Pelicans’ had their largest lead of the half in the second when they were up by 24 points.

Fans booed the Kings towards the end of the quarter as the Kings gave up the most points in a half all season. Maybe that sparked some fire under Sacramento’s belt out of the locker room.

Out of the break, the Kings scored 10 straight points and cut the deficit down to 11, looking for some hope. But New Orleans never let the Kings get any closer, going up by 21 points at one point in the third quarter.

The Kings continued to struggle while New Orleans kept pouring it on. The Pelicans’ largest lead of the game came in the fourth as they went up by 27 points at one point. New Orleans absolutely dominated the Kings tonight and there was really no question about if they would get the win. Although the Kings only lost the game by 15, 123-108, the Pelicans out played the Kings in every aspect.

The loss is not all that surprising with the Kings recent struggles, plus they have not been able to defeat New Orleans. This is their sixth straight loss to the Pelicans who won all four games this season. And as the Sleep Train Arena starts to see its last games, the Kings have dropped seven consecutive games on their home floor and the games really haven’t been all that close.

The Pelicans shot 54.4% from the field and an astounding 57.1% from behind the arc, knocking down 12 three-pointers.

Anthony Davis finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds, while Anderson totaled 29 points. New comer Tim Frazier scored 14 points for New Orleans and added nine assists.

Darren Collison was the Kings’ leading scorer with 23 points. DeMarcus Cousins finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for another double double. Cousins now has 26 double doubles in his last 32 games he’s played in.

The Kings once again showed struggles in playing back to back games. Heading into the contest, the team was 3-12 when playing consecutive games and now that makes it 3-13. It is difficult to play without three of the team’s guards, including Rajon Rondo, but there’s no excuse for the team’s poor effort tonight.

Sacramento is now 26-41 and will head to Detroit to take on the Pistons on Friday. With the season coming to an end, maybe it’s best for the Kings to hope for the best possible draft pick and regroup next season.

 

Without Cousins, Kings drop fourth straight

by Michael Martinez

picture credit Rocky Widner/Getty Images

SACRAMENTO- For most teams in the NBA, playing without your only All Star is a difficult task. Tonight, the Kings were without their All Star center DeMarcus Cousins who was suspended by the team for “conduct detrimental to the team.”

This season, Sacramento is 2-7 without Boogie and 13-40 since Cousins first joined the team back in 2010. But, the team did put themselves in a position to win.

At the half the Kings were only down by one, 50-49.

Rajon Rondo came out of the half and had a great third quarter. Rondo hit a three pointer at 6:38 to give the Kings their first lead of the game, 64-61. The Kings struggled to shoot the ball efficiently and Orlando took the lead right back in the quarter. Rondo’s 10 points and four assists in the third alone kept the Kings alive. The Magic led, 80-75, through three quarters.

The Kings fell off defensively in the fourth quarter. While the Kings defense was pretty solid through three quarters, they allowed Orlando to shoot 52.6% in the fourth. The Magic were able to go up by 14 a little less than half through the final quarter, there Kings were never able to get back into after.

The Kings cut the lead to six but with only 18 seconds in the game and no hope of a victory.

The Kings dropped their fourth straight game, 107-100, as their offense struggled, turnovers were in bunches and the team was out rebounded.

Without DeMarcus Cousins the Kings struggled to find offense.

Orlando’s fast start to the game put the Kings at an early disadvantage. The Magic came out with confidence going on a 12-0 run to start the game. The Magic out hustled the Kings throughout. 

The Kings had little ball movement, dribbled way too much and had little presence inside when they struggled. This was true for most of the game with the Kings turning the ball over 17 times leading to 24 points for Orlando.

Aaron Gordon made his return to Northern California with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Victor Oladipo totaled 18 points while Evan Fournier and Jason Smith both added 16.

Marco Belinelli had a solid game as he’s been shooting much better, 4-7 from behind the arc, scoring 17 points. Kosta Koufous also played well in Boogie’s absence with 19 points. Rondo had a good game as well with 16 points, 7-14 from the field, and 14 assists.

Minus Cousins, the Kings were dominated inside. Out rebounded 51-37 and letting the Magic score 50 points in the paint. Unfortunately, the Kings missed shots that typically fall for this team. Sacramento shot at a poor 39.8% from the field.

Right now, the Kings will look to try and finish the season off strong, but some might hope to pile up a few more losses for a better pick.

The Kings will take on Utah on Sunday at 3 p.m. at home. We’ll see how the team fares with their big man back on the court.

 

 

Careless with the ball, Kings still nab victory

by Michael Martinez

picture credit: Associated Press

SACRAMENTO- Flashback Friday took place at Sleep Train Arena with the old school court on display. The Kings took the fans back in time as well by playing a lot more competitive basketball and picking up a victory. The win came in big part to tremendous play from DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo and Rudy Gay. Darren Collison was a huge spark off the bench. After a ton of talks of firings and trades prior and during the All Star break, the Kings pulled out an important win.

In the first quarter of play, the Kings and Nuggets went back and forth for the majority of the quarter. Sacramento played better defensively, but both teams were very careless with the ball. Sacramento’s five first quarter turnovers hurt them as they lead to nine points for Denver.

Luckily, the Kings played some better defense and their All Star center DeMarcus Cousins picked up right where he left off. Cousins got to the line six times in the quarter and nailed all six shots from the charity stripe. Rudy Gay showed some confidence in his game by totaling eight first quarter points, 2-3 from the field, with both coming from beyond the arc.

Rajon Rondo also sunk two three pointers. The Kings shot uncharacteristically well beyond the three-point line, 5-7, in the first quarter.

Rondo and Denver center Jusuf Nurkic each picked up a technical after a little shoving match and trash talk coming off a Ben McLemore offensive foul.

Sacramento capped off the quarter with a three-point buzzer beater from Darren Collison off a Rondo assist. Through one quarter, the Kings led Denver, 31-24. The Kings held the Nuggets to less than 30 points, for the first time in Sacramento’s last ten games.

After a nice first quarter, the Kings scored five points in the first minute of the second quarter to go up, 36-24. But soon after, the Nuggets found some offense of there own for a 10-2 run in a minute and 20 seconds.

 

The Kings took a timeout to slow down the Nuggets. Out of the timeout, the Kings went out scored Denver 17-8 with 5:54, which put them up 55-42 with 5:54 left in the half. The run was capped off by a monstrous slam by Cousins who was fouled. Cousins was fouled on the dunk and made the free throw for a three-point play.

Collison made a technical free throw after Nuggets’ head coach Michael Malone picked up a technical. Malone chirped at the refs and his frustration led to the tech.

The Kings were careless with the ball yet again with eight turnovers leading to 11 Denver points, but they did capitalize off Denver’s six turnovers. The Kings scored 11 points as well and their hot shooting kept them up on the Nuggets. Sacramento shot 59.5% from the field and went 10-13 from behind the arc in the first half. Although they kept shooting well from three-point range, the Kings got back into the paint, adding 20 points in the paint in the second quarter and a total of 26 in the first half. The Kings led the Nuggets 70-57 through the first half of play.

A dominant offensive performance came from Cousins, who scored 24 points, 8-11, and grabbed eight boards in the half. Gay also shot the ball well, 5-9 from the field, 4-4 from beyond the three-point line, for 16 points. Rondo and Collison, who came off the bench, each totaled 12 points, while Rondo added 6 assists. Denver’s Danillo Gallinari had the team high for the Nuggets with 17 points in the half and Joffrey Lauvergne had 13.

After an incredible offensive first half, the Kings slowed down at an incredible rate in the third quarter. The team totaled a measly 18 points with Cousins scoring nine of those 18. Cousins continued to get to the line, 5-5 from the charity stripe in the quarter. The quarter was slow and the Kings managed to turn the ball over five more times. With the score 79-72, the Kings pulled out a 7-0 run to go up 86-72. The Nuggets only totaled 20 points with eight of those from Gallinari.

With a quiet third quarter from both teams, the Kings led 88-77 through three.

The fourth quarter showed more offense especially for the Nuggets who found their stride. Denver was able to keep things close by putting up 33 in the quarter, but Rondo came up big for the Kings. Rondo hustled really hard, added eight points and six assists in the fourth quarter. Rondo was clutch going 4-6 from the free throw line late in the ball game. The Kings were able to come out with a win after the break over the Nuggets. The final score was 116-110.

Cousins finished with 37 points,12-20 from the field and a career high 20 rebounds. Cousins also went 12-15 from the line as he got into the paint a lot and Denver’s bigs played him tough. The Kings totaled 56 points in the paint.

“[Cousins] was flat out amazing.” Collison said “They couldn’t stop him.”

Rondo had a big game and was especially important down the stretch. He finished with 24 points, 8-16 from the field, 10 assists and 9 rebounds.

“Rajon had great control of the game down the stretch” said head coach George Karl. “And understanding who were playing and what we had to do to be successful.”

Gay matched Rondo with 24 points and off the bench Collison totaled 17 points.

The Kings offensive was once again very good, except for the third quarter. The team made no three pointers in the second half, which slowed their scoring down quite a bit. The only real flaw of the game was the team’s 22 turnovers that turned into 34 points for Denver. The defense was much better and the Nugget’s high points total mostly came from carelessness as they scored 26 fast break points.

“We really didn’t go over much offense [during practice]. We basically just [practiced] a lot of defense.” Gay said “Our offense is going to be a little sloppy.”

On Tuesday, the Kings will face the Nuggets in Denver. They will need to stop Lauvergne who scored 22 and Gallinari who scored 27 points. These next stretch of games are incredibly crucial as Sacramento faces playoff caliber opponents. The next few weeks will say a lot about this team and it looks like they are ready to make a statement.

Houston Stave Off Kings Comeback, Win 102-89

By Shawn Whelchel

The Sacramento Kings tried to fight through tired legs on their second game of a back-to-back matchup on Wednesday, but ran out of steam as the Houston Rockets earned a 102-89 victory.

Sacramento dug themselves an early hole, as a lack of scoring and easy offense by Houston gave them as large as a 22-point lead in the first half of play. The Kings continued to find their rhythm on offense while pulling to within striking range of the James Harden lead Rockets, but ultimately stalled short of amassing a comeback as a 16-point fourth quarter sealed their fate.

With center Dwight Howard sitting out tonight’s contest with a knee injury, shooting guard James Harden was able to let loose, heaving 31-shots for 26-points on the night to lead his team in scoring. Without their down-low presence, the Rockets lived behind the arc, connecting on 12-of-25 attempts with guard Isaiah Canaan earning 18 of his 24 points from three point range.

On the other side of the court, big man DeMarcus Cousins kept the Kings in the game with 29-points on 9-of-18 shooting while Sacramento was forced to play without starters Rudy Gay and Darren Collison for the second straight game, as they continue to be plagued by injuries.

While the Kings managed to scrap their way to just a one-point deficit in the third quarter, their sloppy play proved too much to overcome, as Houston benefited from 21 Sacramento turnovers on the night, which they converted into 32 points to back their winning effort.

After jumping out to a hot start, the loss drops the now 9-6 Kings to fourth place in the Pacific division, ahead only of the bottom-dwelling Los Angeles Lakers who sit with a 3-12 record on the season. The Kings will look to bounce back on Friday, as they hit the road to take on the San Antonio Spurs

Kings Start New Era with Win!

Denver Nuggets v Sacramento Kings

By Tony Renteria
Sacramento CA: The Sacramento Kings (0-0) opened the 2013-2014 NBA season by hosting the Denver Nuggets (0-0) and holding off a tough Denver squad for a 09-88 win.
This was the first regular season game with the new ownership group and new head coach, The Kings may be turning the corner after the train wreck the last owners left
The Kings Led at the half 48-45 behind some strong inside play by DeMarcus Cousins who led the team with 14 points and six rebounds. Cousins has become the team leader with new altitude and passion. Cousins finished with 30 Points and game high 14 rebounds. This may be the start of an all star run of Cousins.
The Nuggets were led by Ty Lawson’s 20 points .
The Kings next play the Los Angles Clippers at Sleep Train Arena on Friday while the Nuggets host the Portland Trailblazers on the same day.