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.

Who are these guys? Kings tame the Mavs 133-111

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Sacramento Kings
Photo Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Dallas Mavericks (35-38) came to Sleep Train Arena on Sunday as a team that needed a win to stay alive in the playoff hunt. The Mavs began the contest as the number nine team in the Western Conference. When the game was over, Dallas was still in ninth place one-half  game behind the Rockets for final spot in the playoffs.

The Sacramento Kings (29-44) really have nothing left to play for except for professional pride. The Kings made themselves proud on Sunday as they ran the Dallas Mavericks out of the building and won the game 133-111. It was the Kings second consecutive win on their home court in three days.

The Kings scored 30-plus points in three of the four quarters. Sacramento never trailed the Mavs in the game. The Kings put up a game-high 39 points in the third quarter.

That third quarter production is key because the Kings have been in many games this season where they played well in the first half only to fall apart in the third quarter. They did not suffer that kind of humiliation in this game.

This was a team victory. The Kings had eight players score in double figures and posted a season high 72 points off the bench. They shot 62.2-percent (51-for-82) from the floor for the game which is a season high. Sacramento shot 45.0-percent (9-for-20) from beyond the 3-point line.

The Kings had 32 assists and turned the ball over just 11 times for an outstanding 3-to-1 ratio. They recorded 11 steals and three blocked shots versus Dallas. Sacramento outscored the Mavs 68-46 in the paint.

This was a dominant performance against a team that is fighting for their playoff lives. If the Kings could have put together five to six games like this earlier in the season, they would fighting for a playoff berth.

Kings

The Kings leading scorer was – no it was not Cousins. Rookie Willie Cauley-Stein put up 21 points to lead the Kings in scoring. Cauley-Stein added seven rebounds and two assists to his line score. The Kings youngest big man also played some very tough defense in his 28-minutes of playing time.

DeMarcus Cousins did have another double-double game putting up 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to go with five assists and two steals. Cousins recorded those numbers in just 28 minutes on the floor.

Rajon Rondo had another double-double game scoring 11 points and dishing out 11 assists. Rondo turned the ball over just two times.

Darren Collison led the Kings scoring off the bench with 17 points. Collison shot 7-for-11 from the floor and added four assists plus one steal.

Seth Curry got his second consecutive start for Sacramento. The other Curry scored 14 points and added three assists and one steal. He scored all 14 of those points in the third quarter. Curry shot 4-for-4 from the floor, 2-for-2 from 3-point land and 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

Ben McLemore returned to the line up after having been out due to a finger tip injury. The shooting guard added 14 points hitting on 5-of-9 shots.

Casspi and Koufos scored 10 points each. Rudy Gay scored nine while Quincy Acy added seven points.

Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki failed to dominate the game for Dallas. He scored 14 points but shot just 6-for-15 from the field. Nowitzki never seemed to get into the flow of the game on Sunday.

Guard Raymond Felton led the scoring for the Mavs with his 15 points. Felton also had five assists and two steals.

J.J. Barea put up 14 points. Former Warrior David Lee scored 12 points off the bench.

The Mavericks shot a respectable 47.7-percent (42-for-88) for the game. Dallas went 8-for-24 from behind the 3-point arc.

Up next

The Kings have to play the second game of a back-to-back on Monday night in Portland versus the playoff bound Trail Blazers. Sacramento is 3-14 in the second games of back-to-backs this season.

The Mavericks also have a back-to-back scheduled as they play the Nuggets on Monday night in Denver.

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

by Michael Martinez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kings play “D” in NYC; beat Knicks 88-80

knicks 3-20=16NBA – Getty Images

by Charlie O. Mallonee

“It (the game) had a lot of ugly to it, but it’s a win,” said Kings head coach George Karl after his team beat the New York Knicks 88-80 in Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.

In full disclosure, the Knicks played without Carmelo Anthony who was sidelined with a migraine that he experienced during the game in Washington on Saturday. The Knicks are 0-8 this season when “Melo” is not in the line up. Much like the Kings without Cousins, NYK is not the same team when their All-Star player is not on the floor.

The Kings used defense to win this game. This may have the best defensive effort by Sacramento all season. The Kings held the Knicks under 20 points in first, third and fourth quarters. Sacramento did have a major defensive lapse in the second quarter when New York scored 35 points, but unlike other games this season, the Kings were able to regain their defensive footing.

The 88 point effort was the Kings lowest scoring total of the season.

Sacramento did an excellent job defending the 3-point arc allowing NYK to hit on just 4-of-19 3-point attempts. The Kings also limited their own turnovers to just 12 that resulted in just nine points for the Knicks.

The stars on offense were the two starting centers. DeMarcus Cousins and Robin Lopez had 20/20, double-double games. Cousins scored 24 points and grabbed 20 rebounds to go with four assists and two blocked shots. Robin Lopez put up 23 points and hauled in 20 rebounds for New York.

For Cousins, this was his 10th 20/20 game of his career.

The Kings are now 27-42 on the season. The loss drops the Knicks record to 28-43.

Kings

Rudy Gay turned in a 17-point performance versus the Knicks. Gay did not have a spectacular night shooting going 8-for-21 from the floor and just 1-for-6 from 3-point land.

Darren Collison had an interesting game. Collison scored 13 points. All of those points came in the first half. He played a game-high 40 minutes and dished out six assists.

Rajon Rondo had a very quiet game scoring just two points and distributing six assists. Rondo did not play with his signature headband on in this game.

Omri Casspi led the scoring off the bench for Sacramento. Casspi scored 15 points hitting on 5-of-9 shots from the field.

As a team, the Kings shot just 39.8-percent (35-for-88) for the game. They converted 7-of-25 3-point attempts. Sacramento was out-rebounded 55-49. The Kings allowed New York to grab 19 offensive rebounds.

Knicks

Kristaps Porzingis – the Knicks rookie sensation – scored 13 points but struggled shooting from the floor. Porzingis hit on just 6-of-17 shooting and was 0-for-4 from beyond the 3-point arc.

The Knicks had two strong performances off their bench as Jerian Grant scored 14 points and former King Derrick Williams added 11 points. The New York bench outscored the Kings second unit 35-29.

NYK shot just 35.2-percent (32-for-91) from the field. The Knicks turned the ball over 15 times resulting in 22 points for the Kings.

Up next

The Chicago Bulls will play a major role for both teams this week.

The Kings traveled to Chicago after the game and will play the Bulls on Monday night.

The Knicks are off until Wednesday when they will play the Bulls in the Windy City.

 

Pelicans sweep season series vs Kings

by Michael Martinez

picture credit Jacob Gonzalez

SACRAMENTO- The Kings had a great win last night in Los Angeles and things were looking up, but then the team came home. Recently, the Kings have struggled mightily at home and tonight was no different. The defense was flat out bad tonight especially in the first half.

The difference tonight was El Dorado Hills native, Ryan Anderson. Anderson’s huge second quarter change the game completely and the Kings really never had a chance thereafter.

The Oak Ridge high grad put up 21 points in the second quarter on 8-11 shooting, 3-4 from the field. The forward’s huge second quarter put the Kings down 74-53 as he made the defense look silly.  Some of his shots were incredible, but nonetheless giving up 74 points was inexcusable. As a team, the Pelicans shot 83.3% in the quarter.  The Kings offense slowed down in the second quarter, scoring 22 points to New Orleans’ 41. The Pelicans’ had their largest lead of the half in the second when they were up by 24 points.

Fans booed the Kings towards the end of the quarter as the Kings gave up the most points in a half all season. Maybe that sparked some fire under Sacramento’s belt out of the locker room.

Out of the break, the Kings scored 10 straight points and cut the deficit down to 11, looking for some hope. But New Orleans never let the Kings get any closer, going up by 21 points at one point in the third quarter.

The Kings continued to struggle while New Orleans kept pouring it on. The Pelicans’ largest lead of the game came in the fourth as they went up by 27 points at one point. New Orleans absolutely dominated the Kings tonight and there was really no question about if they would get the win. Although the Kings only lost the game by 15, 123-108, the Pelicans out played the Kings in every aspect.

The loss is not all that surprising with the Kings recent struggles, plus they have not been able to defeat New Orleans. This is their sixth straight loss to the Pelicans who won all four games this season. And as the Sleep Train Arena starts to see its last games, the Kings have dropped seven consecutive games on their home floor and the games really haven’t been all that close.

The Pelicans shot 54.4% from the field and an astounding 57.1% from behind the arc, knocking down 12 three-pointers.

Anthony Davis finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds, while Anderson totaled 29 points. New comer Tim Frazier scored 14 points for New Orleans and added nine assists.

Darren Collison was the Kings’ leading scorer with 23 points. DeMarcus Cousins finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for another double double. Cousins now has 26 double doubles in his last 32 games he’s played in.

The Kings once again showed struggles in playing back to back games. Heading into the contest, the team was 3-12 when playing consecutive games and now that makes it 3-13. It is difficult to play without three of the team’s guards, including Rajon Rondo, but there’s no excuse for the team’s poor effort tonight.

Sacramento is now 26-41 and will head to Detroit to take on the Pistons on Friday. With the season coming to an end, maybe it’s best for the Kings to hope for the best possible draft pick and regroup next season.

 

Without Cousins, Kings drop fourth straight

by Michael Martinez

picture credit Rocky Widner/Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Without DeMarcus Cousins the Kings struggled to find offense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Kings fall to the Cavs 120-111

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Sacramento Kings
Photo Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Cleveland Cavaliers –  featuring “King” LeBron James – rolled into Sacramento on Wednesday to kick off a four-game West Coast swing. If you are a Cavs fan, you were very pleased with the result as Cleveland (45-18) downed the Kings 120 – 111.

The surprise may have been that James was not the star of the game. Kyrie Irving took that role as he scored 30 points shooting 11-for-22 from the floor including three 3-point baskets. Irving hit on five of six tries from the free throw line. He was literally at the right place at the right time for the Cavs for the entire game.

It was a hard fought contest that featured eight lead changes and eight ties. The Kings led at halftime 60 – 54. Then came the third quarter and one of the Kings dreaded “black holes”.

Cleveland outscored the Kings 35 – 24 in the third period. The Cavs shot 13-for-20 from the floor and hit on five of eight 3-point attempts. They out rebounded the Kings 11 – 7. The quarter ended with Cleveland leading 89 – 84 and they would never look back.

The Kings (25-38) put up a good fight in the fourth quarter and cut the Cleveland lead to three points with 2:37 remaining in the game. The Cavs used their offensive rebounding ability to get second and third chance shots to run away with the game.

Kings

The Kings were led by DeMarcus Cousins’ 29 points. The Kings big man had to fight for those points as he shot just 8-for-22 from the floor. He struggled from the free throw line going 12-for-18 from the stripe. Cousins missed the front end of a two shot opportunity from line five times in the second half. It was another double-double game for Cousins as he pulled down 11 rebounds.

Rudy Gay had a good night for Sacramento scoring 19 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assist in 41-minutes of playing time.

Darren Collison started in the place of the injured Ben McLemore and scored 15 points. Collison alternated with Rondo on the point and distributed eight assists and added two steals.

Rajon Rondo did not have a great night for the Kings. He scored 11 points and had six assists but seemed frustrated all night long by the defense of Irving and JR Smith.

Omri Casspi scored 13 points while Caron Butler added seven, Kosta Koufos five and Willie Cauley-Stein four points.

Sacramento shot 47.6-percent (40-for-84) from the field and hit eight of 22 (36.4-percent) of their 3-point shots. The Kings struggled from the free throw line making just 23 of 32 opportunities (71.9-percent) from the charity line.

The Kings were out rebounded 51 – 38. They gave up 15 offensive rebounds to the Cavs. That is just too many second-chance opportunities to give a team as powerful as Cleveland.

Turnovers were not a problem for Sacramento. The Kings gave up just six points off 10 turnovers in the game.

Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving had plenty of help on his way to a 30 – point night. All five of the Cleveland starters finished in double digits.

James scored 25 points. Tristan Thompson – who started for the ill Timofey Mazgov – put up 18 points and added 15 rebounds. Kevin Love scored 17 points despite shooting just 4-for-13 from the floor. JR Smith added 15 points.

The Cavs shot 43.3-percent (39-for-90) for the game. They went 13-for-44 from beyond the 3-point line. Cleveland took advantage of their opportunities from the free throw line converting 29 of 35 opportunities.

The Cavaliers turned the ball over 14 times which resulted in nine points for the Kings.

What they said after the game

“We play good teams. We do a lot of good things for extended periods of time then we hit a black hole or it seems like we run short,” said Kings head coach George Karl. “They didn’t miss a lot of shots, even in the fourth quarter, but it was the offensive rebounds, scramble situations where we didn’t come up for the loose balls. It’s kind of frustrating. We’re playing pretty damn good basketball at times; (we) just don’t have that edge or that finishing way of winning a game against them.”

“Well coming into the game we said we want to play with pace but we know this team plays at a great pace,” said Cleveland head man Tyronn Lue. “Number one in pace. I think second in fast break points so we don’t want to get out there and get wild. I think the team kind of misunderstood what I was saying so in the third quarter we want to play at our pace. We want to attack downhill. We want to get easy open three’s. We want to get to the basket. If we don’t have it, then pull it out and run something. I thought in that third quarter they scored but we were able to score also. We scored fast.”

Up next

The Kings will practice on Thursday and return to action on Friday night when they host the Orlando Magic in Sacramento.

Cleveland travels to Los Angeles where they will face the Lakers on Thursday night. That will be the second game of the doubleheader on TNT.

 

Turnovers cost Kings in New Orleans

by Michael Martinez

picture credit USATSI

SACRAMENTO-I’m just as confused as the next person who watched tonight’s game against the Pelicans. The Kings looked dominate early on and played great basketball, however the team could not find a way to close out.

Turnovers and lackluster defense hurt this team especially down the stretch. After leading for the majority of the game, the Kings let a 17 point lead in the third quarter completely vanish. And while the Kings kept holding onto their lead, they let the Pelicans come back late and win the game, 115-112.

Out of the gate, both teams scored very quickly. Offense came in a hurry and the Kings started with a fast paced tempo. This allowed Sacramento to take the lead for most of the quarter, but the Pelicans never quit.

Up 27-20 with 3:35 left in the first quarter, the Kings allowed New Orleans to go for a 10-0 run that ended after Omri Casspi put back a lay up for the Kings’ first field goal in two plus minutes.. The Pelicans held a 30-29 lead, but Casspi knocked a pair of free throws to regain the lead. The Pelicans would finish the quarter with the lead after Alonzo Gee made a layup and was fouled with .3 seconds in the quarter. Gee made the free throw to put the Kings at a disadvantage after one, 33-31.

DeMarcus Cousins and Norris Cole put on a scoring frenzy for their respective teams. Cousins finished with 13 points and Cole scored 14 for team highs. The Pelicans shot 56% from the field, but their seven turnovers allowed the Kings to keep it close. Rajon Rondo added five points and five assists with Rudy Gay scoring seven.

The second consisted of a lot of scoring runs. New Orleans started it off with a 6-0 run, 9-0 continuing from the first quarter. But the Kings were able to hit a 9-0 run of their own. Again, the Pelicans scored 5 straight to take a 44-40 lead.

Sacramento once again answered with an 11-0 run to lead 51-44. Jrue Holiday stopped the run with a lay up but the Kings kept their scoring up. The Pelicans turnovers really cost them. Their 15 first half turnovers led to 18 Kings’ points. The Kings largest lead in the quarter was 15 and Sacramento would hold a 63-50 lead heading into the locker room.

Cousins held a game high with 23 points in the first quarter and tallied nine rebounds. The Kings shot at 54.2% in the half as they dominate the second quarter with their uptempo offense.

The third quarter is where things changed. Pelicans’ head coach Alvin Gentry picked up a technical before the third started. Gay hit the free throw for a 14 point lead before any time came off the clock.

Anthony Davis was dominate and chipped away at the Kings’ early 17 point lead. Davis kept the Pelicans right in the game in the third and the score was 89-83 after three. Cousins was once again phenomenal but Sacramento had seven turnovers in the third, which led to eight Pelicans’ points. The turnovers allowed the Pelicans to hang around even after the Kings had been up by so much.

The Pelicans started the final quarter with a 6-0 run to tie it up at 89. The Kings answered right back with an 8-0 run to go back up, 97-89. Sacramento was unable to figure out a way to close out the resilient Pelicans. The turnovers cost Sacramento again as they gave the ball away seven more times in the fourth quarter.

Holiday was huge for the Pelicans with nine fourth quarter points. With a little under two and a half to play, the Kings had a 108-106 lead. Cousins knocked down a pair of shots at the charity stripe to go up 110-106. Davis had dunk to keep the game within two.

With a under a minute remaining, the Pelicans had the ball. The Kings left Dante Cunningham wide open for a three and the forward nailed the jumper. The Pelicans took the lead 111-110. Holiday came up big as he knocked down a shot after a Sacramento miss to put the lead up to three.

Out of the timeout with 12.8 to go, Gay was able to score a quick two. Cole was then fouled and made both free throws. Darren Collison rushed to bring the ball up court and lost it to Holiday who let time expire.

Cousins was his usual self, scoring 40 points and grabbing 16 boards. Rondo had a nice game with 18 points, 10 assists but the point guard had five turnovers. Gay added a double double as well with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

The Kings shot the ball at a great 49.4 shooting percentage from the field but 24 total turnovers led to 22 points for New Orleans. Davis had 31 points and 10 rebounds. The backcourt duo of Cole and Holiday was key to the Pelicans success. Cole totaled 23 points and Holiday scored 20 while adding 10 assists for the double double.

After looking to have a sure win, the Kings will need to regroup and figure out how to close out games. This is the Kings’ second consecutive loss after losing to San Antonio on Saturday.

The Kings will take on the LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7 p.m. at Arco Arena.

Kings come up short in San Antonio 104-94

NBA: Sacramento Kings at San Antonio Spurs
Photo Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

George Karl has talked all season about the tendency of his Sacramento Kings (25-36) to fall into “black holes” and lose games because of it. A black hole to Karl is a loss of momentum that continues for seven to eight possessions allowing the opponents to go on a scoring run that the Kings ultimately cannot overcome.

The Kings played well in the first half against the Spurs (53-9) trailing by just three points at halftime, 57-54. As the third quarter began, Sacramento fell into a proverbial “black hole” and allowed San Antonio to go on a 12-0 run led by Kawhi Leonard’s nine points in the opening minutes of the period. The Spurs would outscore the Kings 29-13 in the third and would go on to win the game 104-94.

As the game began, it appeared the Kings had drawn the lucky straw. Spurs head coach Greg Popovich had decided to rest Tim Duncan and Danny Green. A third San Antonio starter – LaMarcus Aldridge – was unable to answer the bell due to a migraine headache. A situation that should have been advantage Kings was negated by the outstanding play of Leonard and Manu Ginobili who returned to the team after missing 12 games due to surgery.

Kings

Sacramento was led by DeMarcus Cousins who scored 31 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Cousins shot 50.0-percent (10-for-20) from the floor and hit on 10 of 15 free throw attempts.

Quincy Acy had a monster game starting at forward for the Kings. Acy – who is known more for his defense that his offense – scored 16 points for his team. Acy was a perfect 7-for-7 including two 3-pointers from the field.

Rajon Rondo had a quiet night scoring nine points, recording just one rebound and dishing out eight assists.

Darren Collison continues play well off the bench adding 12 points, seven assists and three rebounds.

Marco Belinelli – who had two strong outings heading in San Antonio – had a tough night versus his old team. Belinelli scored seven points going just 3-for-11 from floor.

Rudy Gay scored nine points, Ben McLemore (3), Omri Casspi (6) and Willie Cauley-Stein (1). Kosta Koufos was not available due to a case of food poisoning.

Sacramento shot 45.7-percent (37-for-81) and hit on six of 16 (37.5-percent) from 3-point land. The Kings struggled from the free throw line going just 14-for-21 (66.7-percent) at the stripe.

The Spurs out-rebounded the Kings 46-33.

Spurs

MVP-candidate Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 25 points despite going just 9-for-24 from the floor. Leonard made it a double-double game by hauling in 13 rebounds.

Manu Ginobili played just 15 minutes in his return to play but he scored 22 points in that limited playing time. Ginobili shot 8-for-12 from the floor and went a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

The Spurs shot 49.4-percent (40-for-81) from the field. They were just 8-for-23 (34.8-percent) from beyond the 3-point line. San Antonio shot an impressive 84.2-percent (16-for-19) from the charity stripe.

The victory lifted the Spurs record to 30-0 at home for the season.

Up next

The Kings will wrap up their four-game road trip on Monday night in New Orleans. The Kings are 0-2 versus the Pelicans this season. Sacramento desperately wants to finish 2-2 on this road trip to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. They will have to play better against Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson than they have so far this season if they want to post a win in “the Big Easy”.

 

 

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.