Kings win on the road, beat the Wizards 113-106

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Graphic: @SacramentoKings

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings (7-8) jumped back into the win column on Sunday afternoon by defeating the Washington Wizards 113-106 in game two of their four-game road trip. The victory did not come easy, but the Kings never let their concentration wavier which allowed them to win the game.

Sacramento outscored Washington (5-9) in three of the four quarters. They also avoided the dreaded “third quarter letdown”. The Kings outscored the Wizards 33-30 in the third quarter, and then, they outscored the Wizards 33-28 in the fourth quarter. That is another major step forward for the Kings.

Kings starters carried the day

The Sacramento starting five scored 79 of the teams 113 total points. Harrison Barnes scored a game-high 26 points. Richaun Holmes recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Buddy Hield put 18 points in the book. He shot 4-for-14 from the field with 3 of his field goals coming from behind the 3-point line. Hield drove the lane very hard and went to the foul line seven times and was successful on all seven attempts. He also dished out five assists.

Cory Joseph had a big game for the Kings scoring 10 points and distributing five dimes. Joseph hit 5 of 10 shots from the floor.

All of the Kings starters expect Bjelica played well over 30 minutes in the game.

Sacramento bench

The key man off the bench was Bogdan Bogdanovic. “Bogi” scored 21 points shooting 7-for-16 from the floor while hitting 3 of 9 attempts from 3-point land. He also went 4-for-6 from the free throw line while dishing out four assists.

Focus on the Wizards

  • Bradley Beal scored a team-high 20 points while distributing eight assists. Beal has been averaging 29.6 points per game this season.
  • Thomas Bryant put up 14 points and added eight rebounds
  • Former King – Isaiah Thomas – scored 17 points against his old team.
  • Mo Wagner recorded a double-double scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
  • The Wizards bench outscored the Kings bench 48-37.

Addition to the Kings roster

After having several outstanding games in the G-League with the Stockton Kings, Kyle Guy has been called up to join the Kings NBA roster. He joined the team in Washington but did not play.

Up next

The Kings have the unenviable task of playing the second game of a back-to-back on the road in Boston on Monday night.

The Wizards will travel to Denver to face the Nuggets on Tuesday night.

Kings lose a battle in Boston 97-92

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento Kings v Boston Celtics
Cousins and Horford battle under the basket Photo NBAE

The Kings and Celtics went to war on the basketball court on Friday night in Boston. The game featured 23 lead changes and 12 ties. As those stats would imply, both teams had the opportunity to win the game. In the end, Boston led by Al Horford was able to put the “W” in the books because of their tough play late in the fourth quarter.

The Celtics won their 11th game of the season as they downed the Kings 97-92. Sacramento now drops to 7-12 on the season and 1-2 on what is now a five-game road trip.

The Kings started slow and finished sluggish

Sacramento went with the “the big” starting lineup in this game – Koufos, Cousins, Gay, Afflalo and Collison. Boston began running away from this starting five immediately. By the 4:26 mark in the first quarter, the Celtics held a 13-point lead 24-11. Dave Joerger pulled all of his starters except Cousins and the second unit erased the deficit tying the game at 29-29 at the end of the first period.

That set up a real battle between the teams that played out in second, third and part of the fourth quarters.

With 7:54 to go in the game, Al Horford hit a hook shot that tied the game and the Celtics eventually went on a 10-0 run that created a major uphill battle for the Kings. Sacramento led by Cousins tried to fight their way back into the game and did cut the Celtics lead to three points with 39 seconds remaining in the game. The Kings were unable to score again in those final seconds and lost the game.

The Kings lost Cousins for medical treatment late in the 3rd and early in the 4th quarters

Late in the third quarter, Ty Lawson and DeMarcus Cousins were both going for a defensive rebound when Lawson’s left elbow hit Cousins above the left eye. The blow opened up a cut above Cousins’ left eye. He was taken to the locker room where they glued the cut shut and he returned to the game with under eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

Was that the turning point in the game? No, it was not. Read the next section and you will understand why it was not the key to the loss.

Missed shots in the paint – poor shot selection – turnovers all haunt the Kings

“We just shot ourselves in the foot. We turned the damned thing (the ball) over like I’ve never seen.We take bad shots sometimes and it just ticks me off. At bad times … stuff we know we have to get better at. We’re not a bunch of rookies. We can get better. We’ll keep plugging away and keep getting better, but we shot 47 shots in the paint and missed how many layups? Turnovers killed us. Shots come and go – we didn’t make shots,” said Kings head coach Dave Joerger after the game.

Sacramento outscored Boston 42-34 in the paint but went 21-for-47 in the high percentage shooting area. The Kings shot just 37.9-percent (33-for-87) for the game. It is almost impossible to win a game in the NBA and shoot under 40-percent. Sacramento turned the ball over 15 times and those TOVs created 21 points for Boston.

Cousins was the Kings scoring leader but it was not his best night – Barnes was big

  • DeMarcus Cousins was the game’s leading scorer with 28 points but he had to take 26 shots to tally those points. He was 2-for-7 from long range. Cousins had nine rebounds so he did not record a double-double
  • Matt Barnes did have a double-double for the Kings on Friday night. He scored 12 points, grabbed 16 rebounds (game-high) and added five assists. Barnes also provided some much needed energy on defense several times in the game
  • Rudy Gay and Darren Collison each scored 12 points for Sacramento. Gay had eight rebounds but went 1-for-7 from 3-point range. Collison had three assists
  • Omri Casspi played almost 27 minutes off the bench and scored seven points. Casspi brought some much needed energy late in the first quarter
  • Willie Cauley-Stein had some strong minutes of playing time in the first half and scored six points in the game
Sacramento Kings v Boston Celtics
Matt Barnes moves with the ball in Boston Photo NBAE

Al Horford was the star for Boston in the game

Horford had a complete game for the Celtics on Friday night against the Kings. The Boston center played 35-minutes scoring 26 points, recorded eight rebounds, dished out three assists, had two steals and six -yes you are reading correctly – six blocked shots. He shot 10-for-18 from the floor and 4-for-7 from beyond the 3-point line.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was even more impressed with Horford’s defense. Stevens talked about how his center is always at the ready on defense. Horford did make a key defensive play on Cousins in the final seconds of the game to deny the Kings big man a 3-point shot opportunity.

Other Celtic contributors

  • Former Kings player Isaiah Thomas put up 20 points and handed out seven assists on a night when he did not shoot his best. Thomas shot 6-for-21 from the floor and 0-for-5 from 3-point land
  • Jae Crowder added 16 points and Avery Bradley scored 15 for Boston
  • One of the big weaknesses for the Celtics is the lack of bench scoring. The Celtics reserves scored just 12 points in the contest. The Kings bench scored 33 points in the game
Sacramento Kings v Boston Celtics
Isaiah Thomas goes to the basket against his old team on Friday night Photo NBAE

Up next on the schedule

The Kings have the day off in New York City on Saturday and then will face the New York Knicks in “the Garden” on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. PST in game four of the five-game road trip.

The Celtics kick off a road trip on Saturday night in Philadelphia with the Sixers assuming the floor is dry enough for play. The NBA will make sure the floor is game-ready for the Celtics and Sixers … take that to the bank.

Warriors overpower Celtics after erasing 26-point deficit in Boston

BOSTON — The Golden State Warriors continue to be the class of the NBA.

Stephen Curry poured in 37 points, while fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson added 20 points as the Warriors erased a 26-point lead to defeat the Boston Celtics 106-101 Sunday night in Beantown. With the win, Golden State continue hold the NBA’s best record at 46-11 and giving the Warriors their seventh win in their last nine games.

Harrison Barnes chipped in with 17 points and eight rebounds and Draymond Green scored 14 points (11 in the fourth quarter).

“This was a fun challenge for us,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “If we lost, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. But we were down and we came back. I was happy that we showed good poise.”

“We didn’t want to be down 26,” Curry said after the Warriors played their fifth game on a six-game road trip, and the middle of a string of three games in four nights. “It seemed like it was sluggish there in the first quarter. We had to be mentally tough to make it an interesting game and close out the half.”

Golden State has won four straight versus Boston for the first time since the team moved west from Philadelphia in 1962, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 20 points off the bench, and Tyler Zeller finished with 17 points for the Celtics, who saw their three-game winning streak snapped.

Jae Crowder recorded 17 of Boston’s game-high 60 rebounds, compared to Golden State’s 55 total rebounds. Brandon Bass added 15 points and 12 rebounds for Boston.

Boston dominated Golden State 22-10 on fast break points, while Golden State shoot better from the floor than Boston, 42 percent (40-for-95) for Golden State, 36 percent (40-for-109) for Boston.

Golden State continued to shoot lights out on 3s, knocking down 12-of-34 (35 percent). Boston shot just 26 percent (8-for-31) from behind the arc.

Golden State wraps up it’s six-game road swing Monday night in Brooklyn.



Warriors shake off slow start, sink Suns

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — Stephen Curry finished with 25 points and Klay Thompson scored 22 points to help the Golden State Warriors stop a two-game losing streak with a 106-87 win over the Phoenix Suns Saturday night at Oracle Arena.

“We got back to our style of basketball,” said Curry, who combined with Thompson shot 19-for-30 from the floor. “We we’re slumping a little bit and wasn’t playing well, so this was big for us.”

Harrison Barnes added 13 points and eight rebounds, Leandro Barbosa scored 14, and Andre Iguodala finished with 12 points for Golden State (37-8), who shook off a sluggish start where the missed their first 10 shots of the game.

Daymond Green fell one point short of a double-double, scoring nine points and grabbing 11 rebounds. During one timeout, Green was heard telling teammates, “we got to get our focus back and play better.”

Phoenix jumped out to a 40-28 lead midway through the second quarter, but rallied to close out the frame to take a 52-51 lead into halftime and never looked back.

After finding themselves down by 12 to Phoenix, Golden State outscored the Suns 78-47 the rest of the way that proved to be difference.

Golden State’s 15-2 run midway through the fourth quarter proved to be the difference for the Warriors, who got back into the win column.

“Great effort by our guys tonight,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “The defensive effort in the second half was tremendous. We closed out on the shooters, got into passing lanes, got back on track.”

Golden State shot 46 percent from the floor (40-for-87), while holding one of the NBA’s best scoring teams to well under their 100 points per game average and 36 percent shooting (33-for-91).

The Warriors had seven players with two or more assists led by Curry’s seven.

Phoenix did get the best of Golden State on the glass, outrebounding the Warriors 52-44.

“We have great passers on our team,” said Barbosa. “It helped the team and we were able to get the ball moving and played better tonight.”

Markieff Morris had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Eric Bledsoe finished with 16 points for Phoenix (28-21) just fell apart in the second half.

Goran Dragic scored 10 points and Isaiah Thomas added 13 points. Phoenix shot 35 percent on 3s (9-for-26).

The Warriors improved to 22-2 at Oracle Arena this season. With a 12-3 record in January, it was Golden State’s best January since the 1974-75 season.

Golden State heads up to Sacramento Tuesday to take on the Kings.



Kings get the No. 8 pick but may trade it


Photo credit: NBAE/Getty

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Last night was the NBA Draft Lottery where dreams are made or dashed by a combination of numbered ping pong balls. If the teams drafted based on their win-loss records alone, the Sacramento Kings would draft seventh. After adding in the lottery factor, the Kings will draft eighth in the 2014 NBA Draft. This is the fifth time the Kings have fallen one spot from its pre-lottery position.

The 2014 draft class is very solid and deep. There will be star quality players available for eighth pick in the draft, but the Kings may never use the pick.

According to a story by Scott Howard-Cooper of, the Kings are going to put their number eight pick on the trading blocking as of today. Per Howard-Cooper, the Kings are looking to add a veteran impact player in exchange for the number eight selection.

The idea of trading the pick is a plausible one. The Kings could use additional veteran talent to reduce the amount of time it will take to become playoff contenders. The addition of Rudy Gay had a major positive impact on the club last season. The addition of an impact small forward or shooting guard would help the Kings improve their win-loss record in 2014-15.

If the Kings choose to keep the pick or unable to find an acceptable trading partner, the mock draft experts think Sacramento will wind up with a power forward or point guard. Gary Parish of believes the Kings will select Arizona power forward Aaron Gordon at number eight. Parrish’s colleague Matt Moore concurs. Scott Howard-Cooper of believes the Kings would select point guard Marcus Smart from Oklahoma. sees the Kings selecting power forward Noah Vonleh out of Indiana.

A power forward pick would provide some insurance in case the Kings cannot sign Rudy Gay to a long term deal. A young player could learn much from the veteran Gay.

Choosing a point guard would allow the Kings to keep Isaiah Thomas and use him as a sixth-man off the bench. The Kings could also choose not to resign Thomas and save up to $10-million to use on a small forward or shooting guard.

One thing is for sure. The number eight pick will change the landscape for the Kings’ 2014-15 season.


Kings beat the T-Wolves 106-103

Photo credit: Rocky Widner
Photo credit: Rocky Widner

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings and the Minnesota Timberwolves met in Sacramento on Sunday night in a game that meant nothing in the standings. Both clubs are out of the playoff picture. The only thing that was on the line was pride. The Kings and T-Wolves brought plenty of pride to the game and put on a hard-fought show for the big crowd which went home happy because the Kings won the game 106-103.

The Kings were led by the outstanding play of DeMarcus Cousins who scored 35 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and handed out six assists. It was Cousins’ 53rd double-double of the season. He shot 13 of 21 from the field and was 9 of 13 from the free throw line.

Cousins’ brilliant play was not the biggest story of the night for the Kings’ center. With one-minute and 13-seconds left in the game, Cousins picked up his 16th technical foul of the season which means he will be suspended for the Kings’ final game of the season versus Phoenix. Cousins had played with the 15 technical fouls hanging over his head since February 25th.

The Kings can and will appeal to the league office who can overturn the call. Head Coach Michael Malone said, “I feel for him. (We will) try to get it rescinded.

Rookie Ben McLemore played with abandon on offense and defense. McLemore scored 19 points and shot 3 for 6 from beyond the 3-point arc. On defense, McLemore held Kevin Martin and Robbie Hummel to just five points combined.

To the delight of the fans, Isaiah Thomas returned to the floor after missing 10 consecutive games with a right quad contusion. Thomas was very productive in his 30-minutes of playing time. He scored 14 points and dished out four assist.

The Timberwolves were led by Kevin Love’s 43 points and 11 rebounds. Love was 15 of 17 from the free throw line. Love had a relatively quiet first-half scoring just 13 points. He really came alive in the second-half and was the leader on the floor for Minnesota.

Rookie Center Gorgui Dieng had a spectacular game through three quarters. He picked up his fourth foul and was quiet after that. Dieng scored 21 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and had four assists.

After the game Kings Head Coach Michael Malone said, “(It was a) hell of an effort for our guys. (We) played better in the second half. Happy to get this win after losing five in a row.”

The Kings will play their final game of the season on Wednesday night in Sacramento against the Phoenix Suns who battling for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Kings beat up on Bucks 124-107



Photo credit: NBAE/Getty Images

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings had the unenviable task of going from playing the best team in “the Association”- the Spurs – to having to face the worst team in the league – the Milwaukee Bucks – on Sunday at home. The Kings could have easily come out flat, but they came out ready to play looking for a victory. Sacramento beat Milwaukee 124-107.

The Kings were led by DeMarcus Cousins who posted a double-double scoring 32 points and grabbing 12 rebounds while playing just 29 minutes in the game. Cousins spent the entire fourth quarter on the bench. Isaiah Thomas scored 30 points on just 15 shots that included going three for four from “3-point land”. Thomas also dished out eight assists. Rudy Gay put up 24 points while pulling down eight rebounds and serving up four assists. Ben McLemore scored 15 points including three 3-pointers.

Sacramento shot 51.2-percent from the field and shot 35.0-percent (7 for 20) from beyond the 3-point line. As a team, the Kings recorded 19 assists against just 12 turnovers. The Kings outrebounded the Bucks 44-40.

With a big win and numbers like they posted, you would think Kings Head Coach Michael Malone would have been very happy after the game. You would only be partially right. Coach stated that he is happy with any win in the NBA, but he was unhappy with the 63 points his team gave up in the second half. Up by 40 at one point, Malone was not pleased that he had to consider putting Cousins back in the game if things had continued to get out of hand.

The Kings came out in the first half ready to dominate the lowly Milwaukee Bucks. The Kings took a 70-44 lead into the locker room after 24-minutes of play. DeMarcus Cousins put up 21 points; Rudy Gay added 17 while Ben McLemore posted 11 going four for eight from the field.

The Kings were able to dominate due to their play in the paint. Sacramento scored 28 points down low while allowing the Bucks just 16 in the paint. The Kings also ruled the boards outrebounding Milwaukee 27-20.

The Kings were looking to run the fastbreak in the first half. They added nine points off the break while the Sacramento defense gave up no fastbreak points to the Bucks. The Kings defense held the Bucks to just 34.9-percent (15 for 42) shooting. Sacramento shot 58.1-percent (24 for 43) from the field. The Kings shot 40.0-percent (4 for 10) from beyond the 3-point arc.

Coach Malone was also able to give some extended rest to Cousins, Gay and Thomas. That also meant valuable playing time for Ray McCallum and Travis Outlaw.

The first half also featured two flagrant fouls committed by the Bucks.

Milwaukee started off the third quarter with an 8-0 run. That caused Malone to take a quick timeout. The Bucks started working the paint and scoring on the Kings. The Kings appeared to be flat and distracted. Cousins then scored on a coast to coast bucket and Thomas hit two 3-pointers allowing the Kings to maintain the lead. The Kings hit the century mark with 2:17 left to play in the third quarter. The quarter ended with the Kings leading the Bucks 104-70.

The fourth quarter should have been pure garbage time for the Kings. Instead the Bucks were able to begin to make Malone and the crowd a bit nervous. Sacramento suffered a series of defensive breakdowns that caused Malone to call timeouts to preach defense to his team.

The Kings allowed Milwaukee to shoot 75.0-percent (15 for 20) from the field in the fourth quarter. The Bucks scored 14 of those points in the paint and 10 points on fastbreaks. Milwaukee outscored the Kings 37-20 in the final period. Garbage time or not, that cannot happen when you start the quarter with a 34-point lead. It is part of the process of having to learn how to handle a large lead.

The Kings are off until Wednesday when they will host the New York Knicks in the final game of the four-game home-stand. Sacramento will then head out on a three-game road trip to Oklahoma City, Dallas and New Orleans.

Kings lose a heartbreaker to T-wolves 104-102



Photo credit: NBAE/Getty Images

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Kevin Martin scored 31 points and Kevin Love hit for 26 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and distributed five assists as the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Sacramento Kings 104-102 on Sunday night in Minneapolis.

Isaiah Thomas led the Kings with 27 points and Derrick Williams put up 26 points off the bench to take the game down to the wire with Timberwolves. Rudy Gay added 14 points, but it would not be enough to get a win in the seventh and final game of the 13-day road trip.

The Kings started the game with a major disadvantage having to play without DeMarcus Cousins in the lineup. Cousins was suffering from knee tenderness. Cousins is almost a guaranteed double-double in every game he starts which means a significant  of number of points and rebounds must be covered by the other starters and the bench.

Nikola Pekovic was unable to go for the Timberwolves due to an ankle problem.

The Timberwolves jumped out to an early 13-6 lead as the Kings looked out of sync on both offense and defense which forced an early timeout call. The Kings looked better for short period after the timeout but then began to give up fastbreaks and easy points to Minnesota.

Derrick Williams – the former Timberwolf – came in with the second unit for the Kings and immediately provided a spark by scoring 10 points on just three shots. The Kings were able to close the gap and trailed the Timberwolves by just three points – 32-29 – after one quarter of play.

The Kings did not start the second quarter well as it took them 2:29 to put up their first points which was another bucket by Derrick Williams. The Kings closed the Minnesota lead to just two and took the lead 39-38 on a Derrick Williams three-point play. After a timeout, Rick Adelman put his first unit back on the floor to face the Kings. Michael Malone chose to keep his second unit out versus the Timberwolves’ first unit.

The Kings and Wolves then began trading baskets and fouls staying within three points of the other team. The game also switched to a half-court offensive contest. The Kings’ defense prevented the Timberwolves from setting up for the fastbreak. The Kings using some inspired play from Rudy Gay and Williams were able to go to the locker room with a 54-53 lead.

Derrick Williams scored 16 points in just 11 minutes of play for the Kings in the first-half. Reggie Evans scored eight points and Rudy Gay added seven points. Isaiah Thomas put up five points and dished out six assists. The Kings had 12 assists versus seven turnovers. The Sacramento bench outscored the Minnesota bench 30-4.

 The third quarter began with Kevin Martin and Kevin Love shooting the ball well and allowing the Timberwolves to retake the lead. Gorgui Dieng was very active on defense plugging up the middle and swatting away shots. The Kings then turned it on with Isaiah Thomas tying the game at 69 all.

Isaiah Thomas really turned up the effort scoring 13 points in the third, but the Love, Martin and Dieng combination was very strong allowing the Timberwolves to take the lead 77-74 after three quarters.

The Kings came out in the final period with Williams and McCallum hitting buckets and giving the Kings the lead 78-77. When the Timberwolves had not scored after two minutes, Rick Adelman took a timeout.

The teams proceeded to trade buckets and the game remained tied or within two points of the other team for the next few minutes. Derrick Williams showed the Minnesota fans what they gave up when he was traded to Sacramento by scoring nine quick points.

Kevin Love scored four quick points to give the Wolves the lead, but Thomas and Williams kept the Kings in the game and within one point with 1:26 left to play. The Kings took the lead on two free throw shots by Williams. Love gave Minnesota the lead back with a 3-point shot. Ricky Rubio opened up a three point – 98-95 – lead for the Wolves hitting one of two free throws with 41 seconds left to play. The Kings missed on three opportunities and Minnesota went to the free throw line with 16 seconds left to go. Kevin Martin hit the two free throws and it was 100-95 with 16 seconds to play. Isaiah Thomas hit a 3-point shot to bring the Kings within two points of the lead. Kevin Martin was fouled and hit two free throws. Thomas hit another 3-pointer to make it 102-101 Timberwolves. Martin hit two more free throws and Thomas hit from the charity stripe to make it 104-102 Minnesota. Dieng was fouled and missed both shots with 1 second to go. Rudy Gay took a full court shot that missed and the Timberwolves won the game 104-102.

The long and arduous road trip is finally over. The Kings headed back to Sacramento and will host the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.

Kings fall in Chicago 94-87



Photo credit: NBAE/Getty Images

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Chicago Bulls defeated the Sacramento Kings 94-87 on Saturday night in Chicago. It was a game that featured daunting defense and lacked on solid offense from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

Both teams shot under 40 percent from the field. The Kings hit on 31 of 85 (.365) shots. They converted just 2 of 14 3-point opportunities. The Bulls shot .397 (31 of 78) and were 6 of 20 from beyond the 3-point line. Defense ruled the game.

The Kings out-rebounded the Bulls 55-40. Sacramento swept 19 balls off the glass to just 7 for Chicago. Even though they controlled the rebounding, it was not enough to give the Kings a win.

Sacramento really fell short in the assists category. They had just 12 assists for the game and had only 4 in the first half. Chicago recorded 21 assists.

Once again the Kings committed more turnovers than they had assists. They turned the ball over 16 times versus the Bulls.

Even with those less than spectacular statistics, the Kings were just 3 points down with 29 seconds left in the game. It was a battle of the defenses.

After the game, Kings’ coach Michael Malone said he was proud of how hard his team played and for keeping the game so competitive. He acknowledged there things that could have been down better, but Malone was happy with the way his team battled versus the Bulls.

Isaiah Thomas led all scorers in the game with 26 points. He also 5 assists. DeMarcus Cousins posted another double-double with 25 points and 14 rebounds despite being double-teamed by the Bulls all game.

Rudy Gay had a quiet game with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Gay is drawing the attention of opposing defenses and is having a tough time putting up the kind of numbers he was posting earlier in the season. The Kings need to make some adjustments to allow Gay to be productive on offense.

The Bulls were led by Joakim Noah with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists. He also had 5 blocked shots and 3 steals.

Taj Gibson scored 19 points on just 9 shots. Mike Dunleavy put up 16 points and was 3 of 6 for 3-pointers.

The loss dropped the Kings record to 23-43 for the season. Chicago is now 37-29 and playoff bound in the Eastern Division.

The Kings wrap up the 7 game road trip on Sunday in Minnesota versus the Timberwolves.

Timberwolves down the Kings 108-97



Photo credit: Rocky Widner NBAE/Getty Images

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Sacramento Kings 108-97 on Saturday night. The Kings lost because they played inconsistent defense and did not take care of the basketball.

DeMarcus Cousins returned to the Kings’ lineup after serving his one game suspension on Friday night. Cousins posted his 35th double-double of the season scoring 21 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Cousins’ outstanding performance was not enough to make up for the lack of defense.

Rudy Gay had two entirely different basketball games. In the first half, Gay scored 22 points to help give his team a 56-53 halftime lead. In the second half, he scored only two points. That lack of scoring by Gay did not help the Kings who struggled especially in the third quarter.

Isaiah Thomas put up 22 points and dished out eight assists. Down the stretch, Thomas played in the backcourt with Ray McCallum (nine points) running the point. The two guards worked well together.

“The big three” (Cousins, Gay and Thomas) were the only Kings to score in double figures.

Kevin Martin was the scoring leader for the Timberwolves with 26 points. Martin’s night was similar to Gay’s as he scored 19 in the first half and just seven points in the second half.

Kevin Love posted 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Love 12 for 14 from the free throw line.

Nikola Pekovic scored 20 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Corey Brewer scored 13 points.

Turnovers killed the Kings on Saturday night. Sacramento turned the ball over 19 times and that resulted in Minnesota scoring 27 points off those turnovers.

The other area that helped the Kings to lose was the lack of scoring in the third quarter. Sacramento was outscored 31-14 in the third period. A team cannot win in the NBA scoring 14 points in a quarter.

Despite the horrible third quarter, the Kings cut the Timberwolves lead to just two points with less than three minutes to play. Turnovers and poor fastbreak decisions allowed the Timberwolves to open up the eventual nine point lead.

After the game when asked why his team lost, Kings Head Coach Michael Malone said, “Turnovers – (we) continue to beat ourselves.” Malone cited inconsistent defense as another major contributor to his team’s loss.

With the win, Minnesota’s record improved to 29-29. The loss dropped the Kings record to 20-39 for the 2013-14 season. Sacramento has now lost three games in a row.

The Kings will have Sunday off and will host the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.