Lakers edge out the Kings 126-122

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Photo credit: NBAE/Getty Images

By Charlie O. Mallonee

It was “old school” NBA at Staples Arena on Friday night as the Los Angeles Lakers downed the Sacramento Kings 126-122. If you love offense, you loved this game. Both teams shot better than 50% from the field. There were no defensive highlights. The game was all about 3-pointers, assists and fast breaks.

The Lakers shot 70.4% (19/27) from beyond the 3-point arc. That is not a misprint. Los Angeles shot 70.4% from 3-point land. The Lakers shot 60.0% (48/60) for the game, but it was their 3-point shooting that ultimately won the game.

The Kings shot 50.5% (47/93) overall in the contest. Sacramento shot a mere 33.3% (5/15) for 3-pointers. They shot 71.9% (23/32) from the free throw line.

With DeMarcus Cousins unavailable due to suspension, the Kings needed to play as a team and step up to the task of facing the Lakers. Rudy Gay led the charge scoring 30 points and shooting 50.0% from the field. Gay also pulled down seven rebounds, recorded 5 assists, two steals and one blocked shot.

Isaiah Thomas scored 26 points from the point guard position and shot 62.5% (10/16) for field goals. Thomas dished out eight assists. There have been those who questioned whether the Kings should re-sign Thomas. A better question is how can the Kings afford not to re-sign Thomas?

Derek Williams started at power forward and pumped in 26 points for Sacramento. Williams posted a double-double by also grabbing 12 rebounds. Jason Thompson scored 17 points and added 11 rebounds for a double-double of his own.

The Lakers were led by Jordan Farmar who scored a career high 30 points coming off the bench. The former UCLA star shot 80.0% (8/10) from beyond the 3-point line. His play is why Los Angeles came back in fourth period to win the game.

Marshon Brooks hit for 23 points. Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks each tallied 22 points apiece versus the Kings. The Lakers bench scored 58 points in the game.

The Kings flew home after the game and will face the Minnesota Timberwolves at Sleep Train Arena on Saturday night.

Kings win big in Denver 109-95

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Photo credit: media.corp.yahoo.com

By Charlie O. Mallonee

As the Sacramento Kings prepared to play the Nuggets in Denver, there were a number of questions that needed to be answered. Would DeMarcus Cousins be able to play after tweaking is hip from carrying Kris Humphries on his back during the entire Boston game on Saturday? How would the play in the second game of a back-to-back in the high altitude and thin air of Denver? How would the Nuggets play with only 10 players available? Would any of this prove to be a factor in determining who won the game?

The Kings were able to overcome a four point halftime deficit by scoring 61 points in the second half to down the Nuggets 109-95. The win gave the Kings a two game winning streak and built momentum for Sacramento as they ready themselves for Houston on Tuesday at home.

DeMarcus Cousins was able to start the game and scored 11 points in nine plus minutes of playing time in the first quarter. After some rest on the bench, Cousins added four points in the second quarter for 15 points in the first half. Cousins did not let up in the second half and finished with 27 points while shooting 50% (8/16) from the field.

Rudy Gay posted a double-double for the Kings as he scored 32 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas put up 33 points and added six assist.

The Kings jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, but the Nuggets started using the fast break and pulled up even 27-27 after one quarter of play.

The Nuggets came out strong in the second quarter. After putting an 8-0 run, Denver was able to up its lead to 13 points before the Kings began to work their way back into the game. Sacramento used five rebounds by the newly acquired Reggie Evans and five quick points from Isaiah Thomas to close the scoring gap. At halftime, the Kings had reduced the Nuggets lead to just four points, 52-48.

The one glaring stat from the first half was Sacramento’s 12 turnovers. Coach Michael Malone has been calling on his team to reduce the turnovers and the points off turnovers.

The Kings came out after halftime ready to play. Sacramento went on an early 10-0 run, and it was off to the races. The Kings would go on to outscore the Nuggets 35-18 in the third quarter. It was the play of the big three – Cousins, Gay and Thomas – that was the key to opening the 17 point third quarter lead. Ben McLemore was not scoring but was hustling on defense and contributing to the game.

Denver played better ball in the fourth quarter as the Kings second unit saw more action, but it was too little, too late. The Nuggets outscored the Kings 25-22 in the fourth to make the final score Sacramento 109 Denver 95.

In the postgame press conference, Kings Head Coach Michael Malone was obviously happy with his team and with the win. The one point of emphasis on the negative side was the 21 points scored off 21 turnovers. Malone pointed out that his team would have to do better versus Houston on Tuesday in Sacramento.

Kings fight off the Celtics 105-98

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Photo credit: Rocky Widner NBAE/Getty Images

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings defeated the Boston Celtics 105-98 Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 17,137 at Sleep Train Arena. There were no lead changes in the game and the contest was tied only once. That is not to say it was an easy win for the Kings.

The Celtics came in and played a very physical game and cut the Kings lead to just one point twice in the fourth quarter. After a slow start in the first quarter, Boston did not look like a team who had lost to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. Even after shooting a horrible 34% in the first half, the Celtics would not give up.

The battle of the night was the match up of Kris Humphries and DeMarcus Cousins. Humphries just draped himself over Cousins, and the officials allowed him to do so until late in the game. Cousins scored just 13 points and grabbed just seven rebounds. The Kings center played the entire game in a state of controlled frustration with the lack of calls against Humphries.

Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Kings. Gay scored 22 points in the game after being held scoreless in the first quarter. Isaiah Thomas recorded a double-double scoring 21 points and dishing out 12 assists. But, the two Kings’ stars did not win the game on their own. Seven Kings scored in double figures versus Boston.

Jeff Green and Kris Humphries led the charge for the Celtics. Green led all scorers in the game with his 29 points. Humphries scored 19 shooting 9 for 15 from the field. Jerryd Bayless added 16 points for Boston off the bench.

The Kings shot very well versus the Celtics. Sacramento shot 52.1% (38 for 73) from the field. They shot 55.6% (5 for 9) from beyond the 3-point line. The Kings also helped themselves from the free throw line hitting 85.7% (24 for 28) of their opportunites. They were out rebounded 42-38 and turned the ball over 18 times to just 14 times for Boston.

The Kings played tough on defense as well. The Celtics shot just 39.1% (34 for 87) from the field. They shot just 28.6% (6 for 21) from 3-point land. Boston was a dismal 66.7% (24 for 36) from the free throw line.

“It was a weird game,” said Kings Head Coach Michael Malone. “We were trying to keep our composure out there. Obviously, we benefitted from Gerald Wallace and their coach thrown out at the end. It gave us a couple of extra free throws. It’s a physical game, and we can’t let people get under our skin and get in the way of what we’re trying to do. We defended at a fairly high level for most of the night, but we put them on the foul line way too many times. Once again, there were 18 turnovers for 19 points – that continues to be a problem for us. It was a great game for Isaiah Thomas – he tied his career high assists and only had four turnovers. We’ll take the win but we have to get a lot better.”

It was the new look Kings that won the game on Saturday night. Ben McLemore played 27 minutes and scored 11 points while shooting 44.4% from the field. Derrick Williams and Carl Landry each scored 10 points in their 24 minutes of playing time. Ray McCallum played 11 minutes as the second unit point guard. Expect to see more of the same over the next 27 games.

Newcomer Reggie Evans was on the bench but did not see any action.

Rajon Rondo was not with the Celtics in Sacramento. The team reported Rondo needed rest.

The Kings have no time to savor their victory. The have to play the second game of a back-to-back on Sunday afternoon in Denver  the against the Nuggets.

Lee, Warriors roll past Kings

By Joe Hawkes

SACRAMENTO — With the All-Star break a thing of the past, the stretch run towards the playoffs has officially begun.

The Golden State Warriors know that very well.

With center Andrew Bogut sitting out his fifth-straight game with a left shoulder injury, the Warriors needed a late Andre Iguodala three-point play to cruise to a 101-92 victory over the Kings Wednesday night at Sleep Train Arena.

Golden State (32-22), had five players score in double figures, led by David Lee’s 23 points and 11 rebounds. Lee recorded his 17th 20 point/10 rebound game of the season. Klay Thompson (18 points) and Stephen Curry (13 points,) combined to shoot 11-for-28 from the field (2-for-7 from 3-point range).

Iguodala finished with 13 points, Draymond Green scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Jordan Crawford got the bench really rolling with 10 points in nine minutes in the first quarter.

The telling part of the game was how the Warriors passed the ball tremendously with 26 assists and only seven turnovers. Those numbers were instrumental in Golden State holding a 52-5 edge on fast break points. Curry finished with a team-high eight assists.

Isaiah Thomas had 26 points and seven assists, Travis Outlaw finished with 18 points off the bench, and Rudy Gay scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds (four offensive) for Sacramento (18-35), who played without star center DeMarcus Cousins who sat out with a left hip flexor he injured in the Kings’ final game before the All-Star break.

Quincy Acy pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds.

Sacramento erased a 15-point deficit before taking their first lead in the third quarter at 76-75 behind Thomas’s 12 points in the quarter, but Sacramento couldn’t stop Lee and the Warriors in the fourth quarter, with the Warriors out-scoring the Kings 26-16.

As the 3:00 p.m. EST trade deadline looms, both the Warriors and Kings pulled off trades, but the Warriors trade was the biggest to boot.

Sacramento shipped swingman Marcus Thornton to Brooklyn for veteran shooting guard Jason Terry and power forward Reggie Evans early Wednesday, while Golden State waved good-bye to Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks and acquired reliable point guard Steve Blake from the Los Angeles Lakers just before tip-off.

Golden State used their $4 million trade exception that the team received from Denver in the Iguodala deal last summer to absorb Blake’s remaining $4 million salary in the final year of his deal to complete the trade, according to Associated Press. The Warriors are hoping that the acquisition of Blake and Jordan Crawford earlier in the season from Boston, will allow the team to pull back on both Curry and Thompson’s minutes.

In 27 starts for the Lakers, Blake 9.5 points and a career-high 7.6 assists a game this season. Clearly the addition of Blake strengthens the bench, which has clearly been one of the weakest in the league this season.

It’s unclear if Blake will suit up Thursday night when the Warriors play host to the visiting Houston Rockets, who destroyed the Lakers 134-108 at Staples Center Wednesday night.

With the win over Sacramento, Golden State improves to 3-0 over the Kings this season.

Conley checkmates Kings

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

By Pearl Allison Lo

The Memphis Grizzlies, who were on a four game winning streak heading into their last matchup versus Sacramento are on another one now, as Mike Conley led again in a 99-89 win over the Kings.

With their victory, the Grizzlies matched the sizzling Thunder for best record in the NBA the last 10 games, at 9-1.

Since the Kings and Memphis last met January 17, Sacramento has only won one game in the now seven games since and the Grizzlies have only lost once in the now six games since.

Conley led with 27 points and 10 assists. The last time Conley scored 20+ points was in the teams’ last meeting, where he scored 25 and led the game as well .

Two of Sacramento’s three missing starters returned and were the leading scorers with 20+ points, but they were the only ones who achieved double digits.

Rudy Gay returned to the lineup from an Achilles strain and produced 23 points on 10 of 16 shooting. Isaiah Thomas looked recovered as well, as he was the top scorer with 24 points on 10 of 21 shooting and four three-pointers.

In the first quarter, Conley had five of his assists while Thomas scored 10 of his team’s first 14 points, along with one assist.

The Kings’ last lead came with 5:58 left to go in the third. There were about eight ties and nine lead changes until then. Sacramento missed eight baskets and had four turnovers while the Grizzlies ended the quarter on a 10-2 run.

During a 30 point fourth for Memphis, Sacramento pulled to within three with a 9-2 run to make it 84-81 with 4:33 to go, but the Grizzlies “stole” the game for good with a 15-8 finishing run while four different players took the ball away from the Kings. Conley scored seven during that stretch and Tayshaun Prince scored six.

Game notes: The Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph had four steals and seven rebounds to go along with 18 points. Conley was 9 for 9 from the free throw line. Sacramento ends January Friday at 5:30 pm, facing the Dallas Mavericks.

Kings lose to Pacers 116-111 in OT

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Photo credit: Rocky Widner NBAE/Getty Images

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings faced an almost impossible task on Friday night. They needed to beat the Indiana Pacers without DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay in the lineup. The Kings came out and played hard, played physical and left it all on the court, but in the end, Sacramento came up short 116-111 in overtime.

After the game Kings Head Coach Michael Malone had one simple statement to make about his team, “I’m very proud.”

The Kings backcourt of Marcus Thornton and Isaiah Thomas combined for 80 points. Thornton scored a career high 42 points. Thomas poured in 38 points. They were the only two Kings to score in double figures.

The Pacers starting five all scored in double figures and were led by Paul George with 36 points. Lance Stephenson put up 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to record a double-double. David West added 22 points while Roy Hibbert and George Hill scored 10 points each. Hibbert grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double of his own.

The Kings came roaring out the gate scoring 37 points in the first quarter while holding the Pacers to just 26. Sacramento shot 55.6% from the field and hit for five 3-pointers in the period. Marcus Thornton tallied 22 points for the Kings hitting for four from beyond the 3-point arc.

The Kings cooled off in the second quarter scoring just 23 points and shooting just 36.8%, but they held the Pacers to just 24 points. Sacramento played well enough to take a 60-50 lead with them into the locker room at halftime.

The Pacers came out in the third quarter looking determined to put an end to the Kings run and put this game away. Indiana outscored the Kings 29-24. Sacramento maintained an 84-79 lead at the end of the third despite shooting just 8 for 26 (30.8%) from the field. Again, it was Thornton and Thomas combining for 20 points that kept the Kings in the lead.

The Kings really struggled in the fourth quarter as fatigue began to set in. Sacramento scored just 19 points in period led by Marcus Thornton with 12. The Kings shot just 6 for 22 (27.3%) in the fourth. The Pacers shot 9 for 22 (40.9%) and outscore the Kings 24-19.

The back-breaker in the fourth quarter came with 15.1 seconds left in regulation. Paul George put up a 26 foot jumper that was good for three and was fouled. George hit the free throw to make it a four point play and tied the game at 103. The Kings were unable to score and it was off to overtime.

In overtime, there were three lead changes and the Pacers led by as many as five points. The Pacers outscored the Kings 13-8 led by Paul George’s eight points. At the buzzer, it was the Pacers on top 116-111.

“Our guys came out and played their hearts out and they put themselves in a position to win the game. It was a game we should’ve won. I couldn’t be more proud of everyone who played tonight – this shows you a lot about our team,” said Coach Malone.

After being asked if his goal was to come out and take shots, Marcus Thornton said, “Yeah, when you have 43 points sitting on the sideline between Rudy (Gay) and (DeMarcus Cousins) Cuz, somebody had to step up. I took it upon myself to be that guy. It was a great team effort by the whole team.”

Indiana Head Coach Frank Vogel said, “You have to give Sacramento credit for playing a terrific, terrific basketball game. We knew they would be up. We knew they would be loose with their two top scorers out and they were.”

The Kings record falls to 15-27 overall (2-2 in overtime). They are 9-14 at home. It was the 12th straight home game in which the Kings scored at least 100 points this season.

The Pacers record improves to 34-8 (2-0 in overtime). Indiana is now 13-7 on the road. The Pacers have won six of their last seven games.

The Kings will be back in action on Sunday night versus the Denver Nuggets at Sleep Train Arena.

Kings lose in OKC 108-93

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Photo credit: Layne Murdoch

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Kevin Durant scored 30 points and Serge Ibaka added 20 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder downed the Sacramento Kings 108-93 on Sunday night. The Kings kept the game close in the first half, but the Thunder dominated the second half on the way to their 31st win of the season.

The Kings were led by Isaiah Thomas who scored a career high 38 points on just 18 shots while dishing out 6 assist. Thomas scored on both dribble drives to the basket and on long field goals. He was 4 for 8 shooting 3-pointers.

DeMarcus Cousins posted another double-double. He scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Rudy Gay scored just six points in the contest. Gay was ejected from the game in the fourth quarter when he picked up two technical fouls for arguing with a referee.

There was positive news for the Kings on Sunday. Carl Landry, who had been sidelined for the entire season with left hip flexor muscle tear, saw his first live game action. Landry played eight minutes scoring six points and pulling down four rebounds. The Kings have needed another player who can play the post and that is Landry’s specialty. Expect to see more of him in New Orleans and Houston.

After the game, Kings Head Coach Michael Malone analyzed his teams’ play versus the Thunder. He felt the Kings committed too many turnovers (21). Oklahoma City scored 34 points off those turnovers. “We have to do a better job of valuing the basketball,” said Malone.

Malone mentioned how happy he was for Isaiah Thomas having such an outstanding game. “Isaiah got us off to a great start,” he said.

Coach Malone also said, “We’ll bounce back. We will now focus on New Orleans.” The Kings play the Pelicans on Tuesday in the “Big Easy”.

Malone told Landry to wear a uniform on Sunday. Malone seemed pleased to have another weapon on offense to throw at opposing teams.

Jimmer Fredette played only eight minutes versus the Thunder. Malone pointed out, “Jimmer did not see many minutes because Isaiah (Thomas) was hot!”

Kings destroy Cavs 124-80

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Photo credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings did something on Sunday that they had not done since December 2012. The Kings won their third game in a row by blowing out the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-80 at Sleep Train Arena. The victory gave Sacramento a 3-2 record on their five game home-stand.

The Kings were led by Isaiah Thomas with 26 points, six assists and 2 steals. After scoring just nine points on Friday against the Magic, Thomas hit the floor on Sunday looking like a man with something to prove. He proved that he is one the best shooting point guards in the association.

Rudy Gay also had a big night. He scored 20 points on just 12 shots. Gay also was three for five for 3-pointers.

DeMarcus Cousins posted another double-double putting up 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

The Kings second unit had another strong game. Derrick Williams and Jimmer Fredette scored 13 points each. Ben McLemore added nine points, Travis Outlaw six and Quincy Acy scored five points. The bench scored 49 points total for the Kings.

The Kings had their strongest defensive showing of the year versus Cleveland. After allowing the Cavs to score 32 points in the first quarter, the Kings held them to 18 points in the second, 11 points in the third and 19 points in the fourth quarter. Sacramento outscored Cleveland 65-30 in the second half.

Kings Head Coach Michael Malone was very pleased with his team’s defensive effort. Malone feels his club has bought into the defensive scheme that they need to win in the NBA. “I am happy with the defense.”

Malone also pointed out his team’s rebounding domination against the Cavaliers. The Kings out-rebounded the Cavs 50-32. Malone was especially happy with the rebounding effort of Jason Thompson who recorded 16 rebounds in the game.

After the game Isaiah Thomas said, “We’ve got the momentum for the road trip. If we keep this going, we can be very successful.

The Kings do have their work cut out for them as they must head out on a six game road that begins Tuesday in Indiana versus the very tough Pacers. Sacramento will also play in Minnesota, Memphis, Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Houston on the trip. Winning two out of six and playing great defense would be a very good goal for the Kings.

Coach Malone pointed out that his team cannot be satisfied with winning three in a row. He wants the Kings to play defense on the road.

For now, the Kings can travel to Indiana knowing they have just completed their best home-stand of the season.

Charlotte Hands the Kings a 113-103 Loss

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Photo credit: Rocky Widner NBAE/Getty Images

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Charlotte Bobcats came into Sacramento on Saturday night having lost five games in a row. The Kings game into the game looking for redemption after the disappointing loss to the Sixers on Thursday night. Both teams saw each other as being a beatable team.

The Bobcats were more motivated than the Kings and left Sacramento with a win 113-103.

The Bobcats were led by point guard Kemba Walker with 30 points. Walker was 12 for 19 from the field and four of six on 3-point attempts. He also dished out six assists and pulled down four rebounds.

Center Al Jefferson also had a big night for Charlotte. He poured in 27 points, grabbed nine rebounds, had two assists and two steals. Gerald Henderson hit for 16 points, Ramon Sessions scored 12 off the bench while Chris Douglas-Roberts added 10.

The Kings finished with some strong performances of their own. Cousins posted his 20th double-double of the season scoring 26 while grabbing 11 rebounds. Rudy Gay had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Jason Thompson recorded a double-double putting up 15 points and being credited with 14 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas added 21 points and eight assists.

The problem for the Kings was another slow starting first half. The Bobcats shot 64.3% (27-42) from the field while hitting on five of seven (71.4%) from beyond the 3-point line. Charlotte scored 65 points in the first half. It’s going to be a long night when you give up 32 points in the first and 33 points in the second quarter to your opponents. The Kings trailed 65-52 at the intermission.

The Kings played better basketball in the second half. The defense stepped up and stopped giving up easy shots. Sacramento started moving the ball and attacking the rim. The problem was even with the improved effort the Kings were unable to take back the lead from Charlotte. The Kings cut the lead to three with 8:02 left to play in the game, but the Bobcats roared back to open up a lead of 12 points with 1:02 to go. The Kings had to expel so much effort trying to get back into the game that they were never able to put themselves in a position to win.

After the game, a disappointed Kings Head Coach Michael Malone spoke about his team’s lack of defense in the first half. Allowing Charlotte to score 65 first half points obviously frustrated him. He said that at some point his team needs to become “embarrassed” about being 29th in multiple defensive categories. Malone feels there will be no significant change until they do.

Malone also pointed out that his team lost two winnable games versus Philadelphia and Charlotte. After playing at such a high level against San Antonio and Houston, the poor effort put forward in the Sixers and Bobcats games is very disappointing.

Things do not get easier for the Kings as they must prepare to play the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday. The Blazers downed the Bobcats 134-104 Thursday. Portland lost to the Sixers 101-99 on Saturday. The Kings need to anticipate facing an angry Blazers team that is looking to revenge a loss to a team they should have beaten.

Kings Lose Heartbreaker in San Antonio

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Photo Credit: D. Clarke Evans

By Charlie O. Mallonee

If effort counted, the Kings would have defeated the Spurs on Sunday night in San Antonio. Unfortunately, effort counts but point totals decide the winner, and the Spurs outscored the Kings 112-104 to win the contest.

This game was the first of a “Texas Two Step” road trip that takes the Kings to San Antonio and to Houston to end the 2013 portion of the season. The toughest game of the trip was going to be the battle with the Spurs.

The Kings came out strong in the first quarter. Rather than falling 12-15 points down as has been the pattern, Sacramento stayed even with San Antonio. DeMarcus Cousins came out strong and put up 10 points in the first period. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker scored nine points each. When the Kings second unit took the floor, the Spurs were able to open up a small lead and end the quarter leading Sacramento 27-23.

The Kings second unit stayed on the floor to open up the second quarter and proved to be no match for the Spurs’ strong bench players. The Spurs quickly opened up a 15 point lead as the Kings tried to live on outside, low percentage shots that were not falling. Sacramento also hurt themselves at the free throw line hitting just 60.0% of their shots. The Kings starters came back on the floor and cut the Spurs lead to seven. The teams went to the locker rooms with San Antonio leading the Kings 57-49.

The Kings came out hot to start the third quarter. Big baskets by Cousins, Gay, Thomas and McLemore helped them to cut the Spurs lead to three points. Sacramento continued to hustle, take high percentage shots and took the lead with 5:28 to go in the period 69-67. Isaiah Thomas led the effort scoring 15 points in the quarter. With the Sacramento starters playing almost the entire time, the Kings scored 38 points in the third. That is the most points given up by the Spurs in one quarter this season. After three quarters, the Kings led the Spurs 87-81.

The Sacramento second unit started the fourth quarter. They began to attempt low percentage shots and were giving up points on defense. The San Antonio bench led by the incredible Manu Ginobili pulled the Spurs back into the game and cut the Kings lead to three. With 2:45 to play, Tim Duncan completed a three point play by hitting the free throw, and the Spurs took the lead 105-102. The Kings were not able to get decent open shots and were unable to score. Tony Parker hit a killer 3-pointer with 50.0 seconds to go to up the Spurs lead to 108-102. The Spurs would score four additional points to make the final score 112-104 in favor of San Antonio.

The difference in the game was the bench play of the Spurs. Ginobili scored 28 points off the bench while Boris Diaw scored 14. San Antonio’s bench never allowed the game to run away from them. When the Sacramento bench was on the floor, the team went backwards. That is the difference between an upper echelon team and a rebuilding team.

The Kings had some outstanding performances in the game. DeMarcus Cousins posted his 17th double-double scoring 29 points and gathering in 14 rebounds. After scoring just five points in the first half, Isaiah Thomas finished with 27. Rudy Gay recorded 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds. The big three did their job in the game. The Kings bench scored just 12 points and played poor defense. That is where the game was lost.

The Kings have Monday off and then they face another tough opponent on Tuesday in the Houston Rockets. It will take another strong effort by the starters if they are to defeat the Rockets in their own house.