It’s Just My Opinion: KD’s absence puts speed bump on Warriors’ season

AP photo file: Former Sacramento Kings forward Matt Barnes, right, goes to the basket over Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. Barnes returns to Golden State in light of the Kevin Durant injury on Tuesday night (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND, Calif — OK  Warriors fans you can breathe a bit easier this morning after hearing that forward Kevin Durant’s knee injury isn’t season-ending.

Durant injured his left knee in the first minute of Golden State’s 112-108 loss to the Wizards in Washington Tuesday night. The injury occurred on a loose-ball situation after Wizards center Marcin Gortat fouled Warriors center Zsa Zsa Pachulia, who then fell back on Durant’s left leg. Durant jumped back and tried to run off the injury, but was in obvious pain before walking off the court on his own power and into the locker room.

Durant will miss at least four weeks with a sprained MCL and bruised tibial bone in his left leg, the team announced Wednesday. The small forward will be out indefinitely, but will be re-evaluated.

Durant leads the team in scoring (25.3 points per game), free throw makes (5.5) and attempts (6.3) per game, rebounding (8.2 rpg) and blocks (1.6 bpg).

The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears received a text message from Warriors forward Draymond Green said that he is “relieved” by the diagnosis.

“I’m definitely relieved. I thought it would be way worse,” Green wrote. “Being away weeks sucks, but we will take that over what was initially thought.”

The Warriors (50-10) have the best record in the league and now with Durant’s injury, their perch atop the Western Conference could be in jeopardy with second-place San Antonio (45-13) hot on Golden State’s heels at just four games back.

San Antonio rocked Golden State 129-100 in Durant’s first game with Golden State at Oracle Arena after nine season with the Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder organization.

The Spurs and Warriors meet up twice this month, both in San Antonio.

For Golden State, it will be second game of a back-to-back after playing in Minneapolis and Houston respectively the previous night.

The play of Green, and guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will need to step up their individual games even more. Durant’s absence will be felt, but it will be up to the Warriors other three All-Stars to lead Golden State down the stretch heading into the playoffs.

Curry and Thompson both have struggled to shoot the three-ball post the All-Star break.

Curry is really in a shooting slump, connecting on just 2-of-20 of his 3s in his last two games. The two-time league MVP was converted 41 percent of his 3s before the break, but is just shooting 32 percent from beyond the arc post break.

Thompson is shooting just 31 percent from 3 post break after shooting 42 percent before the break.

Before racking up 24 points, 25 assists, and 14 rebounds while shooting 11-for-21 from the field in his last two games, Green struggled in the two games prior, totaling 12 points, six assists, and 14 rebounds.

Golden State is expected to sign free agent forward Matt Barnes for the remainder of the season in the wake of Durant’s injury, per Chris Haynes and Marc Stein of ESPN.

The Warriors will reportedly first sign free agent Jose Calderon, fulfilling their pledge to the 12-year veteran, before adding Barnes to fill void vacated by Durant.

Barnes was averaging 7.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game with the Kings before being waived shortly before Thursday’s trade deadline last week.

This will be Barnes’ second go-around with Golden State.

Barnes played with Golden State from 2006-08 and was part of the “We Believe” Warriors team led by Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, and Jason Richardson that squeaked in the playoffs as an eight seed and knocked off the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs in 2007.

Barnes told Spears of The Undefeated that his return to Golden State is “a dream come true.”

The versatile Barnes, who turns 37 on Mar. 9, brings another solid defender with toughness on the wing to go along with Green and swingman Andre Iguodala for Golden State.

The addition of Barnes isn’t a earth-shattering move by Golden State, but it does give the Warriors some flexibility to sustain Durant’s absence for the foreseeable future.

 

It’s official: Kings waive Matt Barnes

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Matt Barnes was added to the Kings roster to give them some toughness and to take some pressure off All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins. People avoided using the word but the fact is Barnes was brought in to be an “enforcer”. That’s a title the NBA avoids while the NHL has accepted the role and title for years. 

Barnes had also played for head coach Dave Joerger in Memphis which set him up to help interpret Joerger’s philosophy and actions to his new teammates. Add in Barnes ability to be a force on offense or defense as needed and it is easy to see why the Kings added him to the roster. 

The fact that Barnes is a Sacramento product didn’t hurt his value to the Kings. Local hard-core fans followed Barnes because he was a Del Campo High School player – he was like their own personal connection to “the association”. Now Barnes would become their personal tie to the Kings. 

Things started off great. Barnes took on the older brother role for the team. When things were not going well, Barnes would have the press corps come to him to ask questions and get answers. It was all going well until a fateful night in Manhattan when Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins were supposedly involved in a fight inside a trendy nightclub following a Kings loss to the Knicks. 

Since that time, Barnes has not been able to be that force in the locker room with the press he once was before the NYC incident. He continued to play at a high level on the court even after having to return to New York to be charged with a misdemeanor. 

Now, Cousins is gone and making the playoffs is no longer the number one priority. Remaking the team and culture is the new agenda for the Kings; therefore, Matt “the enforcer” Barnes is no longer needed in Sacramento. 

With Kings paying the bulk of his salary, expect a team fighting to make the playoffs or looking to move up in the seeding to “rent” Barnes’ services for the remainder of the season and playoffs. 

Kings win again surging past the Pelicans 105-99

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Boogie and the Brow look for the rebound Photo: NBAE

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings were in a must win situation on Sunday night when they hosted the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans are also a “Tier 3” team that is trying to break free of the NBA Draft Lottery and make it into the first-round of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs.

The Kings entered the game with a predicted 69-percent chance of winning the contest with the Pelicans. The Kings had won three of their five previous games. Sacramento is still in the hunt for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The men in white and purple had a lot on the line.

The Kings (22-32) did not disappoint their fans as they downed the Pelicans (21-34)  105-99. Sacramento repeated their familiar pattern where they under-performed in the first half and excelled in the second half. The Kings have been victorious in four of their last six games.

Where the Kings stand in the Playoff Race

The Kings are currently in 10th place 1.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Trail Blazers stand in between the two teams one game behind the Nuggets and one-half game ahead of the Kings. All three teams are 5-5 in their last 10 games.

It was another battle of Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday night

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The premiere match up of the night was at center which featured two former Kentucky Wildcats – DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. Davis – “the Brow” is an All-Star starter for the Western Conference and Cousins – “Boogie” is a Western Conference All-Star reserve.

Davis scored a game-high 32 points and made it double-double by adding 10 rebounds. He shot an impressive 11-for-24 from the floor and went a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line in his 40-minutes on the floor.

Cousins led the Kings scoring attack with 28 points and also recorded a double-double by hauling in 14 rebounds. He dished out seven assists. Cousins shot 7-for-14 from the field and went 14-for-16 from the charity stripe.

Stars of the game

Kings

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Collison drives past Solomon Hill Photo: NBAE

Darren Collison gets the star for Sacramento. When the Kings needed someone to step up, Collison was the man. He finished with 20 points (7-for-16 shooting including 2 3-point baskets), eight assists, six rebounds and three steals. Collison again played big minutes playing just under 41-minutes in the game.

Pelicans

The star has to go to “the Brow”. The fact is without the presence of Davis and his finesse on the floor the Pelicans are never really in this game. New Orleans is very much like Sacramento. Take their former Kentucky big man out of the lineup and they are a team that is in deep, deep trouble.

Looking into the book

Kings

  • Matt Barnes was important on offense when needed him and then on defense when the situation called for it. Barnes finished with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists. He also hit 2-of-6 3-point tries.
  • Ben McLemore had an 11 point game with nine of those points coming off three 3-point baskets. He hit on 3-of-5 tries from long range.
  • Arron Afflalo put up 10 points, had two assists and one steal
  • Anthony Tolliver struggled a bit shooting as he scored nine points on nine shots. All of his points came off 3-point buckets.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein – the other big man from Kentucky – scored eight points in 17-minutes on the floor. Cauley-Stein did a pretty good job defending Davis which is no easy task.
  • As a team: the Kings shot 44.9-percent; they went  11-for-31 (35.5-percent) for 3-pointers; they converted 24-of-27 from the free throw line; they out-rebounded the Pels 46-36; Sacramento had 23 assists and made 20 turnovers giving up 16 points to New Orleans.

Pelicans

  • Jrue Holiday had another solid game posting a double-double with 16 points and 11 assists
  • Dante Cunningham scored 14 points hitting on 4-0f-7 from long range. Do not leave that man open in 3-point land.
  • Solomon Hill went 3-for-5 from the field (all 3-point attempts) and scored nine points
  • As a team: the Pels shot 41.5-percent; they went 13-for-31 (41.9-percent) from downtown; NOP had 23 assists and 18 turnovers that resulted in 15 Sacramento points.

Now that’s hitting below the below the belt

The Pelicans’ Buddy Hield was ejected from the game with 2:55 remaining to play in the second quarter after he literally hit DeMarcus Cousins below the below the belt. Cousins had already been assessed a technical foul and any retaliation by Cousins could well have resulted in his ejection. The Kings big man kept his cool. The officials in New Jersey reviewed the play and Hield’s actions were ruled a Flagrant 2 foul which resulted in an automatic ejection.

Who knows how the game would have turned out had Hield still been on the floor in the fourth quarter?

Night of Technical Fouls

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Cousins looks to drive the paint Photo: NBAE

The officiating crew felt free to pass out “tech fouls” in the game on Sunday night. They issued three:

  1. Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry picked up the first “tech” just 2:11 into the game when he let the officials know he felt DeMarcus Cousins should have been called for a foul on a play that resulted in two points for Sacramento.
  2. Cousins picked up his 17th technical foul of the season with 1:06 to go in the first quarter when he tangled up with Donatas Motiejunas under the Pelicans basket. The play was reviewed to see if it was a flagrant foul which it was ruled not to be. If Cousins is assessed tech foul number 18, he will be suspended for another game under NBA rules since he is over the 16-tech foul limit.
  3. New Orleans was charged with a technical for a 3-second defensive violation in the first quarter.

In this writers opinion, the Gentry call was a quick trigger and the Cousins “tech” is a candidate to be rescinded. Also, the NBA needs to review the use of “the Tech” and decide what its purpose really is in the structure of the game. “The Association” also needs to grasp that fans do not come to an arena to watch refs call tech fouls.

Up next

The Kings will play the first of their two road games in the month of February on Tuesday in Los Angeles when they face the Lakers. This is another must win game for the Kings. The Lakers are a lower level “Tier 3” team that Kings have to beat if they are to jump into the eighth and final playoff slot.

The Pelicans travel to the Valley of the Sun to face the Suns on Monday night.

 

 

Buzzer beating bank shot gives the Suns a 105-103 win over the Kings

Phoenix Suns v Sacramento Kings
Booker shoots the game winner versus the Kings on Friday night Photo: NBAE

by Charlie O. Mallonee

NBA fans used to live for the final two minutes of a game. They were rough, tumble and full of exciting action. Now with all of the stoppages for replay reviews, the excitement of the final 120 seconds has been all but lost.

On Friday night at the Golden 1 Center, the sellout crowd (17,608) were treated to an “old fashion” nail biting two minute finish in the game between the Phoenix Suns and the Sacramento Kings.

The excitement began with 2:32 remaining in the game when DeMarcus Cousins broke a 98-all tie with a step-back 3-point basket from the right corner off an assist from Matt Barnes. The Suns missed a jump on their possession. The Kings grabbed the rebound and called a timeout with 2:09 to go.

Cousins missed a jumper coming out of the timeout that was rebounded by Bledsoe of the Suns. T.J. Warren sank a jump shot at the 1:34 mark to bring Phoenix within one point of the lead at 101-100.

Each team missed a field goal opportunity then Cousins missed a layup that Lawson rebounded and then he was fouled by the Suns Tyson Chandler. The Kings maintained possession and Cousins attempted a 3-point shot that missed and Chandler rebounded.

The Suns Warren hit a 3-pointer (assist Booker) with 21.6-seconds on the clock to give his team a 103-101 lead. The Kings immediately called a timeout.

The Kings ran their play out of the timeout and with 8.2-seconds to go Darren Collison sank a 15-foot jump shot (assist Cousins) to tie the game at 103-103. It was the Suns turn to call a timeout.

Phoenix inbounded the ball at midcourt and to no one’s surprise the ball wound up in the hands of second-year guard Devin Booker. Booker put up a 20-foot fade away bank shot that  went in the hoop as the final buzzer sounded. The Suns had won the game 105-103 to the stunned amazement of the big crowd.

Who did what in the game

Kings (19-31)

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Cousins hits two of his 22 versus the Suns Photo: NBAE

 

  • DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings scoring attack with a triple-double: 22 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists(sixth career triple-double). Cousins got into foul trouble and picked up his fifth personal foul with 9:22 to go in the 4th quarter and he did not return until there was just 3:18 left in the game. How much of a difference could the big man have made in that six minutes is now a question to be pondered over beers at the local pub.
  • Darren Collison scored 19 points for the Kings as he shot 8-for-16 from the floor and hit 3-of-4 3-point attempts. Joerger was very happy with Collison’s play after the game.
  • There was a Ben McLemore sighting on Friday night. McLemore made a rare start as the team made adjustments with Temple out due to injury and Arron Afflalo did not dress due to illness. McLemore played 35-minutes and scored 18 points.
  • Ty Lawson made an impact in the game off the bench again for Sacramento on Friday night. The speedy guard put up 18 points hitting on 7-of-10 attempts from the field and went a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
  • Matt Barnes did not have a big scoring night (6-points) but hauled in 10 rebounds and dished out 4 assists for the Kings.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein played only 14-minutes in the contest but came up big especially in the six-minutes that Cousins was sitting on the bench in the fourth quarter with the five fouls. He also scored four points and had four rebounds.
  • As a team the Kings outrebounded the Suns 43-39. They outscored Phoenix in the paint 36-20. Sacramento even scored more fast break points (14-9) than the Suns. The Kings had 23 assists versus 13 turnovers which resulted in 22 Phoenix points.

Suns (16-34)

  • 20-year old guard Devin Booker scored a game-high 33 points for PHX. He scored just seven points in the first half. Booker went 11-for-24 shooting and hit 4-0f-8 from beyond the 3-point line. He also went 7-for-10 from the free throw line.
  • T.J. Warren was the offense for the Suns in the first half. While much of the team seemed less than present, Warren was active and ready for action. He finished with 21 points including going a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
  • Eric Bledsoe had a 20 point game for the Suns in 33-minutes on the floor. He was just 4-of-12 from the floor but was 3-for-6 from 3-point land.
  • Maybe the disappointment of the night for the crowd was the play of local product Marquese Chriss. Chriss who played his high school basketball in Elk Grove and was drafted by the Kings and then traded to Phoenix played just 15-minutes and scored only two points. Chriss picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter which really limited his playing time. It may well have the combination of playing before a large contingent of family and friends while trying to defend DeMarcus Cousins that keep the young rookie from having a better game.

Joerger’s postgame thoughts

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Collison had a big second half for the Kings Photo: NBAE
  • Heck of a basketball game
  • Both teams started kind of slow (it was 49-49 at the half)
  • I’m really proud of out guys. We held a fast break team to nine-points on the fast break and basically won every statistical category there is.
  • I thought Darren (Collison) really stepped up his game in the second half.
  • It was tremendous that we had great point guard play with Ty (Lawson) and Darren at times playing together.
  • It was great to see Ben McLemore get going a little bit and heck of a basketball game.
  • Very proud of out team

Focusing on 8th place in the Western Conference

The battle for the eighth and final playoff slot in the Western Conference continued on Friday night:

  • Denver now has sole possession of 8th place as they beat the Bucks 121-117
  • Portland is in 9th place 1.5 games back after losing to Dallas 108-104
  • Dallas has jumped into 10th place 2.5 games back of Denver with their win over Portland
  • The Kings are now in 11th place 3.5 games behind Denver after Friday’s loss to Phoenix

Up next on the schedule

The Kings have no time sit and ponder their loss to the Suns. The Golden State Warriors make a return visit to the Golden 1 Center on Saturday night. It is never easy to face “the Splash Brothers” but to have to play them on second night of a back-to-back set is really unfair.

Phoenix returns home on Saturday night to host the Milwaukee Bucks who lost in Denver on Friday.

Kings drop a close one in Philly 122-119

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DeMarcus Cousins scores two of his 46 points Photo NBAE

 

by Charlie O. Mallonee

“The road trip from hell” continued in Philadelphia on Monday when the Kings played the 76ers. This was the makeup game for the contest that was postponed on November 30 due to the wet floor from the ice below the hardwood. This game turned a seven-game road trip into the longest road trip of the year – eight games – with three back-to-back sets.

The Kings entered the game with a surprising 3-3 record on the road trip so far. Expectations were high as Philadelphia is also a “Tier 3” team which means they have comparable levels of personnel. Also, big man Joel Embiid who has been playing some great basketball for the Sixers was not available to play on Monday due to a knee contusion.

Even with solid momentum and player personnel advantages it was still an NBA game on the road which automatically favors the home team. The home court advantage played in Philly’s favor Monday night as they squeaked past the Kings 122-119.

The Sixers took advantage of a huge break when DeMarcus Cousins fouled out of the game with 58.5-seconds left in the contest. Cousins has scored 46 points up to that point and was leading the charge to take the lead in the game for Sacramento.

Even with their superstar on the bench, the Kings managed to remain in the fight and had a chance to tie the game with literally one-second to go in the game. With score 122-119 in favor of Philadelphia, the Kings somehow broke Arron Afflalo into the open in the right corner for an open three-point shot that would have tied the game. Unfortunately for the Kings and their fans, the shot hit the rim and did not go in and the win went to Philly (18-29).

Who did what in the game

Kings (19-29)

  • DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 46 points to go with 15 rebounds for his 13th consecutive double-double. Cousins – who was double-teamed the entire game – shot an incredible 20-for-22 from the free throw line
  • Willie Cauley-Stein had another big game coming off the bench for the Kings. He put up 17 points in 20-minutes on the floor. He shot a very impressive 8-for-10 from the field
  • Matt Barnes was a major factor on offense for Sacramento on Monday night. Barnes added 16 points hitting 6-of-12 from the floor including four 3-point baskets
  • Ty Lawson may have to change his name to “the distributor”. Lawson dished out 11 assists working the point for the Kings
  • Team numbers: 55.4 Field Goal Percentage; 44.8-percent 3-pt Field Goal Shooting (13-of-29); 24-for-29 Field Throws
Philadelphia 76ers V Sacramento Kings
Dario Saric drives to the basket Photo NBAE

76ers

  • The Sixers had seven players score in double-figures against the Kings
  • Robert Covington led Philly in scoring with 23 points and made it a double-double with 10 rebounds
  • Dario Saric was a key force off the bench for the Sixers as he scored 17 points, dished out six assists and grabbed five rebounds while shooting 8-for-11 from the floor
  • Former King Nik Stauskas enjoyed a good night versus his former team. The guard hit 6-of-10 field goal attempts including four 3-pointers for a total of 16 points in the game
  • As a team: Field Goals 54.2-percent; 11-for-31 (35.5-percent) 3-point shooting; 80.8-percent Free Throw Shooting (21-for-26); 32 assists against just 16 turnovers ( the perfect 2-1 ratio)

Up next on the schedule

For the Kings, this nightmare road trip comes an end on Tuesday night in Houston against the Rockets. Houston sports 36-16 record and currently holds down the number three spot in the Western Conference. James Harden and company love to shoot the three, so expect the Rockets to “make it rain” in Houston on Tuesday.

The 76ers head out on the road as they will face the Mavericks in Dallas on Wednesday night.

Sources: Barnes to turn himself into NYPD to face the music for club fracas

 

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Matt Barnes may be headed to New York City to face the music Photo NBAE

by Charlie O. Mallonee

According to multiple sources, Matt Barnes will be surrendering himself to the New York City Police Department in relationship to misdemeanor assault charges stemming from a December altercation at the Avenue Night Club in the city. The melee which also involved Kings center DeMarcus Cousins plus at least two additional acquaintances has been under investigation for almost two months and rumors that Barnes was wanted on misdemeanor charges have been swirling for a while.

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Photo: NY Daily News

The alleged incident took place in the early morning hours of December 5 of last year after the Kings had played (and lost to) the Knicks the night before. Supposedly, Barnes became embroiled in an argument with a woman who was his table in the VIP lounge. At some point, the reports are that Barnes began to choke the woman.

According to their accounts of the events, that is when Iasmine Besiso and Myrone Powell – who were seated at the next table – decided it was time to leave. As they were leaving Barnes is supposed to have grabbed Besiso and began to choke her.

Powell stated that when he tried to intervene on Besiso’s  behalf, DeMarcus Cousins stepped in and reportedly punched Powell. Besiso and Powell are both claiming to have severe neck damage from the fight. Besiso also claims a head injury and while Powell says he suffered two black eyes in the fight. Both alleged victims are also claiming they have trouble sleeping from nerve damage in their necks.

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Alleged victim Myrone Powell Photo taken by his attorney Michael Lamonsoff

Michael Lamonsoff -attorney for Besiso and Powell – says the investigation has taken too long and that his clients have not been kept informed by the authorities about what has been happening with the case.

Barnes is expected to surrender to police sometime early next week. The Kings will travel to Philadelphia on Sunday after playing a game in Charlotte on Saturday night. The team plays the Sixers on Monday night and the Rockets in Houston on Tuesday evening then has the following two days off.

This story was first reported by Rocco Parascandola of the New York Daily News on January 27.

Kings battle hard again but come up short against the Thunder 122-118

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Westbrook en route to 20th triple-double Photo: Kelley L Cox USA Today Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento — Stop me if you have heard this before. “Tough night. Tough game to watch. The guys (Kings) are playing as hard as they can,” Sacramento head coach Dave Joerger after watching his team lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-118. The Kings actually cut the Thunder lead to just two points with 11-seconds to go in the game, but there was not enough time left to finish the potential comeback.

The Kings were down by 12 points with 2-minutes remaining in the game and it felt like things were over at that point. Three 3-point baskets by Tolliver, Collison and Gay along with three Oklahoma City turnovers allowed Sacramento to work their way back into the game. Literally, the Kings waited 60-seconds to long to start their comeback and have enough time to finish it with a positive outcome.

The Kings are playing hard. They are not giving up. They just do not have enough “____________” (fill in the blank with your own opinion because there are so many and no one idea seems to be the right one at this moment). There can be no doubt that something is missing. Be assured the Kings want to fix it. At this point, it must not be that easy to fix or the organization would do it immediately.

No team wants to be in playoff contention – and the Kings are still in ninth place one-game back of Portland even after this loss – with a record of 1-5 on a seven-game homestand. The Kings management, coaching staff and players want to fix whatever is wrong. At this point, they just have not been able to do so successfully.

What will the Kings do next? They have a multitude of options so predicting the next move is very difficult despite whatever anyone is saying. The one thing that is known at this point is the Kings want that eighth spot in the Western Conference Playoffs.

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Dave Joerger draws up a play for the Kings versus the Thunder Photo: NBAE

It was a long game on Sunday night

Early in his postgame comments, Kings head coach Dave Joerger talked about what a long game it was on Sunday night. In fact, Joerger said it felt like game went on for hours.

  • There were 57 personal fouls committed by both teams
  • A total of 81 free throws were attempted
  • Four technical fouls were assessed

Add in timeouts, arguments by coaches and players plus video reviews and it was a long night for everyone

Stars of the game

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Cousins goes to the basket against the Thunder Photo: NBAE
  • Russell Westbrook – it did not look like the triple-double machine would pull off another impressive stat night early in the game. The OKC star guard had just 11 points, four rebounds and six assists at the half. By the time game ended, Westbrook had posted his 20th triple-double of the season by scoring 36 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists. The man is truly a phenomena.
  • DeMarcus Cousins – the Kings center had a big night as he scored 31 points for his team and made it a double-double game by hauling in 11 rebounds (6 offensive). He also had seven assists. It was not a great shooting night as he went 8-for-20 from the floor but Cousins made up for it from the free throw line by hitting 14-of-17 from the stripe.

Co-stars

  • Darren Collison – the point guard had just two points in the first half of the game and finished the game with 21 points. He shot 7-for-9 from the floor including going 2-for-3 from 3-point range. Collison also took advantage of the charity stripe going 5-for-6 from the free throw line. He also posted two assists and two steals.
  • Enes Kanter – he is an easy selection for the Thunder. When Steven Adams went down due to injury, Kanter picked up the slack. Kanter scored a season-high 29 against the Kings hitting 10-of-18 shots. He also recorded a double-double by pulling down 12 rebounds.

Other featured players

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
Rudy Gay brings the ball up the floor versus the Thunder Photo: NBAE
  • Kings – Rudy Gay 21 points and 10 rebounds, Anthony Tolliver 10 points, Garrett Temple 8, Matt Barnes 7 points and 8 rebounds, Arron Afflalo 7 points
  • Thunder – Victor Oladipo 23 points shooting 7-for-14, Alex Abrines 13 points and Steven Adams 6 points and 4 rebounds in just 19-minutes before being injured

Spotlight on stats

  • Points in the Paint: Thunder 56 Kings 46
  • 2nd chance points: Kings 17 Thunder 14
  • Fast break points: Thunder 25 Kings 9
  • Turnovers: Kings 22 (23 pts for OKC) Thunder 19 (28 pts for SAC)
  • Rebounds: Kings 44 (14 offensive) Thunder 44 (17 offensive)

Injury update

  • Steven Adams, OKC Thunder – Adams went down after battling for a rebound at the 10:48 mark of the third quarter. He left the court and did not return to the game. Adams hit his head on the floor and was experiencing concussion-like symptoms. He will be evaluated on Monday to determine if he must enter the NBA concussion protocol program.

Up next on the schedule

Kings – Sacramento closes out the seven-game homestand versus the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night at the Golden 1 Center. Sacramento is just 1-5 on the current homestand and would like to close it out on a positive note before heading out on a brutal road trip. The Kings will play eight games over 13 days on the road and will not be back in Sacramento until February.

Thunder – Oklahoma City has the second game of a back-to-back set on Monday night in Los Angeles against the Clippers. The Thunder will then head back to the Bay Area on Wednesday night to take on Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors in a nationally televised game.

Kings play the Cavs tough but come up short 120-108

Cleveland Cavaliers v Sacramento Kings
Kings Ty Lawson scored 17 points against the Cavaliers Photo: NBAE

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento — The Kings had the unenviable task of taking on LeBron James and the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night on their homecourt. The Cavs came into the game losers of two consecutive games and they were not looking to make it a three game losing streak. Cleveland did win the game 120-108 but after making look like they would just runaway with it in the first half, the Cavs found out the Kings have some fight in them this season as they made a battle of it in the second half.

The Kings (16-23) ran into trouble early as DeMarcus Cousins picked up two personal fouls in the first quarter and had to go to the bench with 4:18 remaining the period . The Cavaliers took advantage of the Kings big man being off the floor and ripped off 10 quick points to take a 32-15 lead into the second quarter.

In the second quarter, Kings head coach Dave Joerger took a big chance when he returned Cousins to the floor with 9:52 remaining because the Cavaliers were threatening to run away with the game. The move had the desired affect as Cleveland outscored the Kings just 29-28 in the period behind Cousins’ 11 points. Even more importantly, the Kings center did not pick up another foul in the quarter. At the half, Cleveland led Sacramento 61-43 but there appeared to be a pivot in the game. Frankly, the Cavs seemed to lose focus and possibly interest in the game late in the second quarter.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Sacramento Kings
Cousins had a big night versus Cleveland despite early foul trouble Photo: NBAE

After halftime, the Kings picked up where they left off in the first half. In the third quarter, it was Rudy Gay who picked up the offense scoring 11 points (4-for-6 shooting, 1 3-pointer, 2-of-3 free throws). Cousins had only three points in the quarter but had four assists as the team ran the ball through him on the high-post. Sacramento outscored the Cavaliers 31-23 in the third. The Kings shot 70.6-percent (12-for-17) from the field and hit 4-of-5 (80-percent) 3-pointers in the period. After three quarters, the Cavaliers led the Kings 84-74.

What the Kings needed in the fourth quarter was a run of 10 to 12 unanswered points. It looked like that was going to happen early in the quarter when Sacramento went on a 6-0 run and cut the Cleveland (29-10) lead to just six points. But, that was as close as the Kings would come to regaining the lead. Ty Lawson scored 13 in period for the Kings while Kyle Korver led the Cavs with eight points. When the final buzzer sounded, the Cavaliers had won the game 120-108.

The Kings Dave Joerger was a proud coach

“Good game – proud of our guys. We got off to a slow start. We didn’t make a lot of shots in the first half and we turned the basketball over 14 times, so they were able to get out and run. I had them for 24 fast break points in the first half. They ended up with 24. We cut it down in the second half a little bit. I’m happy about how we battled. We got three stops in a row 11 times which we haven’t done for a long time. And, we fought like crazy. They’re a good team. They present a plethora of problems to solve and that was a good experience for our guys and I was happy that we kept battling.

Stars of the game

  • Kings – While there were others with bigger numbers, no player had any more important stats than guard Ty Lawson. Lawson scored 17 points in the game and shot an impressive 7-for-10 from the floor. But what was really impressive about his scoring was that 13 of those 17 points were scored in the fourth quarter. Lawson shot 5-for-6 in final period. He played like a man possessed. A man who wanted to win the game.
  • Cavaliers – Again there were other players with larger numbers but Kyle Korver and his 18 points really stood out in the game. Korver was playing in just his third game for Cleveland since being traded from Atlanta. He had not even been able to have a full practice with the team before beginning to play for them. Kover did have the opportunity to participate in a shootaround on Friday morning and it looked like it paid off. Korver shot 7-for-10 from the field while hitting 4-of-6 from “downtown”. He also recorded five rebounds (1 offensive), two assists and two steals in the game.
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Kyle Korver had his best game for his new team in Sacramento on Friday night Photo: NBAE

Co-stars

  • Kings – DeMarcus Cousins posted maybe his most impressive double-double of the season. The big man scored 26 points and dished out 11 assists. The Kings made a nice adjustment against the Cleveland defense and started running the ball through Cousins on the high-post. When his teammates were moving to open space, Cousins was finding them and setting them up to score. Former Kings head coach George Karl who we know was not a big Cousins fan on many levels, called the center the best passer on the Kings multiple times last season. It seems Karl got at least one thing right.
  • Cavaliers – Iman Shumpert finished the game with 16 points for Cleveland, but he did his real damage in the first quarter. The talented guard went a perfect 3-for-3 (all 3-pointers) from the floor in the opening period. Those nine points helped to propel the Cavs out to a 32-15 lead that ultimately the Kings would never be able to overcome in the game.
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Iman Shumpert’s first quarter scoring influenced the entire game for Cleveland Photo: NBAE

Other key players

  • Kings – Rudy Gay 23 points and 10 rebounds (5 offensive); Darren Collison 13 points and four assists; Matt Barnes eight points and five rebounds in 17-minutes on the floor (his coach said in retrospect he should have probably played Barnes more).
  • Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving 26 points (10-for-22 shooting); LeBron James 16 points and 15 assists ( how’s that for a double-double?); Kevin Love 15 points and 18 rebounds.

The numbers game

  • Both teams shot over 50-percent from the floor: Cleveland 50.6-percent (44-for-87) Sacramento 52.5-percent (42-for-80)
  • There were 24 3-point baskets made in the game. The Kings shot a very nice 9-for-25 (36-percent) from beyond the arc. The Cavs made it rain as they hit 15-of-37 (40.5-percent) from downtown as teams continue to burn the Kings from beyond the 3-point line
  • The Kings out-rebounded the Cavaliers 42-39. They also were slightly better on the offensive glass grabbing 11 to the Cavs 10
  • Turnovers were a big problem for Sacramento in the first half as they committed 14 of their 21 miscues in the first 24 minutes. The Kings turned the ball over 21 times which resulted in 26 points for the Cavaliers. Cleveland took better care of the ball turning itover just 12 times but the TOVs did turn into 20 points for Sacramento.

Up next on the schedule

The Kings will be back on the floor on Sunday when they host Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Golden 1 Center. The Kings beat the Thunder in Sacramento back in November 116-101 behind a 36 point effort from DeMarcus Cousins. Westbrook scored 31 for the Thunder in that contest. The game on Sunday night tips off at 6 p.m.

The Cavaliers are off until Monday when they will play their archrivals the Golden State Warriors in Oakland in a nationally televised game.

Kings grind out a win in Memphis 96-92

Sacramento Kings v Memphis Grizzlies
Cousins takes the shot in Memphis photo: NBAE

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings went into Memphis seeking a win in a city where they had not recorded a victory since 2009 but have posted 12 straight losses. The Kings were also taking their new head coach Dave Joerger back to the city where he was the head man for three years and an assistant coach for six years before they went their separate ways after last season.

If that was not enough motivation, the Kings also needed to bounce back the demoralizing loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night 132-98.

The Kings did respond to all of those motivating factors and beat the Grizzlies on the road 96-92. It was not a pretty win. Both teams played very physical basketball and packed the paint rather than depending on the 3-point shot to win as the Rockets did in Houston. Ironically in a game that was not about 3-pointers, the Grizzlies Troy Daniels made it a 3-point game with 55.3-seconds remaining in the game with a “trey” from 26-feet away from the basket.

The Kings were able to hold on following Ty Lawson hitting 1-of-2 free throws to win the game 96-92.

Kings coach Dave Joerger sounded a bit conflicted after the game

“Kind of a crazy game. A lot of fouls – a lot of free throws, but from a personal stand point a very difficult day for me. You know … to come in here having spent as much of my love and time and family  in this community and we love it. It was not an enjoyable game to coach from that aspect. But, now I’m here and these are my guys now. I’m really proud of them. I congratulated them. We’ve had some great efforts … or performances I should say. Kosta Koufos was fantastic tonight. I thought Garrett Temple had a nice game. I thought Darren (Collison) got us in and out of stuff,” said Joerger after the win.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Memphis Grizzlies
Marc Gasol talks with his former coach Dave Joerger before the game in Memphis photo: Justin Ford USA Today Sports

Koufos and Temple step up big for Sacramento in the win

  • The Kings were without two key players on Friday as Rudy Gay – a former Grizzly – did not dress due to a right hip flexor strain and Omri Casspi sat out due to illness
  • Garrett Temple started at shooting guard and responded by scoring 17 points, grabbing six rebound, adding four assists and two steals in 37-minutes of playing time. Temple shot 4-for-11 but went 3-for-6 from long range was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. He may be playing himself into the role of starting shooting guard
  • Kosta Koufos – another former Grizzly – may have played his best game of the year to date. He scored a season-high 16 points and made it a double-double by hauling in 13 rebounds. Seven of his rebounds were offensive boards that kept possessions alive. Koufos got his running baby hook shot going the way he likes for the first time this season in the game as well. The downside in his night was he hit just 2-of-6 from the foul line
  • DeMarcus Cousins had some struggles with the physical play of the Grizzlies particularly in the first half. He shot just 2-for-10 and scored only nine points in the first 24 minutes. In the second half, the big man shot 5-for-10 and scored 13 points to bring his total points to a game-high 22. Cousins did get into foul trouble picking up his fifth personal with 6:02 to go in the game. He fouled out of the game with 1:27 remaining which gave hope to a surging Memphis team
  • Darren Collison scored 11 points and dished out six assists in 37-minutes at point guard in the victory
  • Other contributions: Matt Barnes seven points and 10 rebounds; Anthony Tolliver nine points; Ben McLemore – who started at forward – scored eight and Ty Lawson added six points
Sacramento Kings v Memphis Grizzlies
Temple on the dribble-drive in Memphis photo: NBAE

Kings (10-16) team numbers were not great but were good enough for the win

  • Shooting: 31-for-80 (38.8- percent) – you do not record a win shooting under 40-percent very often
  • 3-point shooting 7-for-24 (29.2-percent)
  • Free throw shooting 27-for-37 (73-percent) missed free throws could have cost the Kings this game
  • 45 rebounds including 13 offensive boards
  • Turnovers 12 which led to nine Memphis points
  • Points off turnovers – Sacramento score 17 points off 13 Memphis turnovers
  • 18 assists, six blocked shot and five steals

Memphis (18-10) played their typical “grind house” game

  • The Grizzlies are not a team that is going to outshoot you from 3-point land or overwhelm the opposition with their overall shooting percentage. They are a defense first team that is most comfortable scoring in the paint
  • Memphis matched the Kings scoring 36 points in the paint
  • The Grizzlies just edged out the Kings in second chance points 15-13
  • Memphis out-rebounded Sacramento 47-45
  • The Grizzlies shot 37.7-percent (29-for-77) from the field and 5-for-20 (20-percent) for 3-pointers and Troy Daniels hit four of those shots.
  • Memphis tried to take advantage of their free throw opportunities going 29-for-36 (80.6-percent) from the line
  • Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies scoring attack with 20 points. Tony Allen added 16, Troy Daniels put in 13 while Andrew Harrison recorded 11 to go with Zach Randolph’s 10
Sacramento Kings v Memphis Grizzlies
Koufos guards Gasol Photo: NBAE

Coming up on the schedule

The Kings move on to Dallas where they will face the Mavericks on Sunday. The game time has been changed because the Cowboys game has been moved to Sunday Night Football. The game will now tipoff at 1 p.m. PST. The Mavericks lost a heartbreaker to the Jazz in Utah on Friday night 103-100 on a last second 3-point basket.

Speaking of the Jazz, they travel to Memphis to play the Grizzlies on Sunday.

The other shoe just dropped in the Matt Barnes – DeMarcus Cousins NYC club fight story

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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Photo NY Daily News

If you are old enough to remember the movie “All the President’s Men” which chronicled the infamous break-in of the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate office complex, the key informant – “Deep Throat” – told the two young investigative reporters “to follow the money”. When unusual events happen to famous people or organizations, Deep Throat’s advice is usually a very solid approach to uncovering the truth – “follow the money”.

According to TMZ Sports, two of the people involved in the melee at The Avenue nightclub in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City early on Monday morning have filed lawsuits against Sacramento Kings players Matt Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins was known to have been present during the incident but had not been the subject of the alleged violence that took place inside the club. Only Barnes had been mentioned as a possible suspect in the fight.

TMZ is reporting that Jasmine Besiso and Myrone Powell have filed suit against Barnes and Cousins claiming they were “brutalized” by the players.

The lawsuit reportedly breaks the events down as follows:

  • Besiso and Powell claim they were just “hanging out” when Barnes came up to Besiso and started to choke her
  • Powell says he then tried to intervene to stop the attack and that is when Cousins became involved and punched him in the face
  • After Powell was struck, Barnes supposedly released Besiso and elbowed her in the face, knocking her unconscious
  • Myrone says he taken to the ground and Barnes and Cousins kicked and punched him in the head and body
  • NYPD was called and responded but Barnes and Cousins were gone by the time the authorities arrived
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Photo: NY Daily News

The “victims” rep says it was a serious situation

  • The alleged victims representative called the incident a “vicious and unprovoked attack” according to TMZ
  • The same spokesperson called Cousins’ first involvement a “blindside punch”
  • The rep also stated the two persons who are suing were taken to hospital by ambulance and treated for what they called serious injuries – which were not specified

The defendants also had something to say

  • A representative for Matt Barnes had stated earlier that Barnes and his party were attacked after he accidentally bumped a person in the club’s VIP section
  • Barnes himself has encouraged everyone to understand there are two sides to every story
  • Cousins or any of his representatives have yet to make a statement concerning the incident

No charges have been filed in NYC

  • Initial reports had the NYPD ready to charge Barnes as the assailant based on video it had obtained – presumably from security cameras inside the club
  • That informantion was given to TMZ Sports by a person who was “not authorized” to speak about the situation
  • There have also been unconfirmed reports that Barnes was in communication with NYPD before leaving the city for Dallas
  • The fact that no charges have been filed yet does not mean none will be filed – it is truly a wait and see situation while the incident is investigated
  • Obviously, a lawsuit would be enhanced if criminal charges were brought forward and a some type of a guilty verdict or plea resulted from those charges

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The Kings have still issued just one statement related to this event

“We have clear standards of conduct and behavior expected of the entire Kings organization – on and off the court. We are working with all parties involved to gather information in order to take any appropriate next steps.”

How long will the NBA remain silent?

  • Do not mistake silence for complacency – you can take it to the bank that NBA security is actively investigating this situation as you read this article
  • Naturally the NBA wants to give the NYPD room to do its criminal investigation and is hoping that no legal charges will be filed as a result of this incident
  • Even if no criminal charges are brought forward that does not mean Barnes and Cousins are out of the woods with “the Association”
  • The NBA standards of acceptable behavior may well be above what is acceptable by the laws of the State of New York – this entire event may well have negative results for Barnes, Cousins and the Kings even criminal charges and civil lawsuits are avoided

Post incident video

TMZ has posted video that it says was taken outside the club just after the events transpired. You can view the video at http://www.tmz.com/category/tmzsports