@warriors photo: Golden State Warriors Kevin Durant (left) and Draymond Green (right) address the media at press conference after their game one win at Oracle Arena on Saturday
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
OAKLAND — It almost felt like forever since we’ve seen the Warriors dominate a basketball game from start to finish.
Until Saturday afternoon.
Already without All-Star point guard and two-time MVP Stephan Curry, the defending NBA Champions started their title defense with a 113-92 victory over the visiting San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
The win extends Golden State’s win streak to six games in postseason openers, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
Both Kevin Durant and Draymond Green flirted with triple-doubles, as Durant finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists; while Green chipped in with 12 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists.
Klay Thompson finished with a game-high 27 points. San Antonio had no answer for Thompson, especially coming off of hard screens from Warriors’ bigs, allowing Thompson to shoot 11-of-13 from the floor including 5-of-6 on 3’s in the game.
Golden State held the edge in assists (32 to 19), rebounds (51 to 30) and points-in-the-paint (34 to 22) over the Spurs. The Warriors shot 44-of-81 from the floor (54.3-percent) and 10-of-22 on 3’s (45.5-percent).
Golden State held a 86-63 lead, their biggest of the game, at the end of the third quarter and they never looked back from that point.
JaVale McGee, who made his fourth career postseason start, finished with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting in just 16 minutes of action was the real story. The 7-foot McGee had two of Golden State’s six blocks and for now, looks like the best center in head coach Steve Kerr’s center-by-committee rotation which includes, Zaza Pachulia and Damian Jones in the mix.
Rudy Gay led San Antonio with 15 points off the bench, to go along with a team-high six rebounds, while LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio’s leading scorer during the regular season at 23.1 points per game, scored just 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting in 24 minutes played.
San Antonio was cold from the floor in Game 1, connecting on 32-of-80 (40-percent) of their shots. The Spurs can take some comfort that they did committed fewer turnovers (13 to 15) and shot better at the free throw line (19-of-24 to 15-of-22) than Golden State.
Second-year shooting guard Bryn Forbes added 14 points in 25 minutes for San Antonio.
Golden State is looking to eliminate San Antonio from the playoffs for the second-straight postseason. The Warriors completed a four-game sweep of the Spurs in last season’s Western Conference Finals in route to a 16-1 finish in the postseason and their second championship in three seasons.
The Warriors are 6-2 in the postseason against San Antonio at home.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Monday night at Oracle Arena.
Controversy reigned in the Kings 102-99 loss to the Bulls on Saturday night in Chicago. With 17.1-seconds left in the game, Dwyane Wade stripped Garrett Temple of the ball and broke for his basket. Wade was trailed by Kings defenders. The superstar guard blew his slam dunk opportunity which would have given his team the lead. As Wade came back down to the floor, he was brushed by the Kings DeMarcus Cousins.
Cousins was called for a foul. Wade was awarded two free throws. He converted 1-of-2 free throws to give Chicago a 100-99 lead with 14-seconds to go in the game.
The Kings turned the ball over on their possession and the Bulls scored to put the game in the win column for Chicago.
On Sunday, the NBA released the Last Two Minute Officiating Report. At the 14-second mark the report reads: Cousins (SAC) has his hand on Wade’s (CHI) back while he is airborne, but he does not extend his arm and push him and the contact does not affect the shot attempt. The report notes a foul was called. The conclusion of the review is listed as IC – incorrect.
No one who was watching the game and who then saw the replays has any disagreement with the report’s conclusion. The only problem with the report is there is no remedy for the Kings. The result is really a statement to the Kings by the NBA of – “Hey SAC, our bad!” When your team is 16-27 and has lost five games in a row, that does not mean anything to the team … really.
Update on Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay will go under the knife in New York City on Monday, January 23 to have his ruptured left Achilles tendon repaired. The surgery will take place at the Hospital for Special Surgery and be performed by Dr. Martin O’Malley.
Gay suffered the season-ending injury in the third quarter of the game against Indiana on Wednesday in Sacramento.
Rudy Gay fell to the floor at the Golden 1 Center on Wednesday night with 14.3-seconds to go in the third quarter of the game with the Indiana Pacers. When that happened, everything about the Kings current campaign changed and what will happen with the team’s personnel in 2017-18 may also have been affected as well.
The diagnosis is as bad as it gets
A full MRI on Thursday revealed that Gay suffered a full rupture of the left Achilles tendon. The tendon will require surgery to repair. The surgery has not yet been scheduled.
Rehabilitation is tough and recovery is not assured
Dr. Steven M. Raikin wrote in Sports Illustrated back in April 2015 about the recovery issues associated with an Achilles tendon and his notes are sobering:
The Achilles is the largest and strongest tendon in the body so when it is injured it is always serious
70-percent of Achilles ruptures are sports related and nearly one-half happen while playing basketball
It tends to be a “weekend warrior” type injury but pro athletes are not exempt: see Kobe Bryant
Following a rupture the tendon almost never returns to 100-percent and 36-percent of NFL and NBA players are never able to return to pro sports following the injury
The recovery/rehab period is usually about a year in order to return to competition
Players returning after an Achilles surgery experience up to a 50-percent decrease in power and will usually play 3-4 seasons after they return to competition
Rudy’s plans for next season have probably just changed
Gay had notified the Kings that he intended to opt-out of the final year of his three-year contract to test the free agent market at the end of the 2016-17 season. A player with Gay’s skills and experience under the new salary cap and CBA should be able to upgrade their salary package considerably in “the Association’s” current market conditions. The Kings were expected to bid for Gay’s services but in the open market there were certainly no guarantees that he would be back in purple and white in 2017-18.
Given the sudden turn of events and the one-year rehab process that Gay is facing, a $14,263,566 contract for next season may look much more attractive than it did 48-hours ago. No team is going to be willing to invest big money in a player until they know what his abilities are going to be on the floor following recovery and rehab. Gay has to protect his family and himself by staying under contract to Sacramento while recovers and then hopefully has the chance to show NBA teams he is ready to play in the second-half of next season.
This changes things for the Kings personnel decision makers
NBA observers had been calling on the Kings to trade Gay ever since the forward had declared he intended to opt-out of the final year of his contract. The experts said the team could not afford to just let a talent like Gay walk away for nothing in return.
The problem for the Sacramento management has been their team’s flirtation with the number eight spot in the Western Conference and the chance to make the playoffs. Portland, Denver and Sacramento have all been battling for that final playoff position and the Kings believe they needed Gay’s 18.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game to make the playoffs a reality for their team. It is difficult to argue with their point of view.
Now, the dream of making the playoffs continues but it does so without Rudy Gay’s considerable talents in the lineup. The fact that Gay will probably be on their roster and unavailable until at least mid-January 2018 also changes how the Kings have to plan their player personnel acquisitions and revenue for next season.
There is a little light at the end of the tunnel
The Kings have played 11 games this season without Rudy Gay in the starting lineup when he was sidelined with a hip flexor injury. Sacramento had a record of 5-6 in those games without Gay in the lineup.
The Kings have to hope that their production without Gay in the starting lineup was not a fluke and that they can pick up the slack in quick order.
SACRAMENTO–For a year, and maybe longer, the Kings have contemplated life without Rudy Gay. Now that the reality has arrived that the Kings will play the second half of their season without the high risk, high reward forward, the reality that this moment couldn’t have come in a more devastating manner has arrived as well.
With the Kings leading the Pacers by 10 points in the third quarter on Wednesday, Gay put his head down and attempted to attack the rim from the left wing. But in an instant, and immediately following his first step, the 30-year old was felled by what would be diagnosed as a season-ending, leg injury, most likely a torn Achilles, pending a thorough inspection.
Unable to put any weight on his foot, Gay was carried to the locker room by teammates. That moment was just one of many during a second half collapse that saw the Kings squander a 19-point halftime lead, allowing the Pacers to escape with a 106-100 win.
The loss capped a 1-7 homestand that has Sacramento looking in from the outside of the playoff race, with an eight-game road trip starting Friday in Memphis. But the playoffs weren’t on the mind of the players after the game.
“That’s a tough thing to watch, man. I hate it for him,” DeMarcus Cousins said. “I spoke to him and told him I’ll keep you in my prayers.”
Gay missed eight games in December, and the first two games this month, as the Kings struggled to find a rhythm without then with their high-scoring forward. With him, the Kings dropped five of their last six games–all at Golden 1 Arena–despite Gay scoring in double figures in all six.
But that pattern was familiar with Gay in the lineup. Despite his solid offensive numbers, the Kings often struggled with him as ball movement and shot making lagged, while the team also struggled defensively. That prompted the constant trade rumors as the Kings reportedly listened, but never found a suitable deal. Now, with Gay’s absence, GM Vlade Divac will have to consider another trade chip to shake up his club, and bring valuable shooting and defense to a team that’s dropped eight of ten.
On Wednesday, the Pacers did the Kings no favors with their rollover act in the first half, in which they trailed by as many as 22 points and looked lifeless. Starting guard Jeff Teague got into early, foul trouble, and the Pacers were embarassed on the glass, getting out-rebounded 24-11 in the first half.
But in the second half, Teague returned, and the Pacers roared, outscoring the Kings 65-40 in the final, two quarters. When Gay went down late in the third quarter, the Kings were still in control, but the injury was in the midsts of a 9-0 run for Indiana that had things much closer just minutes into the fourth.
Indiana took the lead for good with 1:55 remaining on a pair of made free throws by Teague. Cousins missed two of his four free throw attempts down the stretch, as the Pacers scored nine of the game’s final 11 points to win it.
The Kings fell 1 1/2 games behind Denver with the loss, with the Nuggets currently occupying the eighth and final playoff spot. The Kings also trail the Blazers, and are percentage points behind the Pelicans as their skid has tightened the standings.
On Friday, the Kings open their road trip in Memphis against the Grizzlies at 5pm.
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.
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
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.
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sacramento — The Golden State Warriors played their first game in the new Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on Sunday night and found the new arena to their liking. The Warriors – who were coming off an overtime loss on Friday to Memphis – started the game slowly but recovered in the second half to post their 33rd victory of the season with a 117-106 win over the Sacramento Kings (15-22). The Kings have now lost three games in a row on this current homestand.
The Kings started the game with a high energy performance. Sacramento outscored the Warriors 33-24 in the first quarter behind a 15-point opening period barrage put on by Rudy Gay. Gay shot 6-for-8 from the floor including one 3-point basket. The Kings shot 54.2-percent (13-for-24) from the field and hit 4-of-10 shots from behind the 3-point line.
The Warriors began to work their way back into the game in the second quarter behind Klay Thompson’s 10 points. The Warriors won the second period 27-25 but the Kings went to halftime with a 58-51 lead having never trailed Golden State in the first 24 minutes of play.
The real Golden State Warriors showed up in the third quarter. The Warriors followed the lead of Stephen Curry who scored 12 points while shooting 5-for-7 including two 3-pointers in the period. Golden State hit 60-percent of their field goals (15-for-25) and 50-percent of 3-point tries (4-of-8) en route to outscoring the Kings 39-22 in the quarter. The Warriors defense also tightened up holding DeMarcus Cousins to just three points and limiting the Kings to a 31.3 field goal percentage. Golden State led 90-80 at the end of three quarters.
The Kings tried to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter but while they shot very well (57.1-percent 8-for-14) Sacramento was unable to put together any type of run which is what they needed to really cut into the Golden State lead. The Warriors defense did an impressive job of keeping DeMarcus Cousins from becoming a factor holding him to just four points and two rebounds in the final period.
Golden State sets more records
The Warriors have now gone 124 consecutive regular-season games without a back-to-back loss which is an NBA record. Golden State has now won their last 17 regular-season games after loss with their victory on Sunday.
The win was also the Warriors 13th consecutive victory over the Kings. That is Golden State’s longest active win streak over any opponent. This win streak is the fourth-longest active win streak against one opponent in NBA history.
Rudy Gay was the Kings star of the game in his second start since coming of the injury list with a hip flexor problem. The major portion of Gay’s production came in the first half, but he had a strong overall performance in his 35-minutes of playing time. Gay scored 23 points, had two assists and added two blocked shots. He went 9-for-17 from the floor including two 3-point baskets.
While this may seem cold, the Kings management has to be pleased with Gay’s performance because it has to make his trade value increase. Gay has already declared that he is going to opt-out of the final year of his contract with Sacramento. Several teams including the OKC Thunder have been rumored to be interested in the veteran forward. The Kings cannot afford to let a player of Gay’s talent go and not get something in return.
Would it painful to see him go? Yes. Does it have to happen? Virtually every expert observer of the game says the Kings must get something in return for Gay.
Picking the top performer for Golden State is easy. I’m sorry … excuse my yawn. Yes, it’s Stephen Curry. Curry scored 30 points, had six assists and added two steals to his box score. The MVP shot 11-for-22 overall and 5-for-11 from 3-point land. Simply put, the man is just incredible.
Co-stars of the game
For the Kings, it has to be DeMarcus Cousins. He posted another double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. He also had five assists, two steals and two blocks in the game. Only Cousins could have line like this and have people say that he had an off-game. The Warriors defense did make it a very tough night for the Sacramento all-star center.
The Golden State defense gets the nod for their co-star of the game. When you can take DeMarcus Cousins out of the game, a defense has done something right. They used the double-team to perfection while still covering the potential open shooters and were very physical with Cousins. Zaza Pachulia proved he can hold his own down low against star centers.
Kevin Durant get honorable mention with 28 points, six assists and four blocked shots.
Key stats that made a difference in the game
Points in the paint: Warriors 52 Kings 36 – this is an area the Kings usually do not lose
2nd chance points: Warriors 10 Kings 2 the next stat will explain this one
Rebounds: Warriors 46 (13 offense) Kings 31 (1 offense) another category the Kings do not lose
Fast break points: Warriors 28 Kings 3
Cousins technical foul
DeMarcus Cousins was called for a lose ball foul with 4:14 left to go in the first half of the game. As with most lose ball fouls, if you are a Warriors fan, it was a righteous call. If you are a Kings fan, it was a complete injustice.
Cousins thought it was a complete injustice. He let referee David Guthrie know what he thought of the call. Cousins then went to the bench and beat up a chair (Bobby Knight had to be so proud). Referee John Goble felt sorry for the chair and called a technical foul on Cousins – his 10th of the season. While not pretty, I am not sure the incident was worthy of a “tech”.
There was a feeling by some observers that Cousins play was still affected by the incident into the third quarter. His coach Dave Joerger did not agree. Joerger felt it was a combination of a strong Golden State defensive scheme and fatigue that influenced Cousins production in the second half.
Up next on the schedule
The Kings head back to the court on Tuesday when they will host the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons beat the Trail Blazers 125-124 in double-overtime on Sunday.
The Warriors will also go back to work on Tuesday when they will host the Miami Heat.
Sacramento- The Golden State Warriors traveled the I-80 to Sacramento Sunday night to face the Kings at the new Golden 1 Arena. The Warriors, still smarting from their stunning loss to Memphis Friday night, did not get off to a good start against the Kings. The Kings, behind red-hot Rudy Gay and Ty Lawson, led the Warriors by 16 two-thirds of the way in the second quarter. The Kings’ big man, DeMarcus Cousins committed his third foul with 4:14 left in the half. Cousins came out of the game. As he went to the bench, he lost his temper and pounded his chair. He was charged with a technical foul.The Warriors started to play defense and were able to cut the deficit to 7 as they trailed 58-51 at the end of 24 minutes of play.
The Warriors, as they have done so may times this season, owned the third quarter. They started the period with a 19-7 run and took the lead for the first time with 7:34 left in the quarter. They outscored the Kings 39-22 to finish the third quarter leading 90-80. The Dubs, behind the superb defensive skills of Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, and Andre Iguodala, did not let the Kings back into the game. The Warriors outscored the Kings 27-26 and won the game by a final score of 117-106.
Game Notes- Steph Curry led the Dubs with 30 points. Steph made 5 3-point shots and had 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Steph has now scored 30 or more points in his last 3 games. Kevin Durant knocked down 28 to go along with six assists, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots. Zaza Pachulia scored 10, and it was his fourth straight game in double figures. Draymond Green had 10 assists for the 12th time this season and the third time in his last four games. Draymond kicked in with nine points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots. Andre Iguodala posted 8 points, 5 assists, and 7 rebounds. The Warriors had 30 assists in a game for the 26th time this season. The Kings had six players in double figures. Rudy Gay had 23, DeMarcus Cousins 17, Anthony Tolliver 16, Darren Collison 14, Garrett Temple 14, and Ty Lawson 15.
The Warriors shot 50.6% from the floor and made 10 3-point shots. They Warriors outrebounded the Kings 46-31 and had 13 offensive rebounds. The Dubs blocked 6 shots and had 11 steals.They turned the ball over 17 times, and the Kings were able to score 24 points off those turnovers. The Dubs excelled in the paint as they scored 52 points. They also outscored Sacramento 28-3 in fast break points.
The Warriors defeated the Kings for the 13th straight time. The last time the Kings beat the Dubs was March 27th, 2013 and the last time the Dubs lost in Sacramento was on December 19th, 2012. The Warriors have now played 124 games without back-to-back losses.
The Warriors return home to face the Miami Heat Tuesday night at Oracle Arena. Game time is at 7:30 pm. They play the Detroit Pistons Thursday night at Oracle and then meet the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday Night January 16th (Martin Luther King Day) at 5:00 pm.The game will be on National TV.
Sacramento — The Sacramento Kings had the unenviable job of trying to get back into the win column against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. The Clippers (25-14) came into the game winners of two consecutive games despite being short-handed due to injuries.
The Kings (15-21) literally went to battle with their rivals from Southern California but were unable to cross the finish line victorious losing 106-98.
Kings head coach Dave Joerger analyzed the game this way: “Good competitive basketball game. They’re a very talented team. They made more shots than we did. The lack of seeing the ball go in affected some of the other parts of out game. We had a tough stretch in the second quarter … they got some transition three’s. All in all good basketball game. The guys competed.”
When asked how his team is going to be able to beat teams like the Clippers in the future, Joerger responded, “They have just got to keep working and playing as hard as they can. Play at as high of a level as they can. There’s nothing to hang your head about. They (the Clippers) are one of the five best teams in the league.”
The Kings cut the Clippers lead to just two points, 100-98, with 56.2-seconds remaining in the game. After Sacramento turned the ball over on a bad pass by Cousins under the basket, the Kings had no choice but to foul the opposition. The Clippers went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in final seconds while Kings were unable to score.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said, “The resolve, I thought that we showed in the fourth quarter was just fantastic. I love it.”
Key players returned for both teams
The Kings had been without Rudy Gay for nine games due to a right hip flexor strain. Gay was able to return to the lineup on Friday night and made an immediate impact scoring nine points in the first quarter.
Gay went on to play 33-minutes scoring 18 points and adding seven rebounds for his team. He shot 7-for-17 for the game and was just 1-for-3 from beyond the 3-point line, but there was bound to be some rust to shake off after the extended layoff.
Chris Paul made his return to the floor for the Clippers in the game. The all-star point guard had been sidelined for four consecutive games due to a sore left hamstring. Paul played 31-minutes and recorded a double-double by scoring 14 points and dishing out 12 assists.
Paul’s head coach, Doc Rivers, thought his defense down the stretch was what made the difference in the game for the Clippers.
The teams traded controlling the flow of the game
The Kings and Clippers each controlled the flow of the game in very distinct ways on Friday night. Sacramento was very much in charge in the first quarter as they outscored LAC 29-19 and shot 50-percent from the field. They seemed determined, ready and not totally dependent on DeMarcus Cousins.
Sacramento ran into a real rough patch in the second period as the Clippers erased their 10-point lead in less than six minutes. Los Angeles outscored the Kings 34-12 in the quarter behind the 3-point shooting of Austin Rivers and JJ Redick. Sacramento shot just 15-percent (3-for-20) in the period. At the half, the Clippers led the Kings 53-41.
Based on their play in the second quarter, the Kings could have been completely out of the game early if they did not come out strong after halftime. They responded to that challenge and shot the lights out in the third quarter. Sacramento behind Cousins’ 11 points outpaced the Clippers 32-22 in the period. The Kings shot 63.2-percent (12-for-19) from the field and hit 4-of-8 3-point opportunities as they closed the LA lead to just two points, 75-73, after 36 minutes of play.
The talent and experience of the Clippers came into play in the fourth quarter as they scored 31 points to the Kings 25. LAC shot 50-percent (9-for-18) from the floor and 50-percent (5-of-10) from 3-point land plus they converted 8-of-9 free throws in the final period. Chris Paul led the Clippers scoring attack with seven points all from the free throw line.
The Kings struggled as they shot 9-for-24 (37.5-percent) from the field and 33.3-percent (3-for-9) from long range in the quarter. They hit 4-of-5 from the charity stripe.
The flow of most games is not usually as defined as it was in this game and is much more difficult to uncover. In this game, it was almost like there was a giant flashing arrow pointing out a change in the direction of the flow of the game.
DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 25 points and made it a double-double game by grabbing 11 rebounds. Cousins spent much of the night on the high post in order to avoid foul trouble by battling with DeAndre Jordan and Luc Mbah a Moute.
Darren Collison was very productive playing the two-guard most of the game. He scored 20 points shooting 7-for-13 from the floor and hitting 3-of-6 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Ty Lawson put up 17 points while shooting 50-percent (6-for-12) from the floor. Lawson also distributed six assists from the point for the Kings.
Kosta Koufos played a diminished role with the change in rotation due to Gay’s return and the use of Collison and Lawson on the floor together. Dave Joerger praised Koufos for his professional attitude toward the changes. He scored seven points in 12-minutes of playing time. That was key playing time because it allowed DeMarcus Cousins to get very valuable rest.
Austin Rivers had another big game for LAC scoring 24 points in almost 36 minutes on the floor. Rivers hit 4-of-7 3-point shots.
DeAndre Jordan put up 20 points from the five spot on the floor. He was an incredible 9-for-10 on high percentage shots for the Clippers. Many of those shots were “slammed home with authority!”
JJ Redick did his job to perfection killing the Kings momentum with well timed field goals that totaled 19 points. Five of his six baskets were 3-point conversions.
Up next on the schedule
The Kings will return to action at home on Sunday night when they host the Golden State Warriors. Playing the Warriors is tough enough but now Golden State is going to come to Sacramento angry. The Warriors lost an overtime game at home to Memphis on Friday night. There were reports of anger between players spilling over in the locker room. Golden State will be determined not to lose two in a row.
The Clippers return to Los Angeles and will host the Miami Heat on Sunday at the Staples Center. The Heat lost to the Lakers 127-100 at Staples on Friday night. The Clippers have the opportunity to make it four consecutive wins in one week. That would be a nice way to kick off the new year.
8th place Western Conference – final Playoff slot if the season ended today
15.5 games behind 1st place Golden State
one-half game ahead of 9th place Portland
Home 7-8 Road 8-12
Last 10 games 6-4
Current Streak Lost 1
Los Angeles Clippers 24-14
4th place Western Conference
8.0 games behind 1st place Golden State
4.5 games behind 3rd place Houston
Home 13-6 Road 11-8
Last 10 games 4-6
Current streak Won 2
Results of last games played
The Kings suffered an embarrassing loss on Wednesday night at home to the lowly Miami Heat 107-102. The Heat came into the game with an 10-26 record and team that has been decimated by injury. Miami was without Hassan Whiteside (retinal contusion) and Justise Winslow (right shoulder that requires season-ending surgery). The Kings were without Rudy Gay (hip flexor) and coming off a win on Tuesday night on the road in Denver. The situation certainly seemed to favor Sacramento on their home court despite the back-to-back scenario.
The Heat came out fast and full of energy while the Kings seemed sluggish. Miami scored 64 points in the first half while shooting 63-percent. The Kings fought their way back into the game in the second half by virtue of a 13-0 run at the end of the third quarter. Ultimately, the Kings ran out of gas and lost the game.
With games coming up with the Clippers, Warriors, Cavaliers and Thunder on this homestand, the game with Miami was one the Kings could not afford to lose. Now, they have to try and get healthy against the always tough Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers have been hit hard by injuries. Point guard Chris Paul has been on the sidelines with hamstring problems and forward Blake Griffin is out due to “minor” knee surgery. The Clippers had to host the Memphis Grizzlies who played the Lakers in Staples Center on Tuesday losing 116-102. The Grizzlies were without JaMychal Green (maxilla fracture suffered in the Lakers game) and Mike Conley who was held out for rest after having missed games with a toe injury.
The Clippers were led by Austin Rivers who scored a game-high 28 points in 44-minutes on the floor. His coach and father Doc Rivers said they just could not take him off the floor. DeAndre Jordan posted a double-double putting up 18 points and grabbing 20 rebounds. JJ Redick punished the Grizzlies from outside scoring 19 points. Jamal Crawford came off the bench to add 22 points. LAC shot 50.7-percent from the field for the game and beat the Grizzlies 115-106.
The victory over Memphis was the second consecutive win for the Clippers who broke a six-game losing streak on Monday night with a win over Phoenix. Now, the Clippers will play in Sacramento looking to make in three wins in a row.
The Clippers beat the Kings 121-115 in the first meeting of the year back in November at the Golden 1 Center. Sacramento was down by as many as 26 points in that game but made a big run at the Clippers in the fourth quarter to close within two points, 117-115, as the game neared the close. The Kings were not be able to score again and lost by six points.
DeMarcus Cousins scored 38 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and had seven assists for the Kings. Blake Griffin put up 29 points for the Clippers while JJ Redick scored 26 hitting 6-of-8 3-point shots.
The Kings have listed Rudy Gay as doubtful as the hip flexor continues to plague the talented forward. Doubtful means there is a 25-percent chance of Gay playing Friday night. As much as the Kings need him, do not count on see Rudy Gay in this game.
Guard Ty Lawson scored 15 points against the Heat despite having a sub conjunctival hemorrhage right/blurred vision (or as one talk show host called it “a broken face”). As a precaution Lawson is listed as questionable which means he is 50-50 to play on Friday.
The Clippers have Chris Paul listed as doubtful but Doc Rivers said that the decision will be based on the guard’s condition after a full workout on Thursday. Paul and the team have made no secret that they would like to their star return to action on Friday night in Sacramento.
Blake Griffin (knee surgery) and Brice Johnson (herniated disc, lower back) are out and will not play.
What do the teams need to do to win
Sacramento needs to shoot well from midrange and from beyond the arc. The Kings are capable of shooting well from the floor. They shot better than 50-percent in the loss to Miami on Wednesday. Strong shooting performances from Barnes, Collison, Tolliver, Temple, Afflalo and Lawson – if he is able to go – will be necessary to help take the pressure off DeMarcus Cousins.
The Kings will also need a big night on the boards from DeMarcus Cousins. DeAndre Jordan will grabbing rebounds without abandon for the Clippers, the Kings will need Cousins to do the same for them.
The Kings defense will also need to concentrate on shutting down the 3-point shooting of the Clippers. JJ Redick will take every opportunity given to him to heave up a 3-pointer. This is a weak point for the Kings. They need to work hard on stopping the 3-point shots on Friday night.
LAC needs to shoot from beyond the arc until it hurts. This has been the Achilles heal of the Kings all season long. JJ Redick is a shooting guard who can destroy a team from 3-point land. He needs to establish that dominance early and often against the Kings on Friday night.
The Clippers will need a strong defensive performance from Luc Mbah a Moute and DeAndre Jordan to contain DeMarcus Cousins if they are to beat the Kings. If you stop Cousins, you stop the Kings. The problem is – it may take more than two players to stop Cousins.
Los Angeles could really use the presence of point guard of Chris Paul on Friday night. The Kings are going to play angry after losing to Miami on Wednesday night. Having the incredible skills of the all-star point guard to counteract that anger would really benefit the Clippers.
What do the experts predict?
FiveThirtyEight.com says this game will go to the Clippers. They give the Clippers a 54-percent chance of winning the game. FiveThirtyEight.com says to take LAC minus one point.
The Desert Dwellers either have no idea how to call this game or do not care about the game because as of 7 a.m. PST Friday no odds or over/under had been posted for this contest.
Complete postgame coverage tonight on sportsradioservice.com. Listen to the Kings podcast every Tuesday with Charlie O.