It’s heartbreak deep in the heart of Texas for the Kings losing in OT to the Spurs 105-104

spurs 2
Graphic: @NBC Sports CA

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings played game two of their four-game road trip on Friday night in San Antonio. The Kings lost game one on Wednesday night in Portland. It took 53 minutes to decide the winner of game two in the “Alamo City”, but when the final buzzer sounded, the Spurs had won the game 105-104 in overtime.

The Kings have now lost five of their last six games and have fallen five games under .500 with a record of 8-13. Not only are the men of SAC headed in the wrong direction in the standings but their immediate future prospects are not great. Their final two games of this road trip are with the Dallas Mavericks (15-5) and the Houston Rockets (14-7) – two of the hottest teams in the NBA.

When the Kings left on this road trip, we projected that they would win one game and lose three. We expected the one win to happen in Portland or San Antonio. Now that Sacramento has lost to both the Trail Blazers and the Spurs, our projection has changed to the team finishing the road trip 0-4. That would put the Kings nine games under .500 by the time they return to Sacramento.

The Kings could have won this game
The game was tied at 89-89 with 3:44 to go in the game. The Kings went on a 9-0 run to take what looked like a commanding lead with just 1:43 remaining in the contest, but this is the NBA and you can never assume anything.

The Spurs scored eight unanswered points in less than a minute. The Kings were stunned. San Antonio possessed the ball with 14.3 seconds to go in regulation time. The Spurs worked the ball to Marco Belinelli with 4.1 seconds on the clock. Belinelli let a 3-pointer fly from the right angle and put it through the hoop to tie the game at 100 apiece and force OT.

Overtime was not pretty
The first point in OT wasn’t scored until the 3:07 mark when DeMar DeRozan hit the first of three free throw attempts. There would be only a total of nine points scored in the entire five minutes of overtime. It was just plain ugly.

The Kings wound up with the final possession of the game when it was ruled that Spurs last touched the ball that went out of bounds after a jump ball.

Sacramento did their best putting up four shots in the final 17.4 seconds to try and take the lead. They fought ferociously to get rebounds to have the opportunity to take another shot but none of their four final attempts would fall. When time expired, the Spurs had won the game 105-104.

Leading scorers

  • Buddy Hield scored a game-high 23 points for the Kings.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge led Spurs scoring attack with 19 points.

The Glass Cleaners

  • Richaun Holmes pulled down 14 rebounds to go with 13 points for a double-double game.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge also had a double-double by grabbing 13 rebounds to go with his 19 points.

Tossing out the dimes

  • The Spurs DeMar DeRozan dropped nine dimes in the game.
  • Harrison Barnes – who also scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds – distributed 5 assists.

Think about it

  • The Kings starters scored 69 points while their second unit added 35 points.
  • The Spurs starting five scored 52 points and their bench put 53 points. That’s called depth.

Up next

The Kings will have Saturday off and will play the Mavericks in Dallas on Sunday.

The Spurs go on vacation as they are off until next Thursday when they will host Cleveland.

Kings four game win streak ends as they fall to Charlotte 99-85

by Charlie O. Mallonee

SACRAMENTO–The Sacramento Kings four-game winning streak came to a screeching halt on Saturday as they lost to the Charlotte Hornets 99-85. The Buzz City team was in desperate need of a win to stop a five-game losing slide that had them falling farther away from the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Kings (25-34) looked sluggish early on in the game which is to be expected. After experiencing the huge high of the win over Denver on Thursday without DeMarcus Cousins on the roster, the team was really set up to have a let down. Facing a Hornets (25-33) team that has been playing poorly, it was really easy for the young team not to come in pumped up and ready to conquer.

Even after a less than spectacular first half the Kings trailed by just 11 at halftime. It was the opening 4:33 of the third quarter that did Sacramento in and led them to a loss. The Kings did not score until Ben McLemore hit a 3-point bucket at the 7:27 mark but by then the Hornets had opened up a 23-point lead. Charlotte would continue to ride that big lead for the remainder of the contest.

This is going to be the reality of watching this young team over the final 23 games of the season. They will at times look brilliant, full of energy and unstoppable. At other times, they are going to look tired, confused and inept. That is just the reality of having a young roster filled in with seasoned veterans. Sometimes it will be fun and sometimes it won’t.

Labissiere with a smooth move to the hoop Photo NBAE

Kings head coach Dave Joerger on the game

“Guys battled. I think we spend a lot of emotion as talked about in pregame of the game the other night. Tonight the was a situation where you had a team that is a veteran team, a very physical team. They pushed us around the court most of the night with their size and their experience at all positions. I’m not talking about just in the middle, we were okay in the middle. But twos, threes and fours – they took us out of some stuff. We didn’t do a great job finishing at the rim and in the paint. We were 15-for-34 in the paint and had a tough night shooting. So hats off to them. They’re a good team, and they’ve got a chance to get in the playoffs too.”

Evans drives to the basket Photo NBAE


  • Ben McLemore was the Kings leading scorer with 18 points. Ben Mac had a slow start and found his rhythm when he drove the baseline for a slam. It seamed to jolt him alive and he finished shooting 7-for-15
  • Rookie Buddy Hield had a solid game coming off the bench to score 15 points while shooting 5-for-10 from the field in his 26-minutes of playing time
  • Anthony Tolliver made an impact early in the game especially with the 3-ball. Tolliver finished with 11 points going 3-for-6 from 3-point land
  • Tyreke Evans made his presence known with 11 points, five assists and five rebounds in 22 minutes on the floor
  • Darren Collison had a solid game at the point scoring 10 points while dishing out five assists
  • Skal Labissiere had a very nice game scoring eight points and grabbing 13 rebounds (3 offensive). Labissiere is looking very comfortable on the floor
  • Willie Cauley-Stein had a tough game scoring just two points and grabbing only two rebounds


  • Big Frank Kaminsky was the man for Charlotte. He scored a game-high 23 points shooting 5-for-9 from behind the 3-point line. Kaminsky also hauled in 13 rebounds for a double-double game
  • Forward Marvin Williams added 16 points while Nicholas Batum put up 15 points despite shooting just 4-for-17 from the floor
  • Kemba Walker had a very quiet game scoring just 12 points while distributing six assists
  • Former King Marco Belinelli scored 13 points shooting 4-for-7 including two 3-point baskets

Up Next

The Kings will be back in action Monday when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden 1 Center. The Kings are 2-0 versus the T-Wolves this season.

The Hornets have to go back to work on Sunday night in Los Angeles when they will play the Clippers at the Staples Center.

A Malachi Richardson Medical Update


The Kings rookie shooting guard who suffered a partial tear of the right hamstring continues to rehab the injury. There is still no date for his return to action but there is no need for surgery which is good news for the player and the team.

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.

Kings will go with a short bench tonight in Portland

cuz at rest

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings have announced that four of their players will be held out of the game tonight in Portland versus the Trail Blazers. Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay will not play as they will be “rested” by the team. Marco Belinelli who has a sore right foot will miss his second consecutive game.

With the team no longer in the playoff hunt, the Kings are trying to be smart about how they use their stars down the final stretch. The team has already started to limit the starters playing time in order to give younger players some much needed playing experience.

Rondo has been among the “walking wounded” for weeks. He has been suffering from a right first metatarsal-phalangeal joint sprain, better known as “turf toe”. Rondo has also been dealing with a right thumb sprain and right shoulder contusion.

DeMarcus Cousins has been suffering from a bruised right knee, ankle sprains and  tendinitis  in both feet. It has been reported that Cousins in planning to have a platelet rich plasma procedure after the season ends to deal with the condition. Cousins is planning to compete for a roster spot to play on Team USA in the Olympics.

A loss in Portland or in any of the nine remaining games actually benefits the Kings. If the Kings finish outside the bottom 10 teams in the NBA, their first-round draft pick would to go to the Chicago Bulls. The loss of a number one draft selection would be devastating to the rebuilding plans for the team.

No one is using the “tank” word, but there is not a sense of urgency to win all nine of the remaining games.

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.



Sacramento Kings Thursday night game wrap up: Kings end four game skid in Dallas, win 104-101

by Michael Martinez

picture credit Ronda Churchill/AP

Wednesday night in Dallas was an important match up for the Sacramento Kings. The team headed into the night on a four gaming losing streak and a 22 game losing streak on the Mavs’ home court. Overall, the Kings put in a tremendous team effort and were able to defeat the Western Conference’s sixth seed, Dallas Mavericks, 104-101.

Rudy Gay was in the starting line up for the Kings who played tough against Dallas in the first quarter. The Kings’ only flaw was five turnovers but they did a great job of rebounding and passing the ball. Rajon Rondo had four of the Kings’ eight assists in the quarter as he headed back to Dallas.

Sacramento struggled with the three ball to start the game, 0-7, but managed to stay in it. Nobody on the Kings scored more than four points and the Mavs got a nice first quarter out of David Lee. After one, the Mavs led Sacramento, 24-19.

The Kings played an even better second quarter. Marco Belinelli came alive with eight points to start the quarter for the Kings, who would go on an 11-4 run. Sacramento moved the ball extremely well throughout the half, but best of all they played great defense. The Kings did not allow the Mavs to get inside and forced Dallas to shoot out on the perimeter, who shot 1-11 from beyond the arc at the half.

At the half, the Kings held a 50-45 and shot well in the half. The team did a better job with the ball, only one turnover in the second quarter. DeMarcus Cousins and Rondo had a team high with eight points apiece with Rondo adding seven assists.

The Kings did much of the same in the third quarter as the second.

The Kings kept the momentum from the second quarter.With 7:38 remaining,  Ben McLemore  had a fast break jam causing a timeout by Dallas with the Kings up 60-55. Out of the timeout, Sacramento went on another run, 7-2, which finished with a sweet McLemore crossover who nailed a three off the dribble. Dallas was forced to call another timeout. The Mavs did answer back with eight straight points of their own

The third was a very clean half four both teams and Chandler Parson kept finding a way to score for the Mavs. Through three, Sacramento was able to shoot over 50% from the field and hold their lead, 73-69. The quarter was pretty even and both teams had 46 points in the paint. The Kings defense was still very solid, however.

In the fourth, the Kings went on another run, 7-2, to start the quarter off. The run would become an 11-2 run in a little less than four minutes. Belinelli was once again clutch for the Kings as he hit a three to put Sacramento up, 89-76, as Dallas took another time out.

The Mavs were able to make a push and after being down by 14 at one point, were only down by five with a little over a minute left to play. Unfortunately, the Kings could not make a free throw to save their life. At the 35 second mark, Cousins was fouled and missed both free throws. Darren Collison was fouled 12 second later and went one for two at the charity stripe to lead 102-97. Dirk Nowitzki scored very quickly to cut the lead to three.

Belinelli was fouled and missed both free throws. On the second miss, the Kings fought for the rebound and the ball squirted out. Both teams scrambled for the loose ball and Collison came up with it and fouled.

Collison finally put down two free throws for the Kings to go up 104-99 with four ticks remaining. Nowitzki was able to put in a late lay-up for a final score 104-101.

Many Kings player had great games. Cousins finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Rondo notched 18 points and tallied 12 assists.

Off the bench, Collison had 14 points and Belinelli added 16. Belinelli appears to be coming out of his season slump and was a huge spark for Sacramento. The Kings shot the ball extremely well shooting at 52.5% although their three pointers were mostly off. Parson finished with 28 points in the game but the Kings defense was able to hold on and they closed out a fourth quarter for the victory.

The Kings are now 25-35 and will head to San Antonio on Saturday. The team faces off against the Spurs, who clinched their 19th consecutive playoff berth in their last game. Tipoff starts at 5 p.m. as the Kings look to redeem a loss to San Antonio from a couple weeks ago.

Kings Update: No trades and one assistant fired

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 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 lose again; BOS 128 SAC 119

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Boston Celtics
Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

It was not a super Sunday for the Sacramento Kings. In fact, it was more like Groundhog Day. The Kings lost to the Boston Celtics 128-119 on Sunday. If that score sounds familiar, it was the same identical final score of the Kings loss in Brooklyn on Friday night.

The Kings have now allowed their last eight opponents to score 100 or more points against them. As it has been noted, the Kings score enough points to win. They cannot get enough stops not to lose.

It was another disastrous first quarter for the Kings versus Boston. Sacramento gave up 46 first quarter points to the Celtics. They trailed Boston 46-37 after the first period.

If giving up 46 first quarter points was not bad enough, Sacramento allowed Boston to score 74 first half points. The Celtics led the game 74-58 at the half.

The Kings have consistently been digging themselves into a hole early in games. The team starts slow and then tries to overcome the bad start in the second half. The problem with that approach is it takes so much energy to get back into the game that there is nothing left in the tank to finish the game. That is what happened again on Sunday.

The Kings played a much better game on offense and defense in the second half. They created turnovers and transition situations. Sacramento outscored the Celtics 61-54 in the second half but it was too little too late.

When asked what the team can do to start games faster, Kings head coach George Karl said the coaching staff is “pulling our hair out” trying to come up with a solution.

Karl also pointed out that there is very little practice time available during this time of the season. Karl said the Kings need to “simplify” things. In other words, the team needs to get back to the basics like playing defense.

Multiple sources reported that George Karl’s job was on the line after the humiliating loss in Brooklyn. If those reports are true, the loss in Boston on Sunday did not help Karl’s cause to keep his job.

If things were not bad enough, the Kings have to play second half of back-to-back road games against Cleveland on Monday night. It is a losing team’s worst nightmare to have to face LeBron James and the Cavs when trying to stop a losing streak.

In this reporter’s opinion, firing George Karl will only add instability to a very unstable basketball organization. That being said, I do not believe George Karl will be the Kings head coach when the campaign continues after the All-Star Break.


DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings scoring attack on Sunday. Cousins scored 31 points but had to take 25 shots to score those points. He pulled down seven rebounds and dished out six assists. Cousins also picked up another technical foul in the first quarter of the game.

Rajon Rondo recorded another double-double against his old team. Rondo scored 14 points and distributed 15 assists to go with six steals.

Marco Belinelli made another start versus the Celtics. He scored 16 points but it required 17 shots to score those points. Belinelli was just 2-for-8 from 3-point range.

Willie Cauley-Stein had a solid game scoring 15 points while shooting 7-for-9 from the floor in 23-minutes of playing time.

James Anderson started at forward for Rudy Gay who was sidelined with a sprained ankle.

Sacramento had a 49.5 field goal percentage for the game. The Kings posted 32 assists and turned the ball over just 14 times. They were out-rebounded by Boston 49-32.


Guard Avery Bradley led the Celtics scoring with 25 points. Bradley shot 6-for-7 from “downtown”.

Former Kings and first time All-Star Isaiah Thomas added 22 points of his own. Thomas also had nine assists.

Boston shot 56.0-percent from the floor (51-for-91) and 54.2-percent (13-for-24) from beyond the 3-point line. The Celtics went 13-for-15 (86.7-percent) from the free throw line.


Kings fall short in loss to Bulls

by Michael Martinez

Photo credit (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO- A Chicago Bulls team without All Star Jimmy Butler gives opponents a much better chance at winning, or at least competiting. Butler sat out Wednesday night’s ball game with left knee tendinitis. The Kings did do a good job of sticking around with the Bulls, but allowed E’Twaun Moore to tear up the defense as if he was Butler.

Sacramento once again allowed a player who never really impacts games to get a career high in points. The Kings had a lot of sloppy play and their defense was not consistently strong enough to ever allow them to over come the Bulls. Missed free throws cost the Kings as well especially when it counted. Even with another monster game from DeMarcus Cousins, who was honored as an All Star prior to the game, Sacramento could not overcome the Bulls. The Kings (21-27) lost to the Bulls (27-21), 107-102, in a tightly contested match up in Sacramento at Sleep Train Arena.

The Kings lacked urgency to start the game. Sacramento looked slow and the Bulls took advantage, especially Moore. Moore scored ten of Chicago’s first 13 points causing Sacramento to take a timeout at the 7:02 mark. Moore would finish the quarter with 13 points, a point shy of his career high.

Marco Belinelli’s shot started to look better, scoring six points in the quarter, as he got another start. The Kings were able to hang around in the quarter in big part to DeMarcus Cousins, who scored eight points in a row later in the quarter causing the Bulls to call a timeout with Chicago up by eight. The Kings’ defense caused five turnovers, but could not find a way to stop the Bulls from scoring as Chicago shot 57.1% from the field. The Bulls did an excellent job behind the three-point line, going six for eight.

The Bulls took advantage of the Kings’ four turnovers with nine points off those turnovers. Allowing the Bulls to shoot at a high percentage had the Kings down, 35-24, after one quarter of play. For the fifth straight game, the Kings allowed their opponent to score 30 or more points in the first quarter.

“It’s a nightmare,” said Coach George Karl.  “I’ve never had this many games on your home court come out flat.”

Coming off of a sluggish first quarter, Darren Collison helped pick up the pace for Sacramento. Off the bench, Collison finished the half with 13 points, eight of those from the second quarter. The Kings’ defense did a better job against the Bulls’ offense and found some of their own as well.

With 4:35 left in the second quarter, Omri Casspi and Bobby Portis received a technical foul each after the pair were yapping at one another over a prior play.

Down by four, Sacramento looked to keep the game close but the Bulls went on a 6-0 run to go up by ten as Chicago continued their good ball movement with a little under three minutes to play in the half.

Belinelli scored six more points in the second quarter. Belinelli hit two three-pointers for a total of 12 points in the half. Belinelli’s threes helped keep the Kings within reach with one of those threes coming from a Cousins’ screen and put the score at 60-57. Belinelli’s three would be the last field goal of the half with the Bulls leading the Kings, 60-57 after one half of play.

Omri Casspi and Bobby Portis  received a double technical after the pair were yapping at one another over a prior play.

Moore eclipsed his prior career high of 14 points with 15 in the first half for a halftime high. Cousins scored 14 points for a team high. Chicago had ten second chance points in the first half, as they out rebounded the Kings, 26-18. Chicago crashed the boards much harder than the Kings, but with 28 points in the paint Sacramento kept it close.

The Kings started the third quarter off with a 5-0 run, giving them their first lead since early in the first quarter. But the Bulls followed it up with a 5-0 run of their own. The Kings got to 66 points, which was later changed to 64 as a Rudy Gay field goal was changed to a shot clock violation. After that point, Sacramento turned the ball over on five straight possessions, but luckily the Bulls did not do so well either. Throughout the quarter, Sacramento inched closer and closer, but the eight third quarter turnovers never gave them a chance to regain the lead.

Both teams did very little offensively, with Chicago scoring 20 and Sacramento scoring 18. The Kings did a much better job of rebounding the ball with four offensive boards and 14 total in the quarter. Gay scored six points on 3-6 shooting for a total of ten, looking much better in the third quarter after foul trouble in the first half.

Moore continued to play well out of the break with seven points in the third. Cousins also had a big quarter with eight points, as him and Moore tied for a game high with 22 points. After a lot of careless basketball, the Bulls still maintained their lead, 80-75 through three.

The fourth quarter came down to the wire although the Bulls started out the quarter on a 6-0 run. Again, the Kings were able to stay in the game and went up by as many as ten in the quarter. With a little over three and a half minutes to play, Chicago was up 99-90 over the Kings. But Belinelli’s improved shooting came in clutch for Sacramento as they got the lead down to four, 105-101, after he hit a three pointer while getting fouled.

Belinelli missed the free throw, but Cousins grabbed the board and was fouled. Cousins only made one free throw to cut Chicago’s lead to three with 45 seconds in the game. Sacramento kept getting stops and had possession down three with 17.9 seconds.

Out of a timeout, the Kings drew up a play to get Cousins the ball inside for a quick two, but Boogie could not convert on two separate tries. The Kings fouled Moore with 10.4 seconds left and the game seemed basically over. However, Moore missed both free throws and Sacramento got the rebound with nine seconds remaining. Cousins got fouled and missed the first free throw, letting out great frustration afterwards. Boogie missed the second shot on purpose and got called for a lane violation.

Pau Gasol, who finished with 16 points and 13 boards, made two free throws to close out the game and give the Bulls the victory, 107-102. Rudy Gay fouled out by fouling Gasol.

Derrick Rose had a solid fourth quarter with eight points, totaling 21 points and adding nine assists with six boards. Moore finished with a career high 24 points as he filled the shoes of Butler tonight.

Cousins added another double double on the season, 30 points and 11 rebounds, finishing with a game high. Cousins admitted to being banged up after a very physical game, but is still ready to go. Belinelli scored 18 points for Sacramento, 7-14 from the field.

Off the bench, Collison scored 19 points but did not see much playing time in the second half. Rajon Rondo added nine assists for the Kings, who continue to score well in the paint, but have lacked good starts in games.

The defense got better, but Chicago shot 52.4% from the behind the arc, which was a  big difference maker as well as their 19 fast break points. Both teams finished with 17 turnovers in a very sloppy game.

“Starts. Turnovers hurt us tonight, transition defense hurt us tonight,” Cousins said.

The Kings have now lost five of their last six games and are looking for answers with four games left before the All Star break.

“I would probably say our only pattern is our effort coming out early on in games. We’ve got to find a way to improve that,” Cousins said when asked about characteristics in their losses.

The Kings, now 21-28, will need to practice what they preach heading into the last four games to gain momentum as they near the break. On Friday, Sacramento will take on the Brooklyn Nets on the road as they look to get the roller coaster season back in their favor with some much needed road wins.

“We’ve got to get three, we have to,” Cousins said.

Worn Down Kings lose, 112-97, in Portland

by Michael Martinez

Picture by (Steve Dykes/AP Photo)

SACRAMENTO- DeMarcus Cousins has been a treat to watch, notching career highs in points in back to back games. 48 in a win against the Pacers and 56, a Sacramento franchise high, against the Hornets in a double overtime loss. But Boogie looked tired and struggled mightily tonight, which really hurt the Kings who were without Rudy Gay who suffered a corneal abrasion in last night’s ball game. Nobody for the Kings stepped up and there was not much from the bench besides Marco Belinelli, giving the Portland Trailblazers the victory, 112-97.

Early on, the Kings looked good with Rajon Rondo and Willie Cauley-Stein connecting on consecutive alley-oops for the team’s first two field goals. Rondo penetrated the defense well and did a nice job of getting open looks or easy baskets for his teammates, especially Cauley-Stein. Rondo tried to give a team who looked tired some early energy. The team’s ball movement was nice with nine team assists in the quarter.

Tied at 15, Cousins got called for a charge and Coach George Karl was not happy, picking up a technical foul. Once the Blazers knocked down the free throw, Portland never looked back and held the lead for the majority of the game afterwards. Both teams were not too careless with the ball and scored well in the paint as the Blazers led 33-29 at the end of the first. Nonetheless, the game still looked close.

As the second quarter got underway, Cousins frustration grew and Rondo and Cauley-Stein couldn’t continue their hot start. Rondo scored nine in the first and WCS notched eight. Cousins could not buy a basket from the field going 3-14 in the half, but getting to the line seven times and making six of the seven shots. The Kings played pretty good defense, but the Blazers found a way to shoot at a high percentage, 50% for the half. The Kings found a way to hang around even with their offensive struggles as Portland’s largest lead in the half was nine. Cousins had a half time high with 12 points and CJ McCollum had 11 to lead Portland.

With just under three minutes to play in the quarter, Cauley-Stein took a bump to the eye and headed to the locker room. Willie received stitches and donned a bandage on his eyebrow in the second half.

After a tough half of basketball, the Blazers held a six-point lead, 58-52.

In the third, the Blazers continued to shoot at a high percentage and the Kings faltered. Portland put up a 30-point quarter on 50% shooting. Every Blazers player who entered in the third scored, while the Kings shot at 40% and couldn’t get a bucket from their best player. Cousins only way of scoring was from the free throw line and in the quarter he went 2 of 8. The Kings were down seven at one point and could not score on possessions where they had a wide open look from Cousins and a couple of missed lay ups by Rondo. When the Kings failed to cut the lead to five, Portland attacked the Kings defense and went up by as many as 14 points. Missed free throws also kept the Kings from hanging around, 4-12 in third. With three quarters in the books, Portland led, 88-74.

The Trail Blazers started the fourth with a 10-4 run causing Sacramento to call a timeout. Portland’s offense continued to sizzle as they went up by as many as 22. With the lead very much out of reach, Karl took out Cousins, Rondo and Willie to give them some much needed rest after logging a ton of minutes the night before.

In garbage time, Seth Curry put up seven points and gave the Kings a little offense. The Kings turned the ball over six times in the quarter and after a good first quarter and mostly first half, slowed down. The Blazers took advantage of a tired Kings team to put themselves in line for the eighth seed, defeating Sacramento, 112-97. Portland came into tonight’s ball game a game behind the Kings for that eighth spot.

Myers Leonard frustrated Boogie big time and Cousins was absolutely drained. His legs weren’t quite under him, 4-21 on field goals and 9-17 from the free throw line. Cousins had a team high with 17 points. McCollum finished with a game high 18 points. The Blazers shot really well and the Kings did not shoot as well as they would have liked, 41.9%. Seven of Portland’s players scored in double figures, with their leader Damian Lilliard notching 15 points.

Rondo finished with 15 points and 11 assists for another double double as he played an excellent game, but just couldn’t get enough energy from the rest of the team. Belinelli finished with 14 points as his shot looked much better. Belinelli and the Kings hope that he can get his stroke back. Cauley-Stein finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots. Willie’s defense has been a huge plus for the Kings since his return.

The Kings have an off day tomorrow before they face the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday. Tomorrow will be a well deserved rest day as the team travels and hopefully Boogie will find his stride once again. After all, this is his first mediocre game of January, Big Cous has been dominant. The Kings have dropped two in a row now and will look to get back to their winning ways in January on Thursday at New Orleans.