The Sacramento Kings knew going into Indianapolis they faced an uphill battle with the Indiana Pacers. The upstart Kings handed the Pacers a 111-110 loss in Sacramento last Saturday night and the Indiana team was ready to revenge that loss.
The Pacers are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA and they win by controlling the pace of the game. Indiana had no intention of allowing the Kings to run and gun like they did in Cleveland on Friday night.
Indiana did slow the Kings down and the Pacers won the game 107-97.
Back-to-backs This was the second game of a back-to-back set on the road for the Kings. Some statisticians place the chances of the visiting team winning the second game of a back-to-back schedule on the road at under 33 percent. That means the Kings were at a great disadvantage before the opening tipoff of the game in Indiana on Saturday night.
Battle of the Tiers
This was a battle of two teams that are in different NBA tiers. The Pacers are a solid Tier Two team (a consistent playoff team) that may be ready to jump into to the lower end of Tier One in the Eastern Conference. The Kings are a Tier Three team (Draft Lottery participants) who are trying to become a lower Tier Two team that battles for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
The fact that the Kings split the season series (1-1) with an accomplished team like the Pacers shows the kind of improvement they are experiencing this season.
The Pacers “D” suppressed the Kings’ offense
After posting big team numbers versus the Cavaliers, the Kings team stats dropped dramatically against the defensive-minded Pacers:
Field Goal Shooting: 38-for-90 (42.2%)
3P Field Goal Shooting: 28.1% (9-for-32)
Points in the Paint: IND 56 SAC 46
Second Chance Points: SAC 24 IND 19
Fast Break Points: SAC 22 IND 18
The Pacers outrebounded the Kings 52-43
A Check of the Book
The Kings played the game without Iman Shumpert who was inactive due to an injury that was categorized as “load management”. Joel Embiid has been kept out games for the same reason a number of times.
Buddy Hield was the Kings top scorer with 20 points shooting 8-for-20 from the field
De’Aaron Fox started slow but stepped up in the second half to put 18 points in the scorebook along with six assists
Willie-Cauley Stein put up 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds
Bogdan Bogdanovic and Justin Jackson each scored 11 points in the game
Nemanja Bjelica scored six points and hauled in 12 rebounds for SAC
The Pacers were still without their star guard Victor Oladipo (sore right knee). Indiana still has no definite date for his return to active status.
Thaddeus Young led the Pacers scoring attack with 20 points
Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 points converting 7-of-7 from the free throw line
Former King Darren Collison scored 14 points and dished out six assists
Miles Turner put nine points in the book and grabbed 13 rebounds
With the loss, the Kings record drops to 13-12 for the season and they fall to ninth in the Western Conference. The Pacers improve to 16-10 on the year and are now in sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Up Next The Kings will wrap up this four-game road trip on Tuesday night in Chicago versus the Bulls. A win would give Sacramento a record of 3-1 on the trip which they would be very happy to finish with for a December road tour of the East.
The Sacramento Kings appeared to be in neutral on the free agent market while waiting to see if the Washington Wizards would match their offer sheet for Otto Porter Jr. In reality, they were working on deals in a stealth mode that caught most observers by total surprise.
Kings get experience at point guard
Sacramento is very happy with the talent they drafted at point guard in De’Aaron Fox and Frank Mason III. The only problem is that neither player has one minute of playing time in the NBA. That is not an acceptable situation.
The Kings point guards from last season were both free agents. Darren Collison just signed a two-year deal with the Indiana Pacers. There were reports that Sacramento was in discussions with Ty Lawson about returning to the team, but he certainly would be looking for a guaranteed contract with multiple years or options. Lawson played last season on a one-year non-guaranteed contract.
Enter George Hill. Hill had been rumored to be heading to Los Angeles to play with the Lakers and to be a mentor to Lonzo Ball. Reports are circling the Lakers were only willing to offer a one-year deal. Not the kind of security a 31-year old, nine-year NBA veteran in a salary market gone mad is looking for this year.
It has been reported the Jazz tried to sign Hill to an extension during the season valued at $88-million but he and his representatives thought he would do better on the open market in the offseason. The free agent market did not fall Hill’s direction.
According to the Vertical who broke the story, the deal is for three years and worth $57-million. David Aldridge of NBA.com is reporting the third year is only partially guaranteed.
Hill will almost certainly be the starter in Sacramento. Head coach Dave Joerger makes no bones about not being thrilled about throwing rookies into starting roles. Last season, first-year players sat at the end of the bench and then were summoned into the game for limited minutes. Depending on their performance, more or less playing time was awarded to the young players.
Hill will be expected to mentor the young point guards. He can also play along side them as an off-guard. Joerger also liked using an offense that incorporated two point guards on the floor in a “small ball” lineup.
Hill averaged 16.9 points per game in 49 games last season. His overall shooting percentage was 47.7. He shot 40.3-percent from 3-point range. Hill averaged 4.2 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1.7 turnovers per game.
The injury that caused Hill to miss so many games last season was a sprained big toe. He said it was a freak injury and it proved to be a nagging injury that did not heal well under the pressure of playing. The toe did not require any surgery in the offseason.
He’s big — he’s bad — he’s Z-Bo and now he is a King
The other player the Kings reportedly signed on Tuesday brings a dimension of toughness to the team that they lost when DeMarcus Cousins was traded away. The difference is that Zach Randolph knows how to keep things under control while banging under the basket.
“Z-Bo” as he is known has reportedly signed a two-year, $24-million contract with Sacramento. The signing was first reported by the “the Woj” of ESPN. Randolph’s signing also reunites him with his old coach Dave Joerger who was the head man in Memphis for three seasons.
Last season in Memphis, Randolph worked as a sixth man for the Grizzlies. He averaged 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds in 29.5 minutes playing time per game. Will Randolph be a sixth man in Sac? Dave Joerger likes to vary starting lineups based on matchups and on who is hot at the moment. The one thing you can count on is the Randolph was not signed to come sit on the Kings bench.
Randolph — who will turn 36 later this month — has been in “the association” since 2001. He has made stops in Portland, New York, Los Angeles (Clippers) and Memphis. Randolph played his college basketball at Michigan State for Tom Izzo and helped lead the Spartans to the NCAA Final Four in 2001.
SACRAMENTO–Not enough defense early, and far too little offense late would be a fair label for the reconfigured Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. But a more bottom line analysis had its roots elsewhere on a night in which the NBA’s worst team snapped a 16-game losing streak, leading start to finish in a 109-100 victory at the Golden 1 Center.
Both the Kings and Nets should have been equally energized with their prospects for a rare victory enhanced by facing each other. But the Nets alone seized that storyline from the game’s opening tip. Consequently, King’s coach Dave Joerger could decipher his team’s malaise, but not prevent it.
“We didn’t come out with enough force to start the game and they physically manhandled us around the perimeter of the floor,” Joerger explained.
While the Nets made nine of their first 11 shot attempts and led 21-6 at one point, the Kings struggled to run their offense, and get out of each other’s way. The Nets surprised with accurate three-point shooting–they made six from distance in a 35-point first quarter. The Kings started slow personified by a pair of turnovers by surprise starter Skal Labissiere.
The Kings’ responded initially with offense; Aaron Afflalo contributed 10 points in the first quarter as the Kings sliced the Nets’ lead to four, 35-31, after one. But the Kings would score just 69 points over a final three quarters littered with tentative play, over dribbling and stilted ball movement. Sacramento finished with just 12 assists on 35 made baskets, and seven of the Kings that saw action failed to record a single assist.
“I don’t think we’re necessarily focusing on playing the right way,” said Darren Collison, who had the only two assists credited to the team’s five starters. “I know we have a lot of guys who are unselfish but when you see a guy like DeMarcus Cousins, your best player out, a lot of guys try to take it upon themselves to score, to make a play, instead of just letting the game come to them.”
Defensively, the inbalance in the Kings’post-trade roster is glaring, with guard Ben McLemore routinely matched with bigger forwards in the Kings’ three-guard starting lineup. With not enough bodies in the frontcourt, and Brooklyn’s Robin Lopez bullying his way to the hoop, the Kings suffered a huge disparity in points in the paint on Wednesday. But the interior defense was just a part of it; the hot-shooting Nets finished with 11 made threes, at least one from eight different players.
Brooklyn had dropped 27 of 28 overall since winning at home the day after Christmas, and Wednesday marked only their third win this season on the road. The Kings have dropped three straight since beating Denver in their impressive debut following the Cousins trade.
And whatever designs the Kings maintain on making the playoffs in Cousins’ absence took another blow. With the loss, and the Timberwolves’ surprising, 27-point road win at Utah, the two teams are now tied for ninth, with three other teams just a game back. Of the five teams looking to unseat the Nuggets for the final postseason spot in the West, the Trailblazers have the fewest road games (9) and the most recent–last season–playoff experience.
At least, the Kings do have a leg up in the “moronic” trade competition. The Pelicans registered their first win since trading for Cousins, but ironically did so without the former King, who was suspended for last night’s game against the Pistons for his ongoing accumulation of technical fouls. So the standings are: Kings, Pelicans 1-3; Cousins 0-3 and still looking for his first victory in the Big Easy.
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.
SACRAMENTO–There is an old song that Dinah Washington made famous (that’s for all of my readers who have lived a little) titled “What a Diff’rence a Day Makes”. That would be a fitting title for the Sacramento Kings 109-106 overtime win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
On Friday night, the Kings dropped a last second decision to the Phoenix Suns when Devin Booker banked in a jump shot at the final buzzer to hand Sacramento a painful 105-103 loss.
The way the Kings responded to that loss and the effort they would put forth versus the team with the best record in “the Association” was really critical for how this team would play for the rest off the season. They also had to face a Golden State franchise that had won the last 13 consecutive meetings between the two teams. All in all, the odds looked stacked against Sacramento.
The Kings did exactly what they needed to do by coming out and starting the game strong. Cousins scored 12 points in the opening 12 minutes and the Kings needed those points as Warriors superstar Steph Curry posted 14 points of his own in the opening quarter. Sacramento took a 31-27 lead after the first period.
The second quarter brought new stars to the floor as the second units came into the game. Kings reserve center Willie Cauley-Stein scored 12 points hitting on 6-of-8 shooting in 11-minutes of playing time. Klay Thompson took over the offense for the “Dubs” scoring 11 points for his squad.
At the end of 24 minutes, the game was tied at 56-all.
The third period brought more of the same high-pace scoring action that had been seen in the first half. The Warriors scored 26 points behind outstanding 3-point shooting (6-for-12, 50-percent). It was the traditional “Splash Brothers” tandem of Thompson (11) and Curry (9) that led the attack for the Warriors.
Sacramento also posted 26 points in the third quarter shooting 50-percent from the field (9-for-18) and going a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. Cousins (9), Collison (8) and McLemore (6) handled most of the scoring for the Kings.
At the end of three periods, the score was Golden State 82-Sacramento 82.
There was one other important incident in the third quarter. Warriors coach Steve Kerr was ejected from the game with 3:34 remaining in the period for arguing a foul call with the officials. Kerr was issued the first technical foul and that enraged him enough that he ran unto the floor after the referee. Needless to say, the second “tech-foul” was issued immediately.
“I was mad about a lot of things, but I got what I deserved. I deserved to be ejected, so I had no complaints. I was really angry about some calls and like I said, I got mad and I deserved to get kicked out”.
On to the fourth quarter which if you had to give it a title would be known as the “Ugly Quarter”. Both teams had difficulty executing. Golden State shot 28.6-percent (6-for-21) and went 1-for-8 from 3-point range in the period. The Warriors scored just 16 points.
The Kings shot 33.3-percent (7-for-21) and hit 2-of-4 shots from beyond the 3-point arc. Sacramento did not go to the free throw line one time in the period. The Kings put 16 points in the book.
At the end of regulation, the Warriors and Kings were tied at 98-98.
The Kings roared into overtime like they owned it by going on a 7-0 run. The Warriors first point in OT came off a made free throw by Draymond Green with 2:39 to go in the extra period.
The Warriors cut the Kings lead to one point when Green scored on a fast break dunk with 41.1 left on the clock. Cousins missed a 15-foot jump shot and the Curry missed a layup opportunity off the Warriors rebound.
Following a Golden State timeout, Curry missed a jump shot that Collison rebounded and who was fouled immediately. Curry fouled Darren Collison on the inbounds play with 2.5 to play. Collison converted both free throws and sealed the win for the Kings 109-106.
The OT win ends some very negative streaks for the Kings (20-31)
The win ended a 13-game losing streak to the Golden State Warriors. The last time the Kings had defeated the Warriors was on March 27, 2013.
The overtime victory also ended a four-game home losing streak. The Kings have yet to establish a true homecourt advantage in their new Golden 1 Center home. This win could be a foundational victory that helps establish a “not in my house” attitude.
This big win also stopped a three-game losing streak that carried over from the Kings “eight-game road trip from hell” with losses in Philly and Houston.
The loss ended a very positive streak for the “Dubs” (43-8)
The Warriors had won five games in a row prior to the overtime loss to the Kings on Saturday night.
The loss also ends a steak of incredible of domination over another professional franchise
Who did what in the game
DeMarcus Cousins scored a team-high 32 points to with 12 rebounds to record a double-double. He was one assist – nine – shy of a triple-double. He also had two steals and one blocked shot. “Big win. It shows this team has a lot of character, a lot of fight, especially coming off the loss we had last night. Complete team effort – I think this was our most complete game of the season.”
Darren Collison recorded 18 points and three assists. He shot 8-for-13 from the field.
Willie Cauley-Stein put 14 points in the book in just 17-minutes on the floor. He also had four rebounds and two steals.
Ben McLemore had another good night as a starter scoring 10 points in 29-minutes of playing time.
The Kings bench scored 45 points compared to just 16 points for the GSW bench.
Sacramento shot 44.9-percent from the field (43-for-88) and hit 7-of-23 from 3-point land in the game. They converted 16-of-19 free throws (84.2-percent).
The Kings outscored the Warriors 56-34 in the paint.
Steph Curry scored a game-high 35 points and added nine assists in the game. He hit on 8-of-14 attempts from behind the 3-point line.
Klay Thompson made “the Splash Brothers” effect present by adding 25 points against the Kings. He hit on 10-of-25 shots from the floor including sinking four 3-pointers.
Draymond Green put up 16 points in the contest. He also had eight rebounds and six assists
Kevin Durant had what has to called a “quiet” night. KD put just 10 points in the book and grabbed nine rebounds.
Coaches analysis of the game
Kings head coach Dave Joerger
That’s a good win – heck of a basketball game.
Second night of a back to back for us and guys competing and staying together and being rewarded for staying together and battling through.
It is a happy locker room and they should feel really good.
Warriors head man Steve Kerr
It was one of the worst games we’ve played all season.
We had no purpose.
The ball didn’t move.
I didn’t recognize our team out there tonight.
Up next on the schedule
The Warriors are off until Wednesday, February 8th when they will host the Bulls in a nationally televised game on ESPN.
The Kings host the Bulls on Monday night at the Golden 1 Center.
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 could have easily rolled into Charlotte with their heads hung low after losing a tough game in overtime in Indiana on Friday night. After all, it was the second game of a back-to-back set on the road and no road team wins those games anyway, but that is not what happened on Saturday night.
The Kings came out from the opening tip-off looking like a team that had just finished two days of rest. They ran the court, made crisp passes, looked for the extra pass, sank 3-point baskets and played defense. Literally, the Kings had shaken off the disappointment of losing to the Pacers and were focusing on beating the Hornets.
The Kings did exactly that. They beat the Charlotte Hornets 109-106 on the road. The Hornets came into the game having lost three consecutive games. They desperately were looking for the magic of the home court advantage to work for them and it almost did. What the Hornets did not count on was the new found togetherness that Kings have developed on this road trip that has them playing as a team and not individuals. That makes Sacramento (19-28) a very dangerous opponent.
The Kings have learned how to start games fast and strong. On Saturday, the Kings shot 50-percent from the floor while going 6-for-15 (40-percent) from beyond the 3-point line putting up 52 points on the board in the first half. Sacramento also played tough defense holding the Hornets to 44 points on 42.9-percent shooting. Charlotte hit just 3-of-18 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc which is normally a strong point for them. Their All-Star guard Kemba Walker was limited to six points.
In the third period, the Hornets (23-25) came alive to no one’s surprise. It was Kemba Walker who led the charge scoring 20 of the Hornets 33 points in the quarter. Charlotte shot 66.7-percent from the floor and for 3-pointers. The Charlotte crowd came alive as their team was working their way back into the game. It is also important to note the Kings shot 54.5-percent in the quarter while Cousins and Collison scored 11 points each. Each team scored 33 points in the third period. At the end of 36-minutes, the Kings held an 85-77 lead.
The game took a sudden change of momentum early in the fourth quarter as the Hornets cut the Kings lead to just three points in under just two minutes behind the 3-point shooting of Nicolas Batum and Frank Kaminsky. Sacramento pushed it back to an eight-point lead but then things went downhill.
The Hornets hit five 3-point baskets in the fourth quarter and took the lead in the game with 2:19 remaining on a 3-point field goal by Marvin Williams. The Kings tied the game at 106 each and gained control of the ball with 31-seconds to go in the contest.
Following a Sacramento timeout, the Kings put the ball in the hands of DeMarcus Cousins who drove on the basket from the right wing to make the layup and give his team a two-point lead. With 14-seconds left, the Hornets hopes fell to a 3-point shot by Kaminsky which came up short and was rebounded by Cousins who was fouled. Cousins hit 1-of-2 free throws to give his team the 109-106 victory.
Cousins on the win
We’re understanding better – we can win by playing together
(we’re playing) team oriented defense
The “iso” style is out of play
The only way we win game is playing together
Who did what in the game
DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 35 points and pulled down 18 rebounds to record his 12th consecutive double-double game. Cousins also had four assists and seven of his rebounds came on offense which extended possessions
Anthony Tolliver scored 14 points hitting on 4-of-8 shots from long range. Those 3-point baskets seemed crush the Hornets momentum each time. He also grabbed seven rebounds
Willie Cauley-Stein played 14-minutes of impressive basketball against the Hornets. He shot 6-for-7 from the floor for 13 points and made his presence known on the floor
Other key contributors: Darren Collison 17 points, Arron Afflalo 13 points and 4 assists
Team numbers: 51.9-percent Field Goals, 11-for-27 (40.7-percent) 3-pt Field Goals, 27 assists and just 10 turnovers that resulted in just nine Hornet points
Kemba Walker led the Hornets scoring with 26 points (20 in the third quarter). He did not score any points in the fourth quarter. Seven assists
Nicolas Batum put up 19 points that included hitting 3-of-6 for 3-pointers. He also had seven assists
Former Sacramento King Spencer Hawes scored 12 points off the bench and grabbed seven rebounds. He also tried to get DeMarcus Cousins ejected from the game (see below)
Team numbers: 48-percent Field Goals, 32.4-percent 3-pt FGs, 22-for-24 (91.7-percent) from the free throw line
Dave Joerger’s postgame analysis
Good NBA game – both teams played hard
We’ve been playing much better lately and we showed some resiliency tonight coming back on the second night of a back-to-back
Kemba Walker was fantastic especially in the third quarter
We’re getting better at the little things-taking care of the ball
We had (only) three turnovers in the second half which has been a problem for us. We executed there
Oh no – Tech foul number 13
DeMarcus Cousins and Spencer Hawes were both assessed a technical foul with three minutes to go in the first half of the game. Cousins had just made a layup and was fouled by Hawes. After the foul, there were a few words and very (VERY) minor pushes with one hand from each player. It was really a nothing moment that happens in virtually every NBA game nightly.
Neither player ( and believe me when I say that I am no fan of Hawes ) deserved to be hit with a tech foul. A verbal warning from the referee would have been more than sufficient.
Being the agitator that he is – Hawes kept trying to get under Cousins skin in the second half because a second technical would have meant an automatic ejection. To Cousins credit, he just ignored Hawes.
For Cousins, this is his 13th technical foul of the season. When he reaches 16, it is an automatic one-game suspension with another one-game suspension for each two tech fouls after that. The Kings cannot afford to be without Cousins for one quarter let alone for an entire game.
I would not be surprised to see this technical reversed because it was really too much – too soon for what was happening between the players.
Up next on the schedule
The Kings travel to Philadelphia on Sunday where they will play the Sixers on Monday to make up the game that was postponed on November 30 due to a wet court. The 76ers play the Bulls in Chicago on Sunday. Joel Embiid will not travel to Chicago so there is anticipation he will be available to play against the Kings on Monday. It will be a 4 p.m. tipoff on the West Coast.
The Hornets will head out on the road to play Portland on Tuesday.
The Sacramento Kings had to play overtime for the second consecutive game in three days in Indiana on Friday night against the Pacers. Unfortunately for the Kings, they came up on the short end of the game this time as they lost 115-111.
Sacramento (18-28) is now 1-4 in overtime games this season. Indiana (24-22) is 4-1 when have to play an extra session. Four of their 24 wins have come in overtime. That is not only impressive but it may vital to their seeding come playoff time.
The Kings started the game strong – something they have had trouble doing all season long. Sacramento shot 61.8% in the first half and hit 11-of-16 3-point attempts to take a 64-55 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The second half was not as kind to the Kings. Being on the road came back to haunt Sacramento. They shot just 39.3% in the second half and hit just 1-of-8 3-point shots. The Kings also gave up a 16 lead to the Pacers who came back to tie the game at the end of regulation to force the overtime.
Indiana changed their tactics and began to play very physical in the second half. The Kings did not respond very well to the physical play and were taken out of their game by the Pacers. Paul George also came to life and took over the game for his team scoring 16 points – 14 of those points from the free throw line.
George scored six of the Pacers 11 points in overtime. When needed, the superstars of “the association” always do their best to step up to lead their teams.
The Kings played well for 40 of the 48 minutes in regulation. If they could have added another three to four minutes to that total, they might have been able to avoid overtime and notched another victory.
Joerger’s analysis of the game
Heck of an NBA game
Proud of guys (Joerger is consistent in trying to build his players up)
Ran into a team that has our number right now
Shot just 37.5% in second half
They were on the foul line 28 times in the second half
We got to go on and play the next night in Charlotte tomorrow
Who did what in the game
Cousins – 26th double-double game 26 points, 13 rebounds five assists
Darren Collison – 26 points, 4-for-6 3’s, five assists, three steals
Ty Lawson – 16 points, 8-of-8 from free throw line, six assists,two 3’s
Arron Afflalo – 15 points, 6-for-9 field goals, three 3-pointers
Team 49.3 FG%, 50% 3-pointers, 77.8 Free Throw %
The stat they would change 19 turnovers that resulted in 25 Pacer points
Paul George – game-high 33 points, 16-for-17 at the free throw line
CJ Miles – 18 points, 6-for-9 from 3-point land, all attempts were 3’s
Team – 48.7 FG%, 35.7% 3-point shooting, 87.9 Free Throw%
Up next on the schedule
For the Kings, the incredible four games in five days schedule continues. They are off to Charlotte for the back end of a back-to-back road set. Charlotte is in seventh-place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 23-24.
Indiana will return to action on Sunday when they will host the Houston Rockets.
The Sacramento Kings and Chicago Bulls came into the game in Chicago on Saturday night looking to end losing streaks. The Kings had lost four games in a row and the Bulls had lost two consecutive games. Both teams had been beaten soundly on Friday night.
The Kings and Bulls played hard and gave their full 48-minute efforts in a game that ended with a controversial call – if you are a Sacramento fan. When the final buzzer sounded, the Bulls (22-23) had won the game 102-99 and ended their losing streak. The Kings (16-27) went to their locker room frustrated and the owners of a five-game losing streak – their longest of the season.
You call that a foul?
With 15-seconds on the clock and the game tied at 99-99, Dwyane Wade was able to steal the ball from the Kings Garrett Temple and start a fast break for the basket. Wade went up for an uncontested dunk and hit the back of the iron. DeMarcus Cousins was trailing Wade and may (emphasis on may) have brushed Wade on his way down after missing the dunk. The officials blew the whistle and called a foul on Cousins. Basically, the referees could not believe that superstar guard would miss the breakaway slam unless he was fouled.
Multiple video replays showed that there was no foul on the play but the play was not eligible for video review. The call stood. Wade made 1-of-2 free throws and the Bulls took a 100-99 lead.
The final 14-seconds
The Kings began working a play following a timeout when Taj Gibson was able to reach in and steal the ball from Cousins. The Bulls were able to score when Michael Carter-Williams put the ball through the hoop on an Alley Oop layup with an assist from Wade that gave the Bulls a 102-99 lead.
Garrett Temple brought the ball into the frontcourt quickly for the Kings and put up a 41-foot desperation shot that banged off the rim as the buzzer sounded. The game ended with the Bulls winning 102-99.
DeMarcus Cousins was a one-man wrecking crew
Cousins scored a game-high 42 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to record his 23rd double-double game of the season. Cousins scored those 42 points on just 28 shots. He converted 8-of-9 free throws and hit 2-of-7 shots from 3-point range. He sank those 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions late in the fourth quarter to keep his team in the game. Cousins had three assists and two blocked shots while committing only two turnovers in the contest. The Kings big man was their only player to score in double figures in the game.
To no one’s surprise it was the Wade and Butler show for the Bulls
Dwyane Wade led the Bulls scoring attack with 30 points. Wade did not have a great night shooting as he went 9-for-20 from the field. He did go an impressive 12-for-15 from the free throw line. Wade also added four assists, four blocked shots and three steals in the game. The superstar guard sent out a tweet to Bulls fans apologizing for their poor play in Atlanta on Friday night. Wade has nothing to apologize for after the way he played against the Kings on Saturday night.
Jimmy Butler scored 23 points and dished out seven assists against the Kings. He spent most of the game acting as the playmaker. Butler shot 6-for-14 from the floor and was a perfect 10-for-10 from free throw line. Butler and Wade went a combined 22-for-25 from the charity stripe.
Coach Joerger’s postgame analysis
Really proud of our guys
Thought we played our tails off for 48-minutes
(team) made major progress
(We have to) keep working hard; we’re going to figure it out; work it out
DeMarcus had a heck of a game
(In this game) Too much Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler
On the foul call on Cousins as Wade missed the dunk: Live ball – three on one
Kings needed another double figured scorer
If one other Kings player had scored in double figures, the final outcome might have been different. Nine other players participated in the game besides Cousins but none scored in double figures. Afflalo posted nine points and Collison, Temple and Lawson each scored eight points. With Rudy Gay sidelined for the rest of the season, one of the Sacramento players has to step up and become a double-figure scorer. More 3-point production could help that situation.
Rajon Rondo’s time in the Windy City may be coming to a close. Rondo played just six-minutes against the Kings on Saturday distributing four assists and scoring no points. The point guard who was so productive in Sacramento is finding it rough sledding in Chicago. Do not be surprised if Rondo is wearing a different uniform by the trade deadline in February because his time with the Bulls seems to be over.
Up next on the schedule
The Kings travel to Detroit where they will play the Pistons on Monday night. The Kings last win came over Detroit in Sacramento. The Kings will be looking to pick up their first win on the eight-game road trip versus the Pistons.
The Bulls will return to action on Tuesday in Orlando against the Magic.