Knicks sneak past the Kings 103-100

by Charlie O. Mallonee

New York Knicks v Sacramento Kings
Cousins shoots against the Knicks photo: NBA.com

Sacramento – The Kings trailed the New York Knicks 103-100 with 2.6-seconds remaining in the game. New York had to inbound the ball in the frontcourt after calling a timeout. The inbound pass came to Carmelo Anthony who was immediately fouled by Rudy Gay before any time could come off the clock. The only problem with the plan was the fact that Anthony was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line in game up to that point.

Incredibly, Anthony stepped up to the line and promptly missed the first first free throw and the sellout crowd began to buzz. Anthony shot the second free throw and unbelievably missed again.

DeMarcus Cousins grabbed the rebound and ran as close to midcourt as he dared. The giant of a man then heaved a what was estimated to be a 52-foot desperation shot at his basket that hit the rim and then rolled out. For a few micro-seconds the thousands of Kings fans in attendance thought they were going to witness a miracle, then reality hit and the big crowd began to exit the Golden 1 Center knowing their team had lost the game.

Each team was missing a key player in the game

The Kings played the game without Matt Barnes who was held out of the game for what was called “rest”. Barnes of course has been at the center of a controversial story about a fight that allegedly took place in a New York City night club early last Monday morning. Rumors have been swirling that Barnes would be arrested by NYPD for his involvement in the incident. Barnes has also been named in a lawsuit that has been filed by two of the alleged victims of the brawl.

In his postgame press conference, Kings head coach Dave Joerger indicated that he believed Barnes would be available to play against the Jazz in Utah on Saturday night. Barnes was on the bench in street clothes for the game Friday night.

The Knicks were without Derrick Rose who is suffering from lower back pain. Rose had to miss the game on Wednesday night in New York City versus the Cavaliers due to the same problem.

NYK head coach Jeff Hornacek said before the game he was hopeful Rose would be available for the game on Sunday when his team faces the Lakers in Los Angeles.

Sacramento struggles shooting again against the Knicks

The Kings (8-13) shot much better in the first half against the Knicks on Friday night than did last Sunday in the Garden when they shot under 30-percent. However, the Kings shot under 40-percent in both the third and fourth quarters of this game which helped lead to their demise.

Sacramento shot 40.2-percent (35-for-87) from the floor and were a dismal 7-of-28 (25-percent) from 3-point range. The Kings went 23-for-27 (85.2-percent) from the free throw line.

Cousins led the way for the Kings

  • Cousins scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to post the double-double. He also struggled shooting going 9-for-25 from the field and 0-for-6 for 3-point opportunities. Cousins did dish out six assists in the contest
  • Darren Collison had a strong game against the Knicks. He scored 14 points shooting 5-for-11 in the game. He also had three assists and two steals
  • Rudy Gay recorded 15 points, five rebounds and a steal. He also had a tough night shooting going 4-for-15 from the floor and 0-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line
  • Omri Casspi keeps taking advantage of every playing opportunity he is given by Dave Joerger. Casspi put 12 points up on the board hitting 4-of-5 shots from the floor including one 3-pointer. He was a perfect 3-for-3 from the charity stripe and he had two steals in the game
  • Ben McLemore started his second consecutive game and scored 10 points. He hit 2-of-2 from long range
  • Other Kings scorers: Anthony Tolliver 10, Garrett Temple 5, Kosta Koufos 4, Ty Lawson 4
New York Knicks v Sacramento Kings
Rudy Gay drives on the basket against the Knicks photo: NBA.com

Kings Dave Joerger on problems at the end of quarters in the game

“That was definitely a good basketball game. A couple of things came back and bit us. We gave up eight points at the end of the first, second and third quarter on last possession plays. In a close game, those things add up. We struggled to struggled to score the basketball tonight. We turned them over 17 times and scored 25 points off of that but outside of that we just didn’t make a lot of shots. Especially from the perimeter, we did not gain a lot of shots from the perimeter so it may jam up the paint on us. Good basketball game.”

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Dave Joerger faces the press photo: SRS.com

Surprising stat of the night

The Kings are not a team that is outrebounded by their opponents on a regular basis. If the other team does record more rebounds, the difference is usually not dramatic.

On Friday night, the Knicks outrebounded the Kings 54-39. Kings head Dave Joerger felt their length and the fact the Kings played “small” much of the game is what allowed New York to establish such a margin.

NYK did not have a great shooting night but lived in “Melo’s” world

The Knicks shot just 42.9-percent (36-for-84) on Friday against the Kings. They shot slightly better from long range hitting on 10-of-29 (34.5-percent) of their 3-point shots.

New York (13-10) rode the hot hand of Carmelo Anthony in the first half and then relied on efforts of Kristaps Porzingis and their bench in the second half.

  • Melo put 33 points in the book on Friday night. He shot 9-for-22 from field, 3-for-10 from long distance and was an impressive 10-of-12 from the free throw line. Anthony scored 23 points in the first half
  • Porzingis scored 17 after shooting a pitiful 1-for-9 in the first half. He did wind up with a double-double by hauling in 10 rebounds
  • Brandon Jennings did a nice job filling in for Rose on the point scoring 13 points and distributing seven assists
  • Kyle O’Quinn had a nice game off the bench for the Knicks scoring eight points, pulling down 11 rebounds, dishing five assists and blocking two shots in 20-minutes of playing time
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Melo fires away versus the Kings photo: NBA.com

Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek had nothing but praise but praise for Carmelo

“He had a great game. When he’s scoring, he’s getting the ball in a good position from our guys where he can drive it. We put him in some trouble later on in the game, giving him the with like four seconds to go, not a good thing to do. We talked about having to get to the offense a little bit quicker. Late in the game, we kind of walked to our spots. Carmelo, when we go to him, he can pump fake, he can drive, he’s making passes. He’s playing an all-around game, like a star does.”

Up next for the teams

The Kings go right back into action on Saturday night as they play the back end of a back-to-back set on the road in Utah against the Jazz.

The Knicks are off until Sunday when they will play game two of their five-game road trip in Los Angeles versus the Lakers.

Kings news & notes Monday 11-28-16

by Charlie O. Mallonee

webber

Cousins passes Webber on the scoring list

DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 37 points in win over the Nets on Sunday night. Those 37 points allowed Cousins to pass Chris Webber for third on the all-time Sacramento Kings scoring list.

Cousins now has 8847 career points for Sacramento. Webber accumulated 8843 points during his six-plus years with Sacramento.

Peja Stojakovic is currently in second-place with 9498 points and the great Mitch Richmond holds down the number one spot with 12,070 points. The all-time franchise (Royals/Kings) points leader is Hall of Famer Oscar Robinson.

Based on his current scoring projections, Cousins could pass Stojakovic for second-place on the scoring list later this season.

It was a night of technical fouls plus a flagrant two ejection

DeMarcus Cousins picked up his fifth technical foul in the third quarter of the game for contact with Luis Scola’s face. It was incorrectly reported as his fourth technical foul in last night’s story. Cousins is now tied for the league lead in that category with DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers.

The Kings Kosta Koufos was charged with a technical foul in the fourth quarter for arguing with the officials. Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson picked up a “T” in the fourth out of frustration with the officials and his team. Nets guard Randy Foye was also a recipient of a technical late in the final period.

Matt Barnes received his flagrant two foul (which was a flagrant one all the way) and ejection from the officiating crew on Sunday night in Brooklyn.

Four technicals and a flagrant two ejection begins to sound like an officiating crew that might have lost control of a game. This would be a good game for the chief of officials to review.

The Kings went back to the big starting lineup on Sunday in Brooklyn

After using the the “small ball” starting lineup for the past three games, Sacramento head coach Dave Joerger went back to the “big lineup” versus the big Nets. That means Koufos started at center, Cousins slid back to power forward, Rudy Gay played the three, Arron Afflalo was at shooting guard and Darren Collison started as the Kings point guard.

Three Kings return to Reno

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Center Georgios Papagiannis, Forward Skal Labissiere and Guard Malachi Richardson ended few days with the parent club and returned to the D-League on Sunday. The Bighorns hosted the Warriors D-League entry the Santa Cruz Warriors.

The Bighorns used a runaway second quarter to establish a solid lead over Santa Cruz and won their second game of the season 100-84.

Malachi Richardson led the Bighorns scoring attack with 24 points and made it a double-double with 11 rebounds. He shot 8-for-18 from the floor, 3-for-6 from 3-point range and hit 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

Skal Labissiere recorded 18 points and grabbed four rebounds. He went 6-for-11 shooting from the field and was 6-for-8 from foul line.

Papagiannis did not play which was listed as a coach’s decision. Kings head coach Dave Joerger had told us that having all three players in a game really limited the number of touches each player received and they want to maximize that number to speed up player development.

The Bighorns will host the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston) on Thursday.

Don’t let this guy get to close to you on the court in D.C.

For entertainment purposes only

FiveThirtyEight.com says the Wizards have a 68-percent chance of beating the Kings tonight in Washington (remember: this is the second game of a back-to-back set on the road). FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO system predicts the Wizards are the favorites minus 4.5 points.

CARMELO also predicts the Wizards will finish with a record of 34-48 and have a 31-percent chance of making the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

The fellows who make those predictions for the owners of those big resorts say go with the Wizards minus 4.5 points. They call the over/under as 210 to 210.5.

Looking ahead to game six of the road trip in Dallas

dallas-dirk

As reported by HoopsHype via Dallas Morning News on the Dirk Nowitzki injury: He’s only played five of 16 games. “We have every expectation that it’s not serious,” owner Mark Cuban said. “It’s dramatically better. That’s why he played the other night (in Cleveland). He just felt it again, so there’s no reason to take a chance. We’re just being cautious.” Said Carlisle: “The important thing is that we’re doing the right things to get him to a full recovery. He’s come a long way in a four-plus week period. But it’s an Achilles strain and it’s taking time. My hope is that it can be complete sometime in December, sooner than later. But we just got to be patient with it. He’s too important to us. If we have to play without him, we’ll play without him.”

Kings-Raptors postgame notes page 2

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Toronto Raptors v Sacramento Kings
Rudy Gay jams home the final Kings points of the game on Sunday night Photo: Rocky Widner NBAE

NBA Crew Chief Mike Callahan answers questions on the last 2.4-seconds of the Kings vs Raptors game

Dave Joerger said no small lineup and then said yes

In his pregame press conference, Kings head coach Dave Joerger said he was not sure that a “small ball” lineup was going to happen against the Raptors. Joerger indicated he was really upset after the game on Friday and may have spoken to quickly.

Then … we were waiting for the starting lineups to be announced. They are usually brought to the press tables approximately 20 minutes before the start of the game. We were still waiting for the lineups when the National Anthem was performed.

Just before the player introductions, we received the official starters sheet. Coach Joerger decided to go small. Cousins slid into the number five slot while Gay and Matt Barnes took over the forward positions. Joerger went with twin point guards – Ty Lawson and Darren Collison to start the contest.

The small lineup played fast but was not able to overcome the four to five point lead the Raptors had established. At the 6:23 mark, Joerger switched things up and inserted center Kosta Koufos for Lawson.

The Kings responded to the new configuration and tied the score. Then, the “2 bigs” unit started establishing a lead that grew as large as 10 points. At the end of the first period, Sacramento was up 36-28.

The Kings had a tough second quarter without Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins picked up two personal fouls in the first quarter which was obviously part of the Raptors plan to neutralize the Kings star center. With 8:54 to go in the second, Joerger felt like he had to get Cousins back on the floor. At 8:34 on the clock, Cousins was headed back to the bench having picked up his third personal foul.

Willie Cauley-Stein came into the game for Cousins and the second-year center went to school. He had the task of trying to defend Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas. At seven feet and a solid 265 pounds, the very experienced Valanciunas was just too much for Cauley-Stein to handle by himself.The Toronto center scored six points, grabbed two rebounds and blocked a shot during Cauley-Stein’s time on the floor.

Kosta Koufos reentered the game and was able to slow down Valanciunas while Rudy Gay and Arron Afflalo went to work scoring points. The Kings were able to cut the Toronto lead to five – 63 to 58 – at the half.

Toronto Raptors v Sacramento Kings
Jonas Valanciunas Photo Rocky Widner NBAE

Kings got small again in the third quarter

Dave Joerger returned to his “small” starting lineup to start the third period. The small Kings kept the game with five points but were unable to cut into the Raptors lead.

At 7:17, the Kings returned to the “2 bigs” lineup when Koufous subbed back into the game. The presence of Cousins and Koufos made Toronto’s Valanciunas much less effective.

Sacramento – led by a quick five points from Matt Barnes – began to score points. First, they tied the score. Then, Cousins converted a layup and the Kings took the lead. Sacramento scored the final four points of the quarter. At the end of three quarters, the Kings held the lead 86-81.

The fourth quarter lacked execution

Both teams shot just 25-percent from the floor in the final period. Toronto scored 18 points and the Kings 16 points in the quarter. Rudy Gay had the hot hand for the Kings shooting 3-for-5 and scoring seven points including the crucial final two points of the game for Sacramento.

Kyle Lowry tried to will the Raptors back into the game single handedly. He scored nine points, hauled in five defensive rebounds and dished out two assists in the final 12-minutes.

Toronto committed seven turnovers that created seven points for the Kings while Sacramento turned the ball over just three times which yielded three points for the Raptors.

Each team had four starters with 30 or more minutes of playing time in the game.

Joerger went deep into the bench

After having played a shorter rotation in several games, the Kings  used 11 players against the Raptors. Only Omri Casspi and Gerorgios Papagiannis did not play. Coach Joerger was very proud of his team and their effort.

A little rest and some practice time

The Kings will get some time to rest and get in some practice as they will not play again until Wednesday night when they will host the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder will be playing the second game of a back-to-back set after facing the Lakers on Tuesday night in LA.

 

 

 

A battle royal in Portland:Kings lose to Trail Blazers 122-120 in OT

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Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer, AP Photo

by Charlie O. Mallonee

We spit on your statistics about back-to-back games in the NBA

The statisticians, experts, journalists and oddsmakers all had written off the Sacramento Kings as having any chance to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night in the Rose City:

  • The Kings had suffered a devastating loss to the Lakers 101-91 on Thursday night in Sacramento
  •  The game in Portland was the back end of a back-to-back home/road set with the average chances to win the game at 37.3-percent historically
  • The Trail Blazers are seen as a more talented team than the Kings and are expected to make the playoffs and possibly go on to the second round while Sacramento is expected to be in the Draft Lottery … again
  • The game in Portland would be the Kings 11th contest in 17 days and the team needs a break to rest and recoup
  • Sacramento entered the game a 6.5 to 9-point underdog

What no counted on was the Kings forgot to read the script before the game and they came to play. Somehow they survived a first half that ended with the Blazers leading 62-57 and came out ready to to battle in the second half despite all of the odds being against them.

The Kings rode the play of Cousins, Gay, Koufos, Afflalo and Collison in the second half to outscore the Blazers 49-44 to force the game into overtime.

The teams tied the game up five times in the five-minute overtime session. With the Blazers up by two points with 14.3 seconds to play, Cousins missed a 26-foot jump and Rudy Gay missed a 16-foot desperation turnaround fadeaway shot with one-tenth of a second left on the clock. When the horn sounded, Portland had won the game 122-120 but they knew they had been in a battle royal.

Cousins was a different player on Friday night

Cousins put his inconsistent Thursday night performance behind him to lead the Kings in scoring with 33 points to go with nine rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and one steal. Cousins did all of this after being assessed a technical foul in the first quarter for exchanging shoves with Meyers Leonard. Cousins knew his limitations and worked with them of Friday night.

Rudy Gay is proving to everyone that he is worth the new NBA pay scale

Gay may have given notice that he plans to opt out of the last year of his contract with the Kings but he is not playing like a man who does not care. In fact, it is just the opposite. Rudy Gay is giving it his all on the court every night and not in a selfish way.

Against Portland, he posted a double-double scoring 29 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Gay also added three assists, two steals and one block. He shot 50-percent from the floor (9-for-18) including going 2-for-4 from 3-point range. Gay went 9-for-10 from the free throw line.

If Vivek Ranadive and Vlade Divac are serious about building a contender, they need to get out the checkbook and get ready to start participating in the bidding war for one Rudy Gay.

Has there been a changing of the guard?

The man on the point who made it happen on Friday night for the Kings was Darren Collison. Collison played almost 40 minutes scoring 20 points while dishing out four assists and hauling in five rebounds.

The Kings starting point guard Ty Lawson played just 15 minutes and had four assists. That is not to imply Lawson has become obsolete but most observers felt that Collison would establish himself as the number one point guard at sometime after his return. It appears Collison decided he would declare himself number one a little sooner than anyone expected.

Ty Lawson will not be going anywhere. He still has a very vital role to play for this Kings team. Look to see more sets with Lawson and Collison on the floor together in a “small ball line up”.

Head Coach Dave Joerger’s thoughts on the game

  • Our team played hard
  • We were playing on fumes – 11 games in 17 days
  • Turnovers were catastrophic – 15 that resulted in 25 Trail Blazer points
  • Portland’s guards were fantastic – starters Lillard and McCollum combined for 67 points
  • Rudy (Gay) and Cuz (Cousins) gave their all on the court at all times in the game
  • It was a fun basketball game
  • Our group is resilient – they can take a punch – they don’t go away
  • He’s (Cousins) engaged – he’s all in

What’s coming up for the Kings

Thankfully for the Kings after the brutal 11 games in 17 days schedule they have four days off. There will be some practice/shoot-arounds, but they will also be lots of rest on the agenda.

The Kings next game will be on Wednesday night at the Golden 1 Center when the San Antonio Spurs come back to town. The Kings will have four more home games before heading back out on the road.

Hello Biggest Little City in the World

Three of the Kings rookie players have been assigned to the Reno Bighorns of the NBA D-League. Skal Labissiere, Georgios Papagiannis and Malachi Richardson will be playing with the Bighorns.

The fact is these young players would not be seeing any significant playing time in Sacramento. The second fact is they need significant playing time to prepare for the NBA. The solution is to play significant minutes in the D-League.

Do not expect to see the players move from Reno to Sacramento often unless they are needed to cover a roster spot because of an injury to an active player.

We will keep you up to date on their progress in the D-League on a weekly basis.

 

Curry’s first double double leads to Kings’ win in Phoenix

by Michael Martinez

picture credit Robin Hagy Photography

SACRAMENTO- It all came down to free throws at the end of the game. Fortunately, the end of the game was not constantly fouling the Kings, who gave up a 15 point lead they had early in the fourth quarter.

The Kings even had a seven point lead within a minute to play, but the Suns never quit. Phoenix would cut the lead down to two with 21 seconds left in regulation. Ben McLemore got to the line where he missed both free throws and gave the Suns some hope to tie it up. Luckily, rookie sensation Devin Booker missed a jumper and James Anderson got the rebound and got to the line. Anderson made them both to put the Kings up by four. After a couple of free throws by Quincy Acy to maintain their four point lead with three seconds to go. The Kings picked up win number 33, 105-101.

Without DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo, Seth Curry and Kosta Koufos stepped up in a huge way. Curry got his first career double double in the ball game with 20 points and 15 assists. Curry made some outstanding passes as he drove to the hoop and broke down the defense. On 8-14 from the field and 3-6 from beyond the arc, Curry continues to be an effective scorer. One of those threes he juked his defender, made a spin move and knocked down the shot. Curry is solidifying himself with his recent play and the Kings’ decision to sign him has paid off. Hopefully he will continue to develop and make an impact for this team who might not retain Rondo after this offseason.

As DMC sat out, the Kings lost his 26.9 points per game but Koufos did a good job on the offensive end with 19 points and eight boards. Gay chipped in 15 points and although McLemore missed two late free throws, he added 14 points of his own.

The Kings turned the ball over 19 times, which led to 27 points for the Suns. Phoenix also out rebounded Sacramento, 51-40. Phoenix grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and they scored 17 second chance points. Their turnovers and a bit lack of size almost cost Sacramento the game, but the Kings shooting 49.3% led to their victory.

Sacramento will finish their season on the road in Houston against the Rockets. Cousins will once again not play, so expect Koufos to get playing time once again. And whether or not Rondo plays, Curry must get more minutes in the season finale to to see his development as he continues to set career highs.

Kings forget how to box out in loss at home

by Michael Martinez

picture credit Luke Cheng/Getty Images

SACRAMENTO- The Kings were down five players tonight. Omri Casspi and Marco Belinelli were out because of injury while Rudy Gay, Kosta Kofous and Darren Collison sat on the sideline just to rest. This might have played a factor in the loss tonight as Sacramento was out hustled and out rebounded.

The Kings’ biggest fault in tonight’s game was giving up offensive rebounds and way too many second chance opportunities. Portland score 26 second chance points and had 19 offensive rebounds. Somehow, the Kings lost while shooting over 50% in the game.

DeMarcus Cousins started off the game and dominated with 18 first half points. Cousins finished the game with 30 points to tie Mitch Richmond for the most 30 point games in a season with 26.

Rajon Rondo had a huge night himself with his sixth triple double of the season to set the all time Sacramento record. Rondo recorded a season high 27 points, 12 assists and 10 boards. However, the big nights from the Kings top players was just not enough. Even though the Blazers made less field goals than Sacramento, they made nine more free throws. Portland gave themselves way more opportunities than the Kings to score on the offensive end and yet again Sacramento’s defense was below par.

Not to mention, the Kings turned the ball over 19 times, which led to 24 points in Portland’s favor. As the final buzzer sounded, Portland won 115-107.

The Kings gave a pretty good effort against the playoff bound Blazers and even cut the lead down to one with plenty of time left in the fourth quarter. The Kings got themselves in trouble thanks to a Cousins’ technical foul, his 17 of the season, as well as a tech on Quincy Acy.

On an inbounds pass, Acy pointed from the bench and the ball hit his hand causing interference and a technical.

Portland’s Maurice Harkless played a huge role in the Blazers’ win with a great second half. Harkless scored all of his 20 points in the second half. The Kings were up 57-51 at the half, meaning Harkless half was pivotal to the win. Damian Lilliard added 20 for the game.

CJ McCollum, who was once on the Kings draft radar, had a game high 30 points going 11-20 from the field and 5-10 from behind the arc. McCollum continues to improve and solidify him and Lilliard’s case as one of the best starting backcourts.

Sacramento will take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday at 7 p.m. Minnesota just defeated the Golden State Warriors tonight. The Kings will played their second to last game ever at Sleep Train Arena and hopefully they can get a couple more wins in the historical arena.

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

by Michael Martinez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Without Cousins, Kings drop fourth straight

by Michael Martinez

picture credit Rocky Widner/Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Without DeMarcus Cousins the Kings struggled to find offense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Kings Update: No trades and one assistant fired

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Former Kings assistant coach Vance Walberg

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The NBA trade deadline was Thursday at 12:00 PM (PST). The deadline came and went without the Kings being able to make a move.

There had been multiple reports that the team had made Rudy Gay, Kosta Koufos, Marco Belinelli and Ben McLemore available on the trade market. Cleveland and Chicago had been rumored to be interested in one or more of those players.

One scenario had the Bulls Pau Gasol and his expiring contract coming to Sacramento in exchange for Koufos and McLemore. The deal would have also altered the draft pick provisions of the selection the Kings owe the Bulls.

There had also been rumors that Cleveland was interested in a trade for Koufos.

Ultimately, the Kings were unable to make any trade so the current roster will stay intact. That does not mean the playoff push is over but it does mean that the current players will have to make the adjustments on defense in order to make the team more competitive.

Walberg terminated

In a surprise move, the Kings fired assistant coach Vance Walberg on Wednesday. The move was reportedly made despite a protest from head coach George Karl. Karl and Walberg have been colleagues and friends for years. Walberg was a member of Karl’s coaching staff in Denver.

Walberg is known as the father of the “dribble-drive motion offense” also known as the “Memphis Attack”. The dribble-drive motion offense has been used successfully in the NBA by Denver and at the college level by Kentucky. Walberg has taught the offense in clinics around the world.

George Karl instituted the offensive scheme in order to meet the expectations of Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive. Ranadive wanted his team to play uptempo basketball more in the style of the Golden State Warriors.

The Kings offense has not been the problem. The team ranks number three in points scored at 107.1 per game. The defense has been the problem.

Sacramento gives up more points per game than any other team in the association at 109.1. The team has not been able to transition from the uptempo offense to defense all season.

The firing of Walberg would indicate that Vlade Divac feels that the offense needs to change in order for the team to play better defense.

The Vertical.com has reported that former Cavaliers and Lakers head coach Mike Brown is being considered to replace Walberg. Brown is known for his defensive expertise.

 

Kings crushed by Golden State 120-101

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

By Charlie O. Mallonee

There are three tiers in the NBA. The first tier includes the Warriors, Cavs, Spurs, Heat and Clippers – teams that are battling for titles. The second tier teams are fighting for the bottom two playoff spots in their respective divisions. The third tier teams are spending their off-season trying to figure out who they are going to draft in the lottery.

The first tier team known as the Golden State Warriors played the third tier Sacramento Kings on Saturday night and the results were predictable. The Warriors crushed the Kings 120-101 and improved to 18-0 on the season. The loss dropped the Kings to 6-12 after 18 games.

To be fair, the Kings did have to play without the services of their All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins (strained lower back). That is 27 points and “a whole lotta” defense up the middle that was not available to Sacramento for this game. Cousins has missed both games with Golden State this season, and it is not a coincidence that the Kings have lost both games.

The Warriors did put on their usual spectacular offensive show, but they also played outstanding basketball on the defensive end as well. The Warriors held the Kings shooters to just 39-percent (39-for-101) for the game. The Kings had to take 100 shots to score 101 points. You cannot win in the NBA with that shooting to scoring ratio.

The Warriors scored 120 points and took only 80 shots from the floor. Golden State was deadly from behind the 3-point line hitting on 16-of-30 (53.3-percent) attempts. They also made 31 trips to the free throw line and converted 26 of those attempts (83.9-percent).

Kings

Rudy Gay had a better night but not a great game against the Warriors. Gay was the game’s leading scorer with 20 points. He had to take 20 shots (7-for-20) to post those 20 points. Gay is playing hard but seems have lost his smooth shooting touch for the moment.

Kosta Koufos gave a great effort as he tried to fill the shoes left open by the lack of DeMarcus Cousins in the game. Koufos knows what he can do on the floor and he does it well. He scored 14 points and had seven rebounds in 22 minutes of playing time. Koufos had sit out much the second quarter with foul trouble.

Rajon Rondo had a quiet night scoring seven points and dishing out seven assists. It is tough to create assists when your players cannot get open or make baskets.

Omri Casspi – who was starter in the game – finished with 11 points going 3-for-10 from the floor. All three of his successful attempts were 3-point baskets.

Marco Belinelli was unable to provide a scoring punch off the bench. He scored just five points and was 0-for-7 from behind the 3-point line.

Seth Curry provided some entertainment for the crowd during “garbage time”. Curry scored nine points shooting 3-for-3 from downtown.

Warriors

Stephen Curry was the Warriors leading scorer with 19 points in 29 minutes of playing time. Curry did not play in the fourth quarter. He shot 3-for-6 from long range and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

Brandon Rush put up 16 points getting the start in place of the injured Harrison Barnes.

Klay Thompson added 15 points shooting 6-for-10 including three 3s in 26 minutes on the floor.

Draymond Green (13), Festus Ezeli (11) and Marreese Speights (13) all scored in double-figures.

Golden State shot 48.8-percent from the floor going 39-for-80. They hit 16-of-30 3-point shots. The Warriors had 32 assists and just 14 turnovers in the contest.

What they said after the game

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better shooting team or better passing team in my whole career coaching. You give them an opportunity or you give them a mistake – they find it with the pass. A lot of times they find it with the 3-ball,” said Kings head coach George Karl.

“I’m going to write this off as an injury loss. Their defense without Cuz (DeMarcus Cousins) limit our options or somewhat limited our options to be successful. And, we didn’t finish a lot of easy shots early in the first half. I thought our shots were pretty good in the first half. In the second half, making the 3-ball got out of control and you over-react to the 3-ball and give up the layup. When you over-react to the layup you give up the 3-ball. They are team that has that genius. I don’t if they even made a mid-range jump shot,” added Karl.

Up next

The Kings will host the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night. Sacramento is hoping to have Cousins back in the lineup to face the Mavs. Dallas defeated the Nuggets 92-81 on Saturday night at home.

The Warriors kick off a 7-game road trip in Utah on Monday night.