Kings drop a close one in Philly 122-119

philly-cuz
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.

Nik Stauskas meets the press in Sacramento

Image                                             Photo credit: Sports Radio Service

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Nik Stauskas the newest member of the Sacramento Kings met the press on Saturday morning at the Kings’ practice facility. Stauskas was the eighth pick overall in the NBA Draft and was a surprise selection to many of the draft experts who have expressed displeasure with the Kings’ choice.

Stauskas said being drafted started to sink in while traveling to Sacramento. “I think yesterday having a lot of travel I had some time to sit on the plane … I got to take a couple of minutes to sit back and reflect on everything  I’ve been through and the fact that I’m here now. I am extremely happy and excited to get to work.”

Stauskas wanted to make sure the fans in Sacramento know that he is here to improve and play hard. “I want to let people know here that I’m not satisfied with being just a NBA player. Obviously it has been my goal to get here now to this point. Now that I’m here I need to reevaluate things and make new goals. I’m a very motivated kid. I’ve had a chip on my shoulder my entire life and I want to keep it that way because I know that’s what’s going to keep me successful. Just moving forward, I want you guys (the press and fans) to know that I will be giving 150-percent every day to help this team win and help myself be successful as well.”

The press wanted to know more about the chip on Stauskas’ shoulder. “Well the chip on the shoulder started as young kid growing up just outside of Toronto where … no one really pays attention to basketball in Toronto (like) here in the U.S. Now they do because we have a lot of kids coming from there. I feel like I was never recognized and that kind of motivated me to show out and let people know how good I was. That’s been the case my whole life. And even when I got to Michigan my first year, I had players like Trey (Burke) and Tim (Hardaway,Jr.), Glenn Robinson (III). These were projected lottery picks, so I always felt like I had something to prove.

Stauskas wanted to be sure the Sacramento fans know that he is all about basketball. “Basketball is what I love to do. It’s what makes me happy. I hope that people will get the sense when I’m out there and I’m talking a little bit of trash that that’s just me out there having a little fun and enjoying the hard work I’ve put into it.”

Stauskas’ uncle was the person who introduced him to the game. “My uncle was the first one to invite me to play basketball for his club team when I was a young kid. I don’t what it was about the game of basketball, but I just seemed to love it and it made me happy. The more I played the better I got. The better I got the more I wanted to play. It just became a cycle and being a fan of the Toronto Raptors I looked up to bunch of NBA players … just watching them and the lives they live just inspired me to be like them.”

The next question to Stauskas was obvious – who was your favorite Toronto Raptor? “I loved Vince Carter when he was there. I got a chance when I was young to meet him and play with him when I was like nine-years old. That was a huge moment for me because was like god and he couldn’t do any wrong. To meet him, to see him play and to be the face of the franchise was one the things that motivated me to become an NBA player.”

Even though his plane did not arrive in Sacramento until 11:30 PM Friday night, Kings’ fans were there to greet Stauskas as exited the plane. That reception made an impression on the newest King. “Yeah, it’s awesome. I’m so excited to be here in a city where the fans are passionate about the team and supportive. Coming from just outside Toronto where no one really knew who I was and coming to Sacramento – a city I’ve never been to before – and have fans stay up late to welcome me at the airport is a dream come true and really made me feel happy. I want to send a special thank you to everyone who came out and supported me yesterday.”

The Nik Stauskas era has begun in Sacramento. If confidence and drive count (and they do), Stauskas is going to be an exciting addition to the Kings.

Kings take shooting guard Nik Stauskas at No.8

By Charlie O. Mallonee – Sports Radio Service

The Sacramento Kings surprised the experts on Thursday night by selecting shooting guard Nik Stauskas from the University of Michigan. The experts were predicting the Kings would draft a power forward or a point guard at number eight. The Kings drafted shooting guard Ben McLemore out of Kansas last year. McLemore saw an increasing amount of playing time in the second-half of the 2013-14 season. Does the selection of Stauskas mean the Kings are giving up on McLemore or could Stauskas have been drafted as a piece for a potential multi-player trade with someone like the Detroit Pistons? As the great expert continues to say on a regular basis, “Only time will tell.”

Stauskas is a 6’6”, 205 pound shooting guard from Etobicoke, Ontario. He played his high school ball at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts before heading to the University of Michigan. Stauskas was voted the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2014. He was named to All-Big Ten First-Team and to the Associated Press All-American Second-Team last year. Stauskas was selected to the NCAA Tournament All-Midwest Regional Team for his play leading the Wolverines to an Elite Eight run. Michigan lost to Kentucky, the eventual tournament champions, 75-72 in the Elite Eight.

Stauskas led Michigan in scoring in 2014 averaging 17.5 points per game which ranked third in the Big Ten. He shot 47.0-percent from the field and 44.2-percent from three-point range. Stauskas is an 82.4-percent free throw shooter.

Stauskas is an elite shooter with a quick release and great mechanics. The experts say he has unlimited range and is comfortable shooting off the dribble or on pull-ups. Stauskas is solid ball-handler with a good first step and the ability to make plays off the bounce pass. He is also known as an unselfish player who will make the extra pass. David Aldridge of NBA.com had Stauskas as the number-one shooting guard available in the draft.

When asked how he felt about being selected by the Kings Stauskas said’ “I’m excited about the city and the organization. They have a great young corps there. I’m excited to get in there and help the team win some games.”

Responding to a question about being drafted after the Kings selected shooting guard Ben McLemore last year he said, “I feel like I can play multiple positions. Moving forward in the NBA I feel I can play a little bit of the one (guard) and some two. I know this team has kind of struggled shooting the ball and that’s obviously the best part of my game and spreading the floor and knocking down shots is what I’m excited about doing for this team.”

“A lot of guys who come to Michigan, the guys who were under recruited, we play with a chip on our shoulder,” he said on ESPN. “Me and Trey we felt we had something to prove and coach Beilein and the assistant coaches they’ve all done a great job and they gave us a great system to play in and we really succeeded in it.”

“You’re playing with Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. you have to take a backseat somewhat,” ESPN analyst and former Wolverine Jalen Rose said on the broadcast. “He improved his ball handling, he got stronger, able to finish at the hoop, knock down three-point shooter and he’s fearless. He’s one of those guys who goes on the court and thinks, I’m the best player out there.”

Michigan holds off late Cardinal surge

 

By Daniel Dullum

Thanks to some clutch free throw shooting by Nik Stauskas, Michigan held off Stanford 68-65 Saturday in a non-conference men’s basketball contest at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Cardinal (8-3) had won seven of their last eight games going in, including a notable road win over No. 10 Connecticut on Wednesday. But they came up short in their bid for back-to-back road victories on the East Coast.

Stauskas, who led the Wolverines with 19 points, sank two crucial free throws with nine seconds remaining in the second half. Glenn Robinson III added 17 points for Michigan (7-4), which turned the ball over only eight times. Wolverines reserve Zak Irvin added 12 points.

Stefan Nastic equaled his season-high of 14 points for the Cardinal, but he fouled out with 5:24 to play. Chasson Randle, meanwhile, led Stanford with 18 points.

Stanford pulled to within one point in the second half, but could never get ahead of the Wolverines, who surged ahead at the 14:42 mark of the first half and never trailed for the remainder of the game.

Michigan’s Caris LeVert missed a pair of foul shots with 45 seconds remaining in the second half, which left the door open for a Cardinal comeback. After Grant Verhoeven made 1 of 2 free throws for Stanford with :44 showing, the Cardinal chose not to foul and Robinson’s layup put Michigan up 66-62 with 14 seconds left.

Chasson Randle’s 3-pointer cut the Cardinal deficit to 66-65 before Stauskas hit his two foul shots that gave Michigan some breathing room. Randle’s last-second 3-point attempt was short as time expired.

It was Michigan’s first game since dropping a 72-70 home decision to No. 1-Arizona on Dec. 14.

After a holiday break, the Cardinal return home on Sunday, Dec. 29, for a non-conference game against Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.