Kings bounce back, Holmes hurt in ragged 111-98 win over the Warriors

By Morris Phillips

SACRAMENTO–“Wake your *ss up!”

Coach Steve Kerr’s profane directive hurled at referee Jason Goldenberg wasn’t prudent or appropriate, but it certainly fit like a glove in describing a sleepy night of basketball at Golden 1 Center on Monday night.

The Kings came in despondent, the victim of too many close losses, and left slightly less despondent, thanks to a 111-98 win over the Warriors that was stained by a potentially serious injury to Richaun Holmes.

De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield led Sacramento with 21 points apiece, and Trevor Ariza and Harrison Barnes each contributed 18 in a game the Kings led by 31 points in the third quarter only to see the Warriors erase more than half that lead before the final buzzer. Coach Luke Walton emptied his bench early, mindful of the Kings’ quick turnaround with a game against the Suns in Phoenix on Tuesday.

“We continued to do what we wanted to do offensively,” Walton said. “We got better and made some progress tonight.”

The win interrupted a stretch of nine losses in 10 games for the Kings, including Saturday’s two-point loss to the Pelicans in which the NBA admitted Derrick Favors should have been called for an offensive foul on the game’s final play for over aggressively setting a screen on the Kings’ Ariza that created a path for J.J. Reddick to get the basket for the game-winning layup.

Entering Monday’s game, the Kings had an NBA-worst 10 losses by five points or less.  The Warriors anemic shooting–almost from the outset–put an end to the Kings adding to that dubious total of close defeats.

The Warriors missed their first 15 3-point attempts, and scored just 40 points before the halftime break. That break was just minutes after Kerr went ballistic, frustrated with whistles that went in favor of the Kings on one end, and against the Warriors at the other. Kerr’s choice words got him tossed in short order. Ironically, Kerr opted to sit Draymond Green, after he was ejected in the Warriors’ home game on Saturday against Detroit, saying the veteran needed a mental break, caused by a draining season of losing following five straight trips to the Finals.

In getting ejected by Goldenberg, Kerr appeared to be needing that same break.

Ariza was the Kings’ catalyst early with three, first half dunks, and a pair of threes in the team’s burst that extended their lead to 15 early in the second quarter. Fox with his quickness, and Buddy Hield rediscovering his shooting stroke also put the Warriors at a disadvantage.  Then with the visitors already reeling, the Kings came up with eight made threes in the third quarter to extend the lead to 30.

“It was just to be aggressive, get to the basket, and just try to create, obviously make free throws,” Fox said.

The Kings played without Bogdan Bogdanovich, who was still suffering from the flu, and Marvin Bagley Jr., who continues to be out with a sprained foot.

Mike Bibby, the Kings’ standout point guard from the 2002 Sacramento team that reached the Western Conference finals attended the game and received a nice ovation from the crowd. Willie Cauley-Stein was greeted by a mixture of cheers and boos in his first game back in Sacramento after he signed with the Warriors in the off-season.

Holmes was injured in the third quarter, and left the court in visible pain while holding his shoulder. The 6’10” forward/center has proven to be indispensable for the Kings with his scoring and rebounding, and any prolonged absence would put the Kings in a tough spot. Holmes leads the Kings with 13 double-doubles and his constant presence has made Dewayne Dedmon expendable.

Marquese Chriss was waived following the game, a move the Warriors felt was necessary in order to free up a roster space for emerging guard Damion Lee, who is signed to a two-way contract that would limit his availability for the remainder of the season. The 22-year old Chriss is a Sacramento native, and was forced to greet his friends and family after the game following the news of his release.

 

Kings surprise the Rockets on a last-second 3-point prayer

By Charlie O. Mallonee 

The Sacramento Kings shocked the 18,055 fans at the Toyota Center in Houston — when with one-second left to go in the game — Nemanja Bjelica put up a 33-foot, 3-point jump shot that went in for the winning basket. The Kings players ran off the bench to mob Bjelica, while the Rockets stood around with mouths wide open trying figure out what had just happened.

What had happened was the Kings had beaten the Houston Rockets 119-118 to close out their four-game road trip. What was even more of a surprise was this was the second game of a back-to-back set on the road. On Sunday, the Kings beat the Dallas Mavericks on a last-second basket also by Bjelica.

The Kings finished the road trip 2-2. SAC suffered back-to-back losses in Portland and San Antonio before putting together consecutive wins over Dallas and Houston (15-8). After losing the first two losses, the Kings could have easily gone 0-4 on this road trip. Finishing with two last-second victories over two of the best teams in the Western Conference is a testament to the Kings tenacity and response to the new coaching staff.

Sacramento (10-13) has endured a very tough time without two of their star players – Marvin Bagley III and De’Aaron Fox. The good news for the Kings is that Bagley — who has been cleared for full basketball contact — may well be back in the lineup on Wednesday night when the OKC Thunder visits the Golden 1 Center. The team reports that Fox’s rehabilitation is going well, but no timetable has been set for his return.

This game was truly a battle that featured 12 lead changes and 14 ties.

Leading Scorers

  • Russell Westbrook was the high scorer in the game putting 34 points in the scorebook.
  • Buddy Hield led the Kings scoring attack with 26 points.

The Glass Cleaners

  • J.P. Tucker pulled down 19 rebounds and made it a double-double game by scoring 10 points.
  • Harrison Barnes was the Kings top rebounder with eight.

Dishing out dimes

  • James Harden was the leading assist distributor dishing out 10 dimes to go with 27 points.
  • Trevor Ariza contributed seven assists for the Kings.

Game Notes

  • The Kings hit 40 of 88 (45.5%) field goal attempts in Houston. 20 of those buckets were 3-point baskets.
  • SAC worked the free throw line in this game. The went to the line 22 times and put the ball through the hole 19 times.
  • The Kings kept the turnovers to a minimum again making just 10 giveaways that resulted in 13 Houston points.
  • Both coaches used just eight players in the contest.
  • The Kings bench outscored the Rockets second unit 27-23.
  • Cory Joseph must be given credit for the incredible job he did on defense. He spent most of the game guarding “The Beard”. Joseph put up 14 points and added six assists while guarding Harden.

Up next

The Kings return to action on Wednesday night when they will host the OKC Thunder at the Golden 1 Center.

The Rockets head out to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

Kings end their road trip with a 121-109 win in Atlanta

Hawks score
Graphic: @SacramentoKings

By Charlie O. Mallonee

There are three things you need to remember about the Kings victory over the Hawks on Friday night:

  1. Sacramento just finished a three-game road swing to the Eastern time zone and finished with a 2-1 record. That is something this team – that experienced a “stutter-start” to the 2019-20 season – can build on to turn fortunes around quickly.
  2. The Kings reached the 3 wins mark before the Golden State Warriors (2-7).
  3. Harry Giles III returned to action for the first time this season and H20 could play a key role for the Kings while they wait for Marvin Bagley III to heal.

It was a “nail-biter” in the 4th quarter

The Kings dominated the first half. They held a 63-47 lead at halftime, but no one thought that the Hawks would just roll over and play dead in the second half.

Atlanta served notice in the third period that they still thought that they could win the game by outscoring the Kings 36-28. Trae Young led the charge for the Hawks scoring 16 points and dishing out four assists. Young was on fire and the rest of his team followed his lead. Sacramento held a 91-83 lead after 36 minutes of play.

The Hawks continued their assault until they cut the Kings lead down to just one point with 9:03 left to play in the game. Bogdan Bogdanovic turned it around for SAC. “Bogi” hit a 26-foot, 3-point jump shot to give the Kings a 4-point lead and the momentum that had them build up a lead as large as 18 points down the stretch.

The Kings won the 4th quarter 30-26 with Bogdanovic scoring 11 points for Sacramento. The Kings went 7-for-9 from 3-point range and were a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line in the final period. That is how games are won.

Let’s hear for the SAC bench

The Sacramento starting five scored 70 points on Friday night. The Atlanta starters also scored 70 points. The difference in this game was the scoring of the players off the bench.

The Kings bench outscored the Hawks second unit 51-39. The Kings used five players off their bench:

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 20 points hitting 6 of his 9 shots from the floor. Five of his field goals were 3-point baskets.
  • Trevor Ariza was also on fire from behind the arc. He went 5-for-7 from the field and four of his buckets were 3-pointers.
  • Harry Giles III played just over seven minutes, but the important thing is that he played. Giles scored four points, grabbed a rebound and had one block shot. You could see the enthusiasm on his face at being able to be on the court and in the middle of the action.

The Hawks (3-5) are young and dangerous 

The Hawks may well be where the Kings were two years ago. They are amassing talent and preparing to build a team that will be a force for five to seven seasons to come. Their current stars are:

  • Trae Young who scored a game-high 30 points and made it a double-double night by dishing out 12 “dimes”. He is the real deal.
  • Jabari Parker – who is in his first year with the Hawks – scored 25 points and added eight rebounds.
  • Kevin Huerter was the key man off the bench for Atlanta by putting up 17 points in almost 30 minutes on the floor.

Up next

The Kings have a nice break as they will be off until Tuesday night when they will host the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Hawks will hit the road and will face the Trail Blazers in Portland on Sunday night.

Rockets soar past Warriors 127-105, evens West Finals 1-1

Photo credit: nba.com/warriors

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

The talk of a potential Warriors’ sweep can be put to rest.

After dropping Game 1 Monday night, the Rockets rebounded with a 127-105 victory over the Warriors in Game 2 at the Toyota Center Wednesday night.

James Harden finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds to help Houston regain home-court in the best-of-7 Western Conference Finals series.

“Guys were more active,” said Harden, who shot 9-of-24 from the floor and just 3-of-15 from 3, postgame to TNT. “We played harder and it showed tonight.”

Eric Gordon, who scored just 15 points in Game 1, exploded with 27 points in Game 2, matching Harden’s output. Gordon shot 8-of-15 from the field, including 6-of-9 on 3s.

The play of P.J. Tucker was big for Houston, scoring a playoff career-high 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting. Tucker was red-hot from 3, knocking down 5-of-6 from behind the arc, bouncing back from a poor Game 1 performance of one point on 0-of-3 from the field.

Trevor Ariza finished with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting and six assists, and Clint Capela finished with five points and 10 rebounds.

Chris Paul scored 16 points and had six assists, after recording just three in Game 1. Paul shot just 6-of-14 from the floor, appeared to be bothered by a lower leg injury in the second half as he ran with a noticeable limp. Paul did sit out most of the fourth quarter when the game was in hand for Houston.

The Rockets dominated Golden State in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 38-29.

“We can beat anybody, anywhere at any time playing the way we play,” Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said.

Sloppy play, lackluster defense and the lack of another scoring option other than Kevin Durant were the main culprits in the loss for Golden State.

As a team, Houston was scorching from three-point land, knocking down 16-of-42 (38.1-percent). Golden State’s perimeter defense against the Rockets was nonexistent in Game 2 from the beginning, allowing the Rockets to drill 10-of-23 3s in the first half. Houston shot 51.4-percent for the game (45-of-88) and out-rebounded Golden State 47-36.

Houston led as much as 19 in the first half and was up 64-50 at halftime. The Warriors did climb back into the game, closing the gap 74-64 behind five points by Durant before Houston increased their lead to 89-72 behind an off-balanced layup by Gordon crashing to the floor, drawing a foul and making a free throw.

Durant finished with a game-high 38 points on 13-of-22 shooting from the floor, but was a one-man band Wednesday night at the Toyota Center for Golden State.

“We’re not the juggernauts of the NBA,” Durant said. “We’re a good team, but that’s a great team on the other end.”

Stephen Curry had another quiet game, scoring 16 points on 7-of-19 shooting from the field, but couldn’t get anything going from three-point range, connecting on 1-of-8 on his 3s. By hitting just one 3, Curry extended his NBA playoff record to 81 games.

In the first two games of the series, Curry is shooting just 2-of-13 on 3s.

Klay Thompson, who had his way with Houston in Game 1 scoring 28 points, was held in check finishing with just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting (2-of-4 on 3s).

Draymond Green finished with just six points, six rebounds and six assists.

“I think a lot of these games when you get in the playoffs with teams that are very talented and really great team, it often comes down to which one has the edge in terms of the aggression and the desperation,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the game. “They were desperate tonight, and they played like it. And we didn’t. And the results showed. We got what we deserved. They kicked our butts.”

The Warriors committed 15 turnovers, off of which Houston scored 15 points. Houston 13 points off 11 first-half turnover by Golden State, which in essence, had the Warriors climbing uphill for the entirety of the game.

Golden State shot 45.9-percent for the game (39-of-85) and were ice-cold on 3s, shooting 9-of-30 (30-percent).

But if you’re the Warriors, you’ve accomplished your mission of splitting the first two games in Houston. With the scene shifting to Oakland for Games 3 and 4, Golden State should feel good about where the series stands right now.

Game 3 is Sunday at Oracle Arena with tipoff scheduled for 5 p.m. Pacific.

Following Game 3, the two teams will play Game 4 on Tuesday, before returning to Houston for Game 5 on Thursday.

Warriors ground Rockets, win 17th straight at Oracle

By Joe Hawkes

OAKLAND — The Golden State Warriors continue to make winning in the NBA and over the Houston Rockets an easy

Klay Thompson scored 27 points and Stephen Curry finished with 22 points and 10 assists as Golden State established a new franchise record with their 17th consecutive home win with a 126-113 victory over Houston Wednesday in front of the 102nd straight sellout at Oracle Arena.

Golden State completed the four-game sweep over Houston this season, which hasn’t been done since the 1973-74 season.

Draymond Green had 18 points and six rebounds and Harrison Barnes finished with 11 points as Golden State shot 50 percent from the floor (49-for-98), while holding the Rockets to just 42 percent shooting (37-for-87).

“We got the best fans in the league,” Green said. “They make it tough for teams to come and try to beat us.”

Marreese Speights and David Lee finished with nine points off the bench for Golden State. Lee reached the 10,000-point career milestone in the process.

Andrew Bogut also finished with nine points, but recorded 10 rebounds and five blocks while playing 22 minutes.

The Warriors utilized a 26-6 run in the second quarter to push their lead to 62-42 at halftime.

Tempers flared in the third quarter when Curry ran after Rockets’ forward Trevor Ariza bumped the Warriors’ point guard.

“I got a technical for nothing,” said Curry. “Softest technical I’ve ever gotten. I thought it was a cheap shot, even if he didn’t meant it, that’s how I felt at the time.”

Ariza was assessed a technical in fact, Houston had four technical fouls called against them, two of them on forward Josh Smith who was ejected in the third quarter for arguing with referee, Tre Maddox.

Both teams finished even in total rebounds (46), while Golden State finished with the edge in assists (26-23), and Houston leading the turnover battle (19-16).

Golden State was lights out from beyond the arc, shooting 13-for-29 on 3s (44 percent). Houston shot 13-for-32 from downtown (40 percent).

“I thought we played well tonight, but we could’ve ended the game better,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “We didn’t close the game like we normally do, but we had a big lead so we were able to ride it out.”

Golden State biggest lead was 30 points.

Houston (29-14) just didn’t seem to have it again against Golden State Wednesday night.

Outside of James Harden’s game-high 33 points, Corey Brewer (20 points) and Jason Terry (14 points), no other Rockets players scored more than nine points.

Center Dwight Howard finished with seven points and 11 rebounds while battling foul trouble. Howard also picked up a first quarter technical and was clearly frustrated for the remainder of the game.

“They play hard, and fast,” said Houston head coach Kevin McHale. “They make you make plays, they defend, and they pressure you. Give them credit for playing a great game.”

Golden State (34-6) joins just 10 teams since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976 to win 34 of their first 40 games of the season. At 19-1, the Warriors sport the best home record in the league.

“Teams are going come in a give their best effort,” Bogut said. “We’ll bring our game and continue to play hard and tough.”

The Warriors continue their five-game homestand Friday night with their I-80 brethren, Sacramento Kings visiting Oracle Arena.

 

 

Warriors offense falls flat, lose to Wizards 88-85

By Gabe Schapiro

The Golden State Warriors (27-19) struggled for most of the game, losing to the Washington Wizards (22-22), 88-85, Tuesday night, at Oracle Arena. Neither squad looked particularly good, in a contest that quickly turned into an ugly offensive showing. Both sides failed to shoot above a 38% clip, and combined for 37 turnovers.

The contest remained close throughout in a very defense-oriented game, and ultimately came down to which side would make the least mistakes and hit the big shot when the opportunity presented itself.

For the Wizards it was their electric backcourt that saved the day, and nailed the last nail in the Warriors coffin. Washington held a slight one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Bradley Beal, who’s impact had been limited, came up big and sunk three straight from beyond the arc to open up a lead.

Golden State slowly scratched their way back. A tough David Lee lay-up in traffic tied the game up at 85-85 with 1:47 to play. Unfortunately, that would be the last points they could muster.

On the very next possession Beal finally missed a three-pointer, but an offensive rebound kept it alive for the Wizards. The pass quickly went to a wide-open John Wall, who nailed the trey. The basket would prove to be the game-winner. Stephen Curry had the final shot, but Trevor Ariza did an impressive job covering him, and all Curry could get off was an awkward heave that never had much of a chance.

For Golden State, Curry was their only consistent source of offense. Despite an off shooting night, he finished with a game-high 23 points, to go along with four assists and four steals. He was the only Warrior to reach double figures until Klay Thompson joined him in the fourth quarter. Thompson contributed 13, on 5-of-17 shooting.

Lee and Andre Iguodala both struggled. They combined to make just four-of-17 shots, for 16 points.

Golden State’s bench, which has struggled for much of the season, was the biggest bright spot. They combined to hit 11-of-20 shots, for 29 points. Jordan Crawford in particular played a big role in bringing the team back in the fourth quarter with several electric plays.

Beal led the way for Washington. He contributed a team-high 20 points, with seven rebounds and four assists. Wall came up big when he needed to, and had 15 points, eight boards, and five assists. Ariza and Marcin Gortat both finished with double-digit rebounds, with 11 and 12 respectively. As a team they out-rebounded the Dubs, 56-47.

It was a disappointing loss after such a strong win over the Portland Trail Blazers a couple of nights ago. They’ll look to rebound when the LA Clippers come to town, this Thursday.