Kings win fifth consecutive game behind Cousins 48 point performance

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Sacramento Kings
Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento – On Saturday night in Sleep Train Arena, it was DeMarcus Cousins’ world and the rest of us were privileged to live in it.

The Kings won their fifth consecutive game downing the Indiana Pacers 108-97 behind Cousins’ 48 points and 13 rebounds. Cousins literally controlled the paint on the offensive end of the floor fighting off two and three defenders on his way to the basket.

The Kings went on a 7-0 run to open the game and served notice that they had come to play and play hard. Sacramento led the game wire to wire as they posted their 20th win of the season.

A game that appeared to be a possible “cake walk” for the Kings turned into a battle on both ends of the floor. The Kings controlled the paint outscoring the Pacers 58-32 down low. The Pacers turned up their defense and held the Kings to 44.7-percent (38-for-85) shooting from the floor and causing Sacramento to turn the ball over 15 times resulting in 19 Indiana points.

Kings head coach George Karl said before the game that his team would have battle the very athletic hands of the Pacers. Indiana lived up to that billing making the Kings work hard for every point they scored after the opening run.

Sacramento also brought its defense to game. The Kings held the Pacers to just 41.9-percent (36-for-86) shooting from the floor. It was the second consecutive game that the Kings held their opponents under 100 points. Sacramento had averaged giving up 107.4 points per game coming into Saturday night’s contest.

The Kings had not won five consecutive games since October 31 to November 7,2014. Sacramento’s record now stands at 20-23. They are now 12-11 at home.

The loss caused Pacers record to fall to 23-21. Indiana has lost five of their last six games.

Kings

Cousins scored his career-high 48 points going 17-for-29 from the floor. He was 1-for-2 from 3-point range and 13-for-20 from the free throw line. Cousins recorded a double-double by grabbing 13 rebounds. He played a game-high 39 minutes.

Rajon Rondo posted another triple-double against the Pacers. Rondo scored 11 points, distributed 10 assists and pulled down 10 rebounds in the game. It was his sixth triple-double of the season and made Rondo the all-time leader in the Sacramento era in that category.

Willie Cauley-Stein played another strong game for Sacramento. He played 34 minutes scoring six points and recording 12 rebounds. Five of those rebounds were on the offensive end and extended possessions for the Kings.

Darren Collison scored 11 points, Kosta Koufos 9, Omri Casspi 8, Marco Belinelli 7, Ben McLemore 5 and James Anderson 3.

The Kings won their second consecutive game without Rudy Gay on floor. Gay missed the game due to a left heel contusion.

Pacers

Paul George led the Pacers scoring attack putting up 34 points. George shot 9-for-20 from the field but was 4-for-8 from beyond the 3-point arc. He also went 12-for-14 from the free throw line.

Center Jordan Hill scored 17 points and had 13 rebounds to make it a double-double game for him.

Monta Ellis scored 16 points while dishing out seven assists for the Pacers.

Lavoy Allen put up nine points, Myles Turner 11, George Hill 8 and Joe Young 2.

What they said after the game

Kings head coach George Karl called DeMarcus Cousins performance, “Pretty special. They kind of didn’t have an answer and they were letting us have almost everything. I think what Cuz didn’t do at a high level tonight was make the 3-ball. Even his mistakes or turnovers or his forced issues at times were still pretty powerful for us; kept the rhythm, kept the flow.”

Karl added, “His (Cousins) skills are off the chart, his hands, and his ability to put it on the floor and get to the rim. Defensively he’s good, maybe very good. He does all of the fundamental nature of the game of basketball at a high, high level.”

“Honestly I’m more happy about the win,” said Cousins after the game. “I’m glad I got a new career high, but I’m more happy about the way this team is playing. We’ve been through a lot this season – a lot of ups and downs, but we’re on the right path right now. I think we’re growing each and every game. Like I’ve been saying, my mindset is just playoffs.”

“Well they went to him (Cousins) every time down the floor for 48 straight minutes”, said Indiana head coach Frank Vogel. “You get 29 field goal attempts and 20 free throw attempts – that’s high usage. That’s what the analytics people call a high usage rate. Our top big man defender is out. Guys that were in there – our three bigs – battled, did the best they could, but he’s a big load. He’s a load and when he’s going to get touches every single time … he’s going to put up those kind of numbers.”

Up next

The Kings will be back on the floor Monday night when they host the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets beat the Kings 127-122 in overtime on November 23, 2015.

Indiana heads home to host the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

Kings come up short versus Dallas 93-91

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Photo credit: Garrett Ellwood

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Heading into Sunday’s game with the Dallas Mavericks, the Kings had to answer two big questions. First, how would they bounce back after being humiliated by the Warriors 102-69 on Friday night? Second, how would play versus Dallas – a team in a three-way fight for the final two spots in the Western Conference Playoff race?

The Kings did bounce back from Friday night in a big way. Sacramento took Dallas down to the wire but ultimately came up short losing to the Mavericks 93-91.

After the game, Kings Head Coach Michael said, “It’s real simple. We’ve been in a lot of close games this year and we have to find a way to stop beating ourselves.” Malone was frustrated with his team’s rebounding and lack of second-chance points.

The Kings defense held Dallas to just 40.4-percent (36 for 89) shooting for the game but allowed the Mavs to shoot 41.9-percent (13 for 31) from beyond the 3-point line. Dallas hit five of those 3-pointers coming down the stretch in the fourth quarter which propelled them to the win.

The Kings were much improved on the ball handling side. They committed just 13 turnovers and recorded 21 assists. The problem for Sacramento was the 13 turnovers resulted in 21 points for the Mavericks. Dallas scored more than one-half of their points on turnovers and 3-point conversions.

The Kings were led by Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins. Gay was the leading scorer in the game with 32 points, and he added eight assists. Cousins recorded his 49th double-double putting up 28 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Gay and Cousins put the team on their backs and tried to carry them to victory.

Ray McCallum led the Kings on the point for the seventh straight game as Isaiah Thomas was still unavailable on Sunday. McCallum played all but 19-seconds of the game. He scored eight points and added nine assists. McCallum also had four rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot. He turned the ball over just three times.

Travis Outlaw was active all game and hit two key 3-point baskets in the final period to keep the Kings in contention for the win.

As a team the Kings shot 47.4-percent (36 for 76) from the field. They shot just 27.8-percent for 3-pointers. Sacramento shot 70.0-percent (14 for 20) from the free throw line. It was a game where literally one 3-point basket or three additional free throw conversions wins the game for the Kings.

The Mavericks were led by former Warrior Monta Ellis. Ellis scored 23 points off 19 shots, hit two 3-pointers, grabbed four rebounds and recorded four assists. Vince Carter had a productive game scoring 17 points in just 24-minutes of play. Carter was four of nine from 3-point land. Dirk Nowitzki put up 15 points on 17 shots in the game. Jose Calderon added 14 points that included four 3-pointers.

The Mavericks turned the ball over 10 times and allowed just eight points off those turnovers. Dallas out-rebounded the Kings 45-40.

The Mavericks record improves to 47-31 with the victory and has them in seventh place in Western Conference Playoff standings. Dallas now has a two game lead over eighth place Phoenix.

Dallas Head Coach Rick Carlisle said after the game,” We knew it was going to be a dog fight but the good thing is that we stayed together.  Dirk Nowitzki came in and made some big free throws at the end, but they came down and got a returned shot at one point. We’re happy with the win but we need to do much better.”

The Kings have five games remaining in the 2013-14 season and three of them are home games. Up next for the Kings is the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday in Sacramento. The Kings will be trying to avoid the season series sweep as the Thunder have won the previous three meetings. Sacramento will then go on the road to take on the Trail Blazers in Portland on Thursday. The Kings are 1-2 on the season versus the Blazers. Sacramento will then head to Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Saturday before heading home to host the Minnesota Timberwolves next Sunday.

Peja Stojakovic was in the house on Sunday afternoon as the Kings continue to reconnect with the star players from the past.

Curry Surprises Jackson With Buzzer-Beater Over Mavs In OT On Coach’s Birthday

By Matthew Harrington
Warriors coach Mark Jackson received quite the birthday gift from his All-star guard Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena in Dallas. Stephen Curry hit the game-winning shot with .1 seconds remaining in overtime to cap a Golden State 122-120 upheaval of the Dallas Mavericks (44-31). As coach Jackson blew out the 49 candles on his cake, the Dubs created a little bit of breathing room in the Western Conference playoff picture. Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs entered play Tuesday with 44 wins, just one less than their foes from California. The Warriors (46-28) have two games in hand over Dallas.

Curry’s game-winner in the extra session, his third career buzzer-beating basket, was a culmination of a 43-minute, 23-point effort. Fellow guard Klay Thompson topped Golden State on 27 points, going 11-for-24 from the field including 4-of9 from downtown. Jermaine O’Neal, starting at center with Andrew Bogut not making the trip nursing a sore groin and David Lee in street clothes for the third-straight game, picked up 20 points and 8 rebounds. Marreese Speights’ 9 rebounds paced the Warriors.

Ex-Warrior Monta Ellis did his best to sink his former franchise, shooting 11-for-23 with 27 points. Mavs perennial All-Star Nowitzki contributed a game-high 33 points over 39 minutes of play and converted the double-double on a game-high 11 boards.

The Warriors connected on a blistering 57.1 shooting percentage, making 52 shots on 91 attempts including nearly half (15) of their 31 shots from beyond the arc. Mark Cuban’s club held the advantage in turnovers, forfeiting possession 8 times to the visitors’ 12. The Mavericks somehow managed to keep Golden State from going to the free throw line for the entirety of the second half.

The Warriors overpowered their hosts in the first, racing out to a 30-21 lead after twelve minutes of play. Dallas bombarded Golden State with 41 second-quarter points, the most the Warriors have yielded in a single frame this season, while limiting the visitors to 23 points for a 62-53 halftime edge.

It took the Warriors nearly ten minutes of play in the third to catch up to Dallas when Speights rolled in a layup to make it 78-all before Vince Carter hit one of two free throws to restore the slim Mavs one-point edge. The Warriors would score seven of the last nine points for an 85-81 lead after three frames.

Dallas capped a 10-5 run to open the fourth with a Carter basket to pull ahead 91-90 nearly four minutes in to the final stanza of regulation. The Warriors briefly wrestled the lead back from their foes but found themselves trailing 106-102 with 1:43 until the final horn. Andre Iguodala and Thompson sandwiched three-pointers around an Ellis jumper to knot things up a 108 a piece with a minute left but that would be the last basket of regulation as the teams would require an five-minute overtime to decide the victor.

Dallas opened the final five minutes on a Dirk jumper before Jermaine O’Neal hit only one of two free throws to pull the Warriors within one at 110-109. O’Neal represented the first Warrior to head to the charity stripe since Thompson completed the and-1 play with 2:55 left in the second quarter. From there the two teams would go shot-for-shot over the next five baskets before a Thompson trey preceded a Curry 16-foot jumper to put the Dubs up 118-117 over halfway through OT.

The Mavs’ Jose Calderon responded with a three of his own before O’Neal took a Draymon Green feed to the rim to knot things up at 120-all. The Warriors were looking for a quick basket to force a last-possession chance, a goal achieved when Green connected with O’Neal with 28 seconds left.

On the penultimate Dallas possession of the game, Ellis tried to take the winning shot but he was rejected on the layup by O’Neal. On the next Warrior possession Curry connected on the off-balance jumper with a tenth of a second remaining. The Mavs couldn’t connect on the in-bound deflection play, and after a brief review, the Warriors win was official.

Golden State looks to give Jackson a second belated gift Wednesday evening. They continue on to a showdown in San Antonio with the Spurs at the AT&T Center where they haven’t won since Valentine’s Day of 1997, just six days before then 31-year-old point guard Jackson was dealt from the Denver Nuggets back to the Indiana Pacers. After the second leg of the Texas road trip the Warriors return to the West Coast for a showdown with in-state rivals, the Sacramento Kings, Friday night at Oracle Arena.

Warriors remain hot, saddle Mavericks for fifth straight win

By Joe Hawkes

OAKLAND — The Golden State Warriors haven’t been just on a roll since the All-Star break, but they are serving notice that they will be a factor come playoff time.

Ask the Dallas Mavericks.

Golden State had five players score in double figures helping the Warriors slow down the Mavericks, 108-85 Tuesday night at Oracle Arena. The Warriors picked up their fifth straight win, and improved to 10-2 since the All-Star break, tied with the San Antonio Spurs (10-2) for tops in the NBA.

Jordan Crawford led Golden State with 19 points and led a Warriors bench that outscored the reserves for Dallas 53-34. Harrison Barnes also scored in double figures with 13 points off the bench.

Klay Thompson scored 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting, and Stephen Curry added 10 points, but was 4 for 12 from the floor (1 for 5 on 3s). David Lee scored six points, but grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds in 29 minutes. Golden State has made it a habit of outscoring their opponents in the third quarter.

In the last two games, the Warriors have outscored their opponents 62-30 after halftime, which has been key to keeping teams down and making it difficult for a comeback.

The real story was the play of Andrew Bogut.

Bogut provided a little more offensive punch for the Warriors, scoring 15 points (all in the first half) to go along with 10 rebounds. Bogut was a huge part of holding the Mavericks to 37-percent shooting from the floor, and handing Dallas (38-27) their second loss to the Warriors this season.

Former Warrior Monta Ellis finished with 15 points and Jose Calderon added 13 points and five assists. Dirk Nowitzki had 12 points, but scored just four points in the first half and was defended well by Lee for the majority of the game.

Dallas is having a hard time just holding on to the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs and this loss further weakens their grip. Dallas leads the Phoenix Suns by 1.5 games in the standings with 17 games to go in the regular season.

This was a win that the Warriors needed, especially with the big game in Los Angeles against the Clippers Wednesday.

Golden State has won two of the three matchups against their Pacific Division foe this season, but the Clippers are hotter than the Warriors, winning their last eight games.

 

Curry’s late game heroics lift Warriors over Mavericks, 95-93

By Gabe Schapiro

On Wednesday night at Oracle Arena the Golden State Warriors (13-10) made another late comeback at home, this time toppling the Dallas Mavericks (13-10), 95-93. A little over a week ago the Warriors overcame a 27-point deficit to beat the Toronto Raptors. Tonight didn’t quite match that historic effort, coming back from being down “only” 18, but it was another one that anyone in attendance won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

As has become an unfortunate habit of late, Golden State had a dreadful start. They began the game shooting an abysmal 4-for-21 from the field, and had some butter fingers, turning the ball over often. After the first quarter they were already facing a seven-point deficit, kept that low only because Dallas was only slightly less horrible.

In the second quarter the Warriors shooting improved ever so slightly, but by halftime they had already racked up 10 turnovers, and were still just scoring at a 39.5% clip. Andrew Bogut was their biggest saving grace. He was a beast down low, blocking two big shots of the “woah” variety, and hauling in 12 rebounds. At one point in the second quarter the Mavericks held their biggest lead of the night with 18, but towards the end Golden State started chipping away.

Coming out of the locker room the Warriors defense woke up. They played with a much higher sense of urgency, and as a result the buckets started hitting as well. They still didn’t look great, but it was far from the dreadful performance witnessed in the first. Heading into the final 12 minutes they had cut the Dallas lead down to a much more manageable six points.

It should be noted that up until this point Stephen Curry was, for the most part, having one of his worst games of the year. He wasn’t making much and he was turning the ball over often. In the fourth quarter, that all changed.

That sweet stroke of Curry’s can only stay cold for so long, and when it mattered most he caught fire. With five minutes remaining a Curry jumper finally brought the Warriors back to a tie game. From their both sides traded blows and traded their share of the lead.

But on this night Curry just simply wouldn’t be denied. With 46 seconds left the game again stood at a stalemate, 93-93. The Mavericks missed their chance to win it, and with 1.5 seconds left, of course the ball went to Curry. And Curry would not miss his chance.

A Curry pump-fake got his defender, Shawn Marion, to leave his feet, giving him all the opening he needed to nail a 19-foot jumper. That gave the Warriors their second consecutive huge comeback win at home.

Curry finished with a game-high 33 points, to go along with 10 assists. 17 of those points came in the fourth. David Lee also posted a double-double, 15 points and 11 boards. Bogut finished with six points, and a season-high 18 rebounds. Draymond Green played a big 28 minutes off the bench, filling the stat sheet with nine points, five rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and a steal.

In the losing effort Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points and seven rebounds. Monta Ellis, in front of his former home, chipped in 21 points and five assists.

As exciting as these games are, the Warriors need to work on having better starts. Miracle comebacks can’t always be counted on. They will look to do so this Friday against the tough Houston Rockets.