Indiana sets the pace and downs the Kings 107-97 on Saturday night

Kings at Pacers scoreboard
Graphic: @Pacers

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings knew going into Indianapolis they faced an uphill battle with the Indiana Pacers. The upstart Kings handed the Pacers a 111-110 loss in Sacramento last Saturday night and the Indiana team was ready to revenge that loss.

The Pacers are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA and they win by controlling the pace of the game. Indiana had no intention of allowing the Kings to run and gun like they did in Cleveland on Friday night.

Indiana did slow the Kings down and the Pacers won the game 107-97.

This was the second game of a back-to-back set on the road for the Kings. Some statisticians place the chances of the visiting team winning the second game of a back-to-back schedule on the road at under 33 percent. That means the Kings were at a great disadvantage before the opening tipoff of the game in Indiana on Saturday night.

Battle of the Tiers

Pacers flag

This was a battle of two teams that are in different NBA tiers. The Pacers are a solid Tier Two team (a consistent playoff team) that may be ready to jump into to the lower end of Tier One in the Eastern Conference. The Kings are a Tier Three team (Draft Lottery participants) who are trying to become a lower Tier Two team that battles for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

The fact that the Kings split the season series (1-1) with an accomplished team like the Pacers shows the kind of improvement they are experiencing this season.

The Pacers “D” suppressed the Kings’ offense

sac sac

After posting big team numbers versus the Cavaliers, the Kings team stats dropped dramatically against the defensive-minded Pacers:

  • Field Goal Shooting: 38-for-90 (42.2%)
  • 3P Field Goal Shooting: 28.1% (9-for-32)
  • Points in the Paint: IND 56 SAC 46
  • Second Chance Points: SAC 24 IND 19
  • Fast Break Points: SAC 22 IND 18
  • The Pacers outrebounded the Kings 52-43

A Check of the Book

Kings at Pacers starters
Photo: @SacramentoKings

The Kings played the game without Iman Shumpert who was inactive due to an injury that was categorized as “load management”. Joel Embiid has been kept out games for the same reason a number of times.

  • Buddy Hield was the Kings top scorer with 20 points shooting 8-for-20 from the field
  • De’Aaron Fox started slow but stepped up in the second half to put 18 points in the scorebook along with six assists
  • Willie-Cauley Stein put up 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic and Justin Jackson each scored 11 points in the game
  • Nemanja Bjelica scored six points and hauled in 12 rebounds for SAC

The Pacers were still without their star guard Victor Oladipo (sore right knee). Indiana still has no definite date for his return to active status.

Kings at Pacers Collison
Photo: @Pacers
  • Thaddeus Young led the Pacers scoring attack with 20 points
  • Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 points converting 7-of-7 from the free throw line
  • Former King Darren Collison scored 14 points and dished out six assists
  • Miles Turner put nine points in the book and grabbed 13 rebounds

With the loss, the Kings record drops to 13-12 for the season and they fall to ninth in the Western Conference. The Pacers improve to 16-10 on the year and are now in sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Up Next
The Kings will wrap up this four-game road trip on Tuesday night in Chicago versus the Bulls. A win would give Sacramento a record of 3-1 on the trip which they would be very happy to finish with for a December road tour of the East.

The Pacers will host the Wizards on Monday.

Curry’s 25 points carries Warriors past T’Wolves

By Joe Hawkes

OAKLAND — Stephen Curry scored a game-high 25 points to go along with six assists helping the Golden State Warriors shake off a two-game losing streak with a comfortable 110-97 victory over the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday night in front of 19,596 at Oracle Arena.

Klay Thompson added 21 points and five rebounds for Golden State, who out-shot Minnesota 46.6 to 44.2 percent from the field. Golden State led as much as 27 points in the fourth quarter, and forced Minnesota into 25 turnovers while committing just 14 turnovers.

Even with sporting the NBA’s best record at 24-5, Golden State has been brought back down to earth recently with back-to-back losses in Los Angeles to the Lakers and Clippers respectively. Warriors first-year head coach Steve Kerr, who is an even-keel guy, has voiced his frustration with his team’s lack of focus and commitment during games, but seemed satisfied after the game.

“I told our guys, `If we want to win in May and June, we have to play every possession,” Kerr said. “You just can’t completely lose focus and throw the ball where nobody is. Or maybe at a guy with a different color jersey. I was dumbfounded with some of the stuff that I saw. But as I said, a lot of great stuff, too.”

Thompson is clearly on board with what Kerr is trying to preach to his team.

“We’re still growing and we’re still getting there. I completely understand where Steve’s coming from,” Thompson said.

“I just think our team has a tendency, at times, to want to put on a show instead of just making the right play,” Kerr said. “What they need to understand is making the right play will provide the show.”

Minnesota (5-24) didn’t look like a team that wanted to be on the court.

Small forward Thaddeus Young scored 17 points, talented rookie Zach LaVine added 12 points and a game-high 14 assists, while Troy Daniels finished 14 points off the bench for Minnesota, who dropped their eighth straight game.

Rookie Andrew Wiggins finished with 10 points. Point guard Ricky Rubio missed his 24th straight game due to a sprained ankle.

Golden State has dominated the Northwest Division this season, improving to 6-0 on the season. With the win over Minnesota, Golden State have won nine straight home games, their longest home winning streak since the 1994 season where they won 10 straight.

The Warriors will have a chance to tie that 10-game home winning streak Tuesday with Michael Carter-Williams and the Philadelphia 76ers visiting Oracle Arena.